STARRED REVIEW
August 2015

A chilling mystery in the Tower Motel

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The creepy motel is a staple of the horror genre—think the Overlook or the Bates. In her chilling seventh novel, The Night Sister, Jennifer McMahon has created a worthy addition to that roster: the Tower Motel.
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The creepy motel is a staple of the horror genre—think the Overlook or the Bates. In her chilling seventh novel, The Night Sister, Jennifer McMahon has created a worthy addition to that roster: the Tower Motel. 

Located in the tiny town of London, Vermont, the hotel was the pride of the region when it opened in the 1950s. But after the interstate was built, bookings trickled down to nothing and the hotel fell into disrepair. Amy Slater grew up on the grounds of the Tower Motel in the 1980s. Raised by her grandmother, Charlotte, Amy grew up hearing stories of her mother’s instability and her aunt Sylvie’s mysterious disappearance in 1961. Family lore has it that Sylvie ran off to Hollywood in hopes of becoming Hitchcock’s new favorite blonde, but Amy has doubts. In the way of preteen girls, Amy and her best friend, Piper—often trailed by Piper’s younger sister, Margot—love to scare themselves by imaging more sinister reasons for Sylvie’s disappearance. 

Cut to the modern day: Piper and Amy are no longer best friends, but when Margot calls with the news that Amy has killed her son, her husband and herself, leaving only her 11-year-old daughter, Lou, alive, Piper knows she owes it to her old friend to investigate. The mystery leads her back to a discovery the girls made the summer their friendship ended—and to a dark Slater family secret.

As in her previous bestseller, The Winter People, McMahon draws from myth and legend for inspiration in crafting the tragedy that haunts the Slater family. But she has also created a powerful story of childhood friendship and sisterhood, as Piper and Margot work together to clear their old friend’s name. The Night Sister is a dark and compelling story that will keep you turning pages.

 

This article was originally published in the August 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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