The Night Sister- A Review
I don’t even know how to begin to describe The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon. As a genre, it is a thriller. It opens with a whole family murdered in a brutal fashion. Rather than gun, there appears to be claw marks and teeth marks, which cover the bodies. This is how the Night Sister opens.
The book takes a look at three distinct time periods- one where Rose and Sylvie are teens stuck at a forgotten hotel. The hotel is forgotten since the new highway system went in. Dutifully though, they turn on the light hoping someone will come. Sylvie dreams of being a Hollywood movie star, while Rose is convinced Sylvie is a mare- a human who can transform into a beast at night. There is also a mysterious tower not far from the hotel, where Sylvie goes every night.
The second time period looks at three teen friends- Amy, Piper, and Piper’s sister Margot. There is also their creepy neighbor Jason who spies on the girls from an empty hotel room. Amy lives with her grandmother Rose at the hotel. Piper and Margot often go to Amy’s because Amy is the more adventurous one. Amy also is drawn to the tower and wants to explore it.
The third time period is when the three friends are now grown up, but have not seen each other in years. Jason, now a police officer, and Margot are married, Amy developed a drinking problem, and Piper is called back to their old neighborhood. It turns out Jason is the lead on the murder case, where one of the victims is Amy. Piper knows she must go back to the hotel and the tower because of what happened to them as teens.
The question throughout the book is- Do you believe in monsters?
The mystery in the book is unraveled as the author weaves us in and out of these three time periods, quite well. It is a slow crawl of a book, but throughout the read, it feels like something is going to happen at any moment. The atmosphere of the book is wonderfully done. A movement is seen in the corner of an eye, a ghost is captured on a polaroid, a typewriter leaves creepy messages, and letters to Alfred Hitchcock tell a story of monsters.
I write that it is hard to describe this story, but it is a good read nonetheless. It made me want to read other books by Jennifer McMahon, so the Night Sister worked for me. I gave the book a 3.5 stars going into a 4. The only reason why I didn’t commit to a 4 star was I had a theory in the beginning of the book and it wound up being spot on, so my own theory ruined the read and made the pace seem slower. You have to be in a mood for this one, but I did wind up really enjoying it.
Here is the Amazon link- The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon.