cover image The Night Sister

The Night Sister

Jennifer McMahon. Doubleday, $25.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-385-53851-0

Bestseller McMahon (The Winter People) combines suspense with fantasy in this convoluted tale. Amy Slater apparently murders her husband and son before killing herself at the Tower Motel in London, Vt., where she grew up. An old photograph with a cryptic note is the sole clue to the crime. Only Amy’s childhood friends, sisters Margot and Piper, understand the note’s reference to a secret that shattered their friendship with her years earlier. Refusing to believe Amy capable of murder, Margot and Piper delve into the motel’s past and the troubled Slater history—which includes Amy’s aunt’s unsolved disappearance. The story moves, not always seamlessly, from the present to 1989, when the girls discover a skeleton in a hidden room, and to the 1950s, when Amy’s mother and aunt were growing up. Teenage Amy is vivid and engaging, but other characters are not as well drawn. McMahon effectively creates an atmosphere of horror, and readers willing to entertain magic realism in their mysteries may find the Slaters’ secrets compelling. [em]Agent: Daniel Lazar, Writers House (Aug.) [/em]