Monday, August 15, 2016

The Night Sister - Jennifer McMahon

The Night SisterWhen I was little, my dad bought this movie called The Mothman Prophecies.  He did it because one of the offices he oversaw was in the movie, doubling as a dress shop on the main street of the town it was filmed in, and he wanted to see it.  The movie itself is about the people in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, and a newcomer to the town, all of who keep seeing a creature referred to as the Mothman leading up to the collapse of the Silver Bridge just before Christmas.  We, as movie viewers, never actually see the Mothman, just glimpses and hints.  Really, that's what makes it scary: we don't know what's really going on, what's lurking in the shadows.  It's the same way Jaws is much scarier before we actually see the shark.  The difference is, in Jaws we do end up seeing the shark.  In Mothman, we never see the monster at hand, which I think makes it all the more creepy.

The Night Sister is Jaws.

The story here is about sisters Margot and Piper and their friend Amy. The book begins with the death of Amy and her family, with the heavy insinuation that something not human was behind it, though the police are initially eager to frame it as Amy losing it and killing herself, her son, and her husband.  The only survivor is Amy's daughter, who is found outside on the roof, and the only clue is a picture Amy has with her, on which is written "29 rooms," a strange message considering her home, the Tower Motel, only has 28 rooms.  Margot hears of the whole incident, calls Piper (who lives across the country) and Piper hops on the first plane back to Vermont to comfort her pregnant sister--who happens to be married to a cop.  The book flips back and forth in time, going from the modern day to when the girls were young, to even further back in time, when Amy's aunt vanished during another spate of mysterious happenings.  Monsters and sex and murder are all discussed here, and as the story goes on, it's clear that something not right is happening at the Tower Motel, and has been happening for quite a while.

I really liked this book right up until the "monster" is revealed.  We know for quite a while what the monster must be, but as soon as people start putting forth more detailed explanations and confessions, I think the story lost a lot of its creepy mystique, it become a much less intriguing tale.  As soon as all this came out, I found myself rolling my eyes and just wishing that the book would be over.  I think there's a great atmosphere going on up until that point, but once we hit that critical piece of information, the intrigue just dissolves and the climax is rather lackluster.  It was so disappointing, because there had been sch a good build, and then it just lost it all, knocking what could have easily been a 5-star book down a bit.

Overall, I really wish this had been Mothman instead of Jaws.

3 stars out of 5.

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