The book centers around three girls, Piper and Margot who are sisters and Amy, who live in a small town in Vermont. They seek to learn what happened to Amy’s Aunt Sylvia, who disappeared in the early 1960’s apparently on an adventure fleeing to Hollywood to meet Alfred Hitchcock. So we float between three eras: the sixties when Sylvia absconds, the late 80’s when the three protagonists are kids, and the present when they are adults.
The action takes place—wait for it—at an abandoned family-owned motel which the interstate highway bypassed long ago. Imagine that – setting a mystery/thriller at an abandoned motel. Wonder if anyone else has ever thought of that?
The story begins with Amy as a mother in 2013 apparently blasting her own child and husband with a shotgun—along with some strange undescribed evil force. Yet somehow her youngest daughter survives and is found by the small-town policeman (Margot’s husband) hiding on the roof.
After hearing about the murders from her sister, Margot, who still lives in the village, Piper returns to Vermont and begins to try and sort out why Amy would have done such a horrible deed. She does her own crime scene investigation and interviews the surviving kid as well as Amy’s drunkard mother, who resides in some kind of mental health facility. The reader will want to scream for Amy to sharper and more penetrating questions.
Margo and Piper know at least some of the real story behind Amy’s family back at least one generation, particularly the disappearance of Aunt Sylvia, but they don’t share their information with the police about a so called 29th room at the 28 room motel.
The plot drags along as we guess that Sylvia was murdered and likely by whom, though it takes a long time to get to the part where her bones are found. We also figure Amy didn’t really kill people, since she seems like such a vibrant young girl.
In any mystery when the reader guesses the answer to the riddle, the intervening action needs to be pretty exciting. This wasn’t, but I plowed ahead, curious whether the true murderer would turn out to be a ghost or something worse. This was something worse— unless you believe people can be transformed into vicious animals capable of breaching the laws of science in their travel around town.
The great Henry James told ghost stories, always leaving a bit of doubt about whether it was really a ghost, as in The Turn of the Screw. And I would have gladly accepted someone’s ghost from Ms. McMahon, who in the cover flap says has published seven other thrillers/mysteries and is a New York Times bestselling author.
This goes to show you—having a Big Six publisher and a New York Times bestseller label doesn’t necessarily mean the book is good. Agents say the mark of a great thriller is: do you take it with you to the bathroom? Had I not been curious how the author was going to resolve the physically impossible events I would have flushed Night Sister. But she probably wouldn’t like mine either.
To read more about Steve E. Clark and his best seller "Justice is for the Lonely" go to www.KristenKerryNovelsofSuspense.com Keep your eye open for the next book in the series "Justice is for the Deserving."
You can also find Steve E. Clark at www.ClarkMitchell.com