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.
When eight-year-old Carolyn stood in the kitchen in her home, helping her mother make potato salad for a Labor Day picnic, she had no idea her life was going to change drastically in a few short hours. Soon, she and several other children from her quiet suburban neighborhood of Garrison Oaks would be orphaned and forced into apprenticeships with a man who could raise the dead and make light from darkness.
Something terrible has happened to Triss. It’s worse than the story her parents tell, that Triss fell in the lake and came back with a raging fever. It’s stranger than the bratty behavior of Triss’ little sister, who seems tortured by Triss’ presence. Triss’ memories are spotty, but when she finds herself devouring one of her own dolls, she can no longer ignore the truth that she is no longer Triss. As Not-Triss, she finds herself in an eerie game of cat-and-mouse with a bizarre magical force that seems to be terrorizing her family.
Warning to the reader: It is impossible for this review to proceed without a number of spoilers. In case anyone still holds the charming belief (as I do) that the mechanics of plot have a bearing on our enjoyment of a novel, the reviewer feels obliged to perform his task up front. I shall do it The Quick (pardon the pun) way: If you are a fan of literary Gothic—think Susanna Clarke or John Harwood—buy this book. You won’t regret it.
In this fascinating and deeply creepy novel by South African author Sarah Lotz, four commercial flights go down on the same day. Everyone on board perishes except three children: a British preteen named Jess; an American boy named Bobby; and a Japanese boy named Hiro. The children are uninjured, but their personalities have changed.
It is a cool October night on Falstaff Island, about nine miles off of Prince Edward Island, and Scoutmaster Tim Riggs is enjoying a sip of scotch. He can hear his five 14-year-old scouts talking and laughing in the next room, most likely telling ghost stories before they fall asleep. All six are completely unaware of the horrifying turn their annual camping trip is about to take.
BookPage Fiction Top Pick, February 2014
“The first time I saw a sleeper, I was nine years old.” Best-selling author Jennifer McMahon (Promise Not to Tell) opens her new novel, The Winter People, with a sentence that offers a tantalizing glimpse of the horrors to come in this marvelously creepy page-turner.
Christopher Golden’s Snowblind is a supernatural thriller that transcends the ghost story genre. While this spooky story will not disappoint readers who relish all things creepy, Snowblind is also a well-observed tale populated by a cast of characters whose Recession-era lives are portrayed with poignant authenticity, offering up a 21st-century landscape of tract homes, strip malls and fast food joints inhabited by ordinary folks.
Seven years after her mesmerizing first novel, The Thirteenth Tale, Diane Setterfield returns with Bellman & Black, a ghost story that’s both terrifyingly familiar and unlike any such tale you’ve ever read. As in her previous novel, Setterfield once again transports us into a world of irresistible Gothic suspense, this time weaving in unsettling ruminations on mortality, nature...
Often the hardest thing for a historical novel to do—especially one centered on a real and very famous figure—is surprise its reader. After all, we know how the stories of people like Anne Boleyn and Joan of Arc and even Edgar Allan Poe end. With Mrs. Poe, Lynn Cullen weaves a dark, sensuous love triangle between three real people, and in the midst of many real historical details,...