Category Archives: Jennifer McMahon

Review: The Drowning Kind by Jennifer McMahon

Title: The Drowning Kind by Jennifer McMahon
Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Supernatural, Thriller
Length: 336 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


From the New York Times bestselling author of The Invited and The Winter People comes a chilling new novel about a woman who returns to the old family home after her sister mysteriously drowns in its swimming pool…but she’s not the pool’s only victim.

Be careful what you wish for.

When social worker Jax receives nine missed calls from her older sister, Lexie, she assumes that it’s just another one of her sister’s episodes. Manic and increasingly out of touch with reality, Lexie has pushed Jax away for over a year. But the next day, Lexie is dead: drowned in the pool at their grandmother’s estate. When Jax arrives at the house to go through her sister’s things, she learns that Lexie was researching the history of their family and the property. And as she dives deeper into the research herself, she discovers that the land holds a far darker past than she could have ever imagined.

In 1929, thirty-seven-year-old newlywed Ethel Monroe hopes desperately for a baby. In an effort to distract her, her husband whisks her away on a trip to Vermont, where a natural spring is showcased by the newest and most modern hotel in the Northeast. Once there, Ethel learns that the water is rumored to grant wishes, never suspecting that the spring takes in equal measure to what it gives.

A haunting, twisty, and compulsively readable thrill ride from the author who Chris Bohjalian has dubbed the “literary descendant of Shirley Jackson,” The Drowning Kind is a modern-day ghost story that illuminates how the past, though sometimes forgotten, is never really far behind us.


The Drowning Kind by Jennifer McMahon is an atmospheric supernatural thriller.

Growing up, Jax Metcalf and her sister Lexi spend their summers at their grandmother’s house Sparrow Crest. The girls are mostly unsupervised as they roam around the grounds and go to town. But the best part of their days is when they are swimming in the natural spring pool. Breaking their grandmother’s rules, Lexi and Jax swim after dark and alone.

The girls are close until Lexi’s bipolar disorder leads to Jax distancing herself from her sister in adulthood. Jax is now a social worker whose resentment over Lexi inheriting Sparrow Crest causes her to ignore her sister. After not answering or returning Lexi’s frantic calls one night, Jax is shocked when her Aunt Diane discovers her sister has drowned. Returning to Sparrow Crest for Lexi’s funeral, Jax tries to figure out why her sister was apparently studying their family history, Sparrow Crest and the pool. Will Jax continue her Lexi’s research?

In 1929, Ethel Monroe and her husband, Will are newly married and trying for a baby. Ethel is so desperate to get pregnant she is willing to try anything. After one of her friends tells her of magic springs that grant wishes, she and Will spend a few nights at the new, luxurious hotel built by the magical water. Ethel ignores her friend’s warning that once the wish is granted, there will be a price to pay. She and Will are delighted when she soon becomes pregnant. But Ethel and Will go to great lengths to keep their baby healthy after her birth.

The Drowning Kind is a riveting supernatural thriller with a clever storyline. Jax’s remorse over not talking to Lexi takes her down a dangerous path. Sparrow Crest and the swimming pool have a dark history that is very intriguing. The story is well-written and features an interesting cast of characters. With unexpected twists and turns, Jennifer McMahon brings this eerie thriller to a shocking conclusion.

I greatly enjoyed and highly recommend this deliciously spooky novel.

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Filed under Contemporary, Gallery/Scout Press, Ghosts, Historical, Historical (20s), Jennifer McMahon, Rated B+, Review, Supernatural Elements, The Drowning Kind, Thriller

Review: The One I Left Behind by Jennifer McMahon

Title: The One I Left Behind by Jennifer McMahon
Publisher: HarperCollins
Imprint: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: 432 pages
Book Rating: B+

Review Copy Obtained from Publisher Through Edelweiss


The summer of 1985 changed Reggie’s life. Thirteen, awkward, and without a father, she finds herself mixed up with her school’s outcasts-Charlie, the local detective’s son, and Tara, a goth kid who has a mental hold over Reggie and harbors a dark secret. That same summer a serial killer called Neptune begins kidnapping women. He leaves their severed hands on the police department steps and, five days later, displays their bodies around town. Just when Reggie needs her mother Vera-an ex-model with many “boyfriends” and a thirst for gin-the most, Vera’s hand is found on the steps. But after five days, there’s no body and Neptune disappears.

Now a successful architect who left her hometown behind after that horrific summer, Reggie doesn’t trust anyone and lives with few attachments. But when she gets a call from a homeless shelter saying that her mother has been found alive, Reggie must confront the ghosts of her past and find Neptune before he kills again.

With her signature style, Jennifer McMahon portrays the dark side of adolescent friendship and introduces characters who haunt the imagination, along with a disturbing web of secrets, betrayals, and murder.

The Review:

Jennifer McMahon’s The One I Left Behind is a tautly woven and suspenseful mystery that seamlessly shifts between past and present events surrounding the unsolved kidnappings and deaths of several women at the hands of a serial killer known as Neptune.

In 1985, Reggie Dufrane is thirteen years old when her mother, Vera, disappears. Like Neptune’s other victims, Vera’s severed right hand is left on the steps of the police department but unlike the previous women, her body is never discovered. Twenty-five years later, Vera turns up at homeless shelter. When Reggie and Vera return to their hometown, another woman’s disappearance is eerily similar to the earlier kidnappings and Reggie is soon in a race against time to uncover Neptune’s identity before the serial killer murders another victim.

This fast-paced mystery is revealed through events leading up to and immediately following Vera’s disappearance, chapters from a bestselling novel about the Neptune killer and picks up in the present with Vera’s unexpected reappearance. The chapters alternate between the past and present and excerpts from the book. As the story progresses, the urgency grows to discover not only Neptune’s identity but also what transpired between Reggie and her childhood friends Tara and Charlie.

In this riveting character driven novel, Jennifer McMahon weaves together a compelling story of secrets, lies, betrayal and murder. A series of red herrings and misdirects will keep the reader guessing the killer’s identity until the novel’s explosive finale.

The One I Left Behind is suspenseful read that fans of murder mysteries are sure to enjoy.

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Filed under Contemporary, Jennifer McMahon, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Suspense, The One I Left Behind