Thanks to NetGalley and Doubleday Canada for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: Available Now
Synopsis: Eva grew up watching her father, Miles, invent strange and wonderful things in the small workshop behind their house on the river that runs through their old mill town. But the most important invention of all was the one Miles claimed came from the mind of Thomas Edison himself–a machine that allowed one to speak with loved ones long passed. Smuggled out of Edison’s laboratory, the blueprints were passed down to Miles, and he’s been using them to protect Eva, her mother Lily, and her brother, Errol, ever since.
Then, one night when a storm is raging and the river is threatening to flood, the machine whirrs to life on it’s own. Danger, it says. You’re in terrible danger. The next thing Eva knows is waking up on the side of the river and seeing her mother’s grim face. Eva’s father and brother are dead, their house has been washed away and an evil man is searching for them both. They need to hide.
Eva changes her name to Necco–a candy she always loved–and tries to put everything in the past behind her as she adapts to her new life off the grid. But when her boyfriend is murdered and her mother disappears, she know the past is starting to catch up to her.
What really happened the night of the flood? As Necco searches for the truth, her journey unites her with two women who are on desperate quests of their own. And as the trio follows the clues to solving the mystery of Necco’s past, they discover that sometimes it’s the smallest towns that hide the strangest secrets.
Burntown is a genre-defying novel that’s an interesting mix of coming-of-age, supernatural, fantasy, science fiction, mystery and suspense. I’ve read previous books by Jennifer McMahon’s and one thing I’ve learned is to expect the unexpected, and this latest book is no different.
In addition to the quirky characters, there are mysterious murders, a flood, an obese former circus performer, a machine that may let you communicate with the dead, and a sinister figure wearing a chicken mask. Yes. You read that last bit correctly! While it seems as though all these separate elements are just too dissimilar to work together, somehow the author weaves everything together in an entertaining way.
The story might be a bit strange, but it’s oddly enjoyable. The only reason why I’m marking this down is because after being captivated throughout the entire book, I found the ending to be a bit anticlimactic. Overall though, Jennifer McMahon has once again proven what an imaginative writer she is. Burntown is a vividly written tale with endearing and memorable characters, and a unique and suspenseful plot.