Review: Burntown by Jennifer McMahon


Pub date: 
25 Apr 2017
Buy: Amazon
Rating: 3 stars


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 that 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 its 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 her past behind her as she adapts to her new life off the grid. But when her boyfriend is murdered and her mother disappears, she knows that 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 hold the strangest secrets.


You never know what you’re in for when you crack open a Jennifer McMahon book, but one thing is always for sure – you will be scared.

I am a fan of this author, and this is her most outrageous plot to date – I was put off from this book for awhile due to its synopsis (it sounded like even a bit too much for me) but I’m so glad I finally gave it a chance. She manages to take the supernatural and blend it with reality in a way that seems like this could actually happen. And she manages to scare you in a way that no one else can. It’s not overt violence and “scary” situations (though there is some violence in this one), but an underlying sense of creepiness at every turn.

We have chapters told from several points of view which definitely enhances the overall storyline. Getting different perspectives on what is happening from multiple characters only adds to the character development.

This was the perfect book to read during Halloween-time. It has a certain Twin Peaks vibe about it. There are fire eaters, the Great Flood, a man in a chicken mask and Thomas Edison secret inventions. If that doesn’t pique your interest, then I don’t know what will!;)


  1. Holly B / Dressedtoread · October 23

    I might have tried it if you rated a 4! I’m not sure it is the right book for me, and great review!


  2. readingbetweenwines · October 23

    I’m kind of sad to see one of this author’s books rated a 3 lol. That’s actually the same thing my sister rated it, although as a standalone not being compared to McMahon’s other works she would have given it a 4. I would read any book by this author and I can’t wait to see what my thoughts are. It sounds so weird!!

    Liked by 1 person

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