Book Reviews: The Drowning Kind by Jennifer McMahon #GhostFiction

Creative concept of book open on a dock by lake with pages of book part of lake. Sunset setting with ducks on lake

Hi, Friends! Tuesday turned out to be a day that got away from me, so I’m doing my usual book review post today. I should be back on schedule next week. In the meantime, I have a review from one of my auto-buy authors to share. I pre-ordered this book the moment I saw it was available!

BOOK BLURB:
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.

MY REVIEW

Oh, how creepy! I love how Jennifer McMahon weaves spookiness and mystery so deftly in dual timelines. She never disappoints me with her books. Both timelines in this story are engrossing, but I was riveted by the one in the past which centers around a luxury resort hotel. The time period is 1929-1930, slightly before and after the Great Depression. People flock to the hotel, looking for healing. Many swear they’ve been cured of ailments after a dip in a pool on the property, or by whispering a wish to the water. 

This is no ordinary pool. The water is murky and dark and bears a sulfuric, metallic scent. It’s rumored the water gives as much as it takes, and for every wish it grants, payment must be made in kind.

Will and Ethel are newlyweds trying to start a family. Ethel desperately wants a baby, and it seems such a simple thing to make a wish by the water—especially after a dip in the pool heals three cuts on her leg as if they never existed. I loved both Will and Ethel, and was on pins and needles as their life unfolded after Ethel’s wish.

In the present, Jax arrives at her grandmother’s home, Sparrow Crest, once the site of the hotel. She and her sister Lexi spent summers with their grandmother and grew up swimming in the pool. When their grandmother passed away, Lexi inherited the property, but now she’s gone—drowned in the pool. Jax considered Lexi’s mental state precarious but knows her sister was an expert swimmer. Soon after arriving, she discovers bits and pieces of old history Lexi was collecting about the pool and the old resort hotel, along with journal entries and frantic scribblings.

Chapters alternate between Ethel’s POV in the past and Jax’s in the present. Although I was not as invested in Jax’s storyline as Ethel’s, she had some wonderfully goose bump scenes. Like when she’s measuring the depth of the pool at night with a flashlight or when she thinks she hears someone outside and finds wet footprints by the door.

This is an atmospheric read, slowly building suspense. The descriptions of the pool are haunting and dark, the mystery intricate and compelling. I loved how both past and present funnel together in the concluding chapters. The ending was not what I expected, and I had to ruminate on it for a while. Definitely a twist. 4.5 stars rounded up to 5 for review posting.


Jennifer McMahon was the first author I read who used dual timelines in a novel. It was because of The Night Sister, that I chose to use past and present timelines in my Hode’s Hill series.

Like The Night Sister and The Drowning Kind, the three novels that comprise Hode’s Hill—Cusp of Night, End of Day, and Eventide combine mystery and suspense with ghostly elements. In closing, I’m going to offer a shameless plug. If you haven’t read Hode’s Hill, you can pick up all three books in the series for a total of $4.97. Each novel can be read as a standalone, but my publisher currently as a sale going on the whole set.

As always, I wish you happy reading. Be sure to let me know your thoughts on The Drowning Kind, too!

Hode’s Hill Series .99c Sale #GhostFiction #SupernaturalSuspense #ParanormalMystery

Hi, friends. I’ve been away since last Friday afternoon for an extended weekend at the beach. The weather was awesome and it turned out to be one of the best vacays DH and I have had. I got some great pictures and hope to share later in the week.

In the meantime, I have exciting news—my publisher is shining the spotlight on my Hode’s Hill series throughout the month of February. Both End of Day and Eventide will be priced at .99c for the month, and Cusp of Night—book one­­—will be free from the 20th through the 25th. If you’ve been on the fence about reading any of these, now is the perfect time to gobble them up. With Cusp free, later this month, it means you can grab all three books for a total of $1.98. Please help me spread the word!

These books cross genres—mystery, supernatural suspense, ghost fiction, women sleuths, and horror. Cusp of Night has been noted for its cozy mystery feel in tandem with paranormal thriller aspects. It makes Cusp and the other books in this series hard to define, but judging by reviews, the mesh works.

I’ll leave you with a few snippets to help you decide for yourself. 🙂


Book banner header for Cusp of Night by Mae Clair shows single streetlamp on a dark corner Cusp of Night
Will be free 2/20 through 2/25

 … Clair’s adaptation of her research into spiritualism and the defective generation skipping gene that makes one’s skin blue is nothing short of genius. The result being Cusp of Night… another epic urban tale written in true Clair fashion…

 …Descriptions were meticulous and painted vivid pictures. It’s clear that Clair did her homework on the spiritualist movement and her knowledge shines through in the details. Cusp of Night struck me as part cozy mystery and part occult-thriller. Yes, there is a monster and an evil entity! Highly entertaining!…

…OMG — I love this book! I am a sucker for creepy, supernatural horror, and this story just sucked me right in. I couldn’t stop reading! The story switches point of view, alternating between Maya in the present day and Lucinda Glass more than 100 years ago. Usually I’m not much of a fan of POV jumps, but for this story it worked perfectly. This is the kind of horror that I love to read — Halloween-y type creepy stories and not gore fests…

UNIVERSAL PURCHASE LINK | READ THE BLURB


Banner ad for supernatural suspense novel, End of Day by Mae Clair

End of Day
Currently available for .99c

… Clair is a talented wordsmith who sets a scene artfully. Her descriptions draw a reader in as much as the characters do, with the setting becoming a character itself. While nothing is too gory or horrific, there is a definite sense of eerie foreboding that increases with the tension of the story and culminates in a dramatic climax a reader won’t soon forget…

… Thank you Netgalley, for exposing me to Mae Clair. I can enthusiastically recommend this author to friends and family. She is one author very difficult to put down.I  received a free electronic copy of this second Hode’s Hill novel from Netgalley, Mae Clair, and Lyrical Underground in exchange for an honest review. Only pages in, I was hooked and had to purchase Cusp of Night, number 1 in the series…

… This is a paranormal suspense novel with a dual timeline alternating between the year 1799 and now. A centuries-old curse grips a small town. There are thugs, a sweet dog, monsters, a supernatural talisman, a no-nonsense policewoman, likable characters, despicable characters . . . this book has it all….

PURCHASE  FOR .99c  | UNIVERSAL LINK | READ THE BLURB


Banner ad for Eventide, a mystery novel by Mae Clair, features a dilapidated old houseEventide
Currently available for .99c

 … The setting was brilliant and it even creeped me out which isn’t an easy thing to do!!! I will definitely be purchasing the previous books in the Hode’s Hill series as well as looking for more books by this author. I highly recommend this book to fans of horror, thrillers, suspense and anyone who enjoys a creepy, ghost filled and excellent read. I couldn’t recommend this book enough, well done to a very talented author!!!…

… Mae Clair seamlessly blends past and present timelines, gothic creatures, ghosts and complex characters to create an unforgettable story…

… A very chilling read, if you like supernatural mysteries, grab today! Well written, absolutely frightening, with twists and turns, and chills to the bone. Well written, with interesting characters and development that had me flipping pages…

PURCHASE  FOR .99c   | UNIVERSAL LINK | READ THE BLURB


Well, there you have it—a few thoughts from readers on all three books. I’m truly grateful to everyone who has read and reviewed this series. Hopefully, this month’s sale will bring Hode’s Hill to the attention of a larger audience. If you know anyone who likes mysteries with goosebumps, I’d be grateful if you share the sale and free pricing with them. Thanks in advance for helping me spread the word. Happy reading to all!

A Blog Visit Today #Eventide #GhostFiction

Hello, friends! This spot is usually reserved for my Tuesday Book Reviews, but I have nothing new to share this week. Yes, I went a whole week without reading a book—shocking I know 🙂

I did, however, do a beta read for a friend, so I still had my nose buried in something.

scared young woman with candles image in victorian styleToday, the fabulous Joan Hall is hosting me with another look at Eventide. I hope you’ll pop over to Joan’s blog where I’m sharing an excerpt from my “past” timeline, which is set in 1878.

If you’ve followed any of my mini-tour posts, you’ve already met Madison, the heroine from the present day timeline. Today, I’d like to introduce you to Hollande Moore, my heroine from the past.

You can find the post HERE. Drop by if you have a spare moment, and say hello. And, by all means, if you’re not already following Joan, now is the perfect time to click FOLLOW on her blog. She always has something interesting to share, especially her Mystery Monday posts, which I love.

‘Nuff said. I’m outta here, and hope to see you at JOAN’S PLACE. 🙂