REVIEW: BURNTOWN By Jennifer McMahon


Published April 25, 2017 by Doubleday Books

This fantastic cover accurately portrays many elements of this unputdownable novel! You might notice that there’s no blurb for this book and there’s a reason for that. I was truly shocked when I went to Goodreads to get the blurb for this review and read what was written for this book…it’s like a mini story FULL of spoilers so I beg you not to read it if you would at all like to read and enjoy this book! I’m so glad I didn’t read it before diving into this…to say my reading fun would’ve been spoiled is an understatement. I opened this one not even remembering what it was about because I received it so many months ago and I have to say it made for such an exciting, suspenseful read for me.

You may find my review a bit vague but once you read this I think you’ll appreciate that you went into it not really knowing all that much. When the story begins we first hear from young Miles, a ten year old quirky little boy, whose all decked out in his Robin Hood outfit and on a mission to frighten his mom into quitting smoking by replacing the tobacco in her cigarettes with gunpowder…just a small amount mind you. As Miles hides in the nearby brush to watch his mother’s reaction when she lights up, what he ends up seeing is a murder that will shake him to his core and turn his life completely upside down. This is one of the most surprising and creepiest opening scenes I’ve read in a long time…I was immediately hooked on this story!

Time doesn’t move slow in this novel and we are soon immersed in Miles’ life as a teenager then adult and we learn that he has possession of some very special papers his father left to him, specifically blueprints of a special phone that Thomas Edison was working on that enabled you to talk to the dead. Mile’s makes it his mission to build the machine so he can get an answer to a question that’s haunted him for many years.

Fast forward several years and Miles has his own family, a wife and two kids, and life is pretty good…that is, until the night of the Great Flood when the past rears its ugly head and murder once again turns Miles’ life inside out.

What follows the night of the Great Flood is a story filled with suspense, intrigue, and some of the quirkiest types of misfit characters I’ve had the pleasure of reading in such a long time. In fact, the narration alternates between characters…there’s Necco, on the run from a past she slowly realizes was based on lies; Theo, a teenage girl who’s decisions in the name of love lead her down dangerous roads; Pru (my favorite character), an older school cafeteria worker who’s loneliness and obsession with the circus made for utterly fascinating reading; Fred, a wanna be private investigator, and the “fire eaters,” a group of homeless women with some pretty powerful visions. Throw in settings of old abandoned buildings, junkyards, and fireside campsites under the city bridge, add some paranormal elements and what you’ve got is a genre busting exceptional book that kept me up super late reading! Something to keep in mind…suspension of disbelief is needed in certain parts but I had absolutely no problem doing this, it actually increased my enjoyment. If you like mysteries and thrillers loaded with originality and memorable characters, I highly recommend Burntown.

Many thanks to Doubleday Books via Netgalley for my copy of Burntown. I’m happy to provide an honest review.




Published by

22 thoughts on “REVIEW: BURNTOWN By Jennifer McMahon

  1. Thanks for sharing this.I hadn’t heard about the book before.It sounds like great.The cover and opening scene already had me hooked.The rest of your review definitely got me convinced that I need to read this one.Thanks for the warning about the blurb,I hate it that has been happening so oftenly.Fab review.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love it when a cover is just perfect for a story but what went through the head of the publicist and marketing team to create a blurb that says everything????
    Wow, that opening… I don’t need to read more, that’s traumatizing!!!! Okay I love the sound of this story! Thank you for bringing it to my attention!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know what they were thinking Donna but I feel like to read it will hinder people’s reading experience which is so unfortunate with this book because of the surprises along the way! That beginning is way more disturbing than I could share…hope you’ll take a closer look at this one:)


  3. Great review! Thanks for the warning on the blurb; I can’t believe authors/publishers would actually include spoilers in their blurbs, especially in the case of mystery/thrillers. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s