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Friday, July 21, 2017

#Audiobook #Review: 3 out of 5 stars for Burntown by Jennifer McMahon @jennifermcmahon @PRHAudio

TITLE: Burntown
NARRATOR: Abby Crayden
PUBLISHER: Random House Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: April 25, 2017
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 10 hrs and 28 mins
GENRE: Thriller, Mystery
Ashford, Vermont, might look like your typical sleepy New England college town, but to the shadowy residents who live among the remains of its abandoned mills and factories, it's known as "Burntown".

Eva Sandeski, known as "Necco" on the street, has been a part of this underworld for years, ever since the night her father, Miles, drowned in a flood that left her and her mother, Lily, homeless. A respected professor, Miles was also an inventor of fantastic machines, including one so secret that the plans were said to have been stolen from Thomas Edison's workshop. According to Lily, it's this machine that got Miles murdered.

Necco has always written off this claim as the fevered imaginings of a woman consumed by grief. But when Lily dies under mysterious circumstances and Necco's boyfriend is murdered, she's convinced her mother was telling the truth. Now, on the run from the man called "Snake Eyes", Necco must rely on other Burntown outsiders to survive.

There are the "fire eaters", mystical women living off the grid in a campsite on the river's edge, practicing a kind of soothsaying inspired by powerful herbs called "the devil's snuff"; there's Theo, a high school senior who is scrambling to repay the money she owes a dangerous man; and then there's Pru, the cafeteria lady with a secret life.

As the lives of these misfits intersect, and as the killer from the Sandeski family's past draws ever closer, a story of edge-of-your-seat suspense begins to unfurl, with classic Jennifer McMahon twists and surprises.


I received a complimentary copy of this audiobook for voluntary review consideration.

If you are looking for something that’s really different, this is the one for you! Burntown is a wondrously strange mix of mystery and supernatural that will keep you entertained.

The story is centred around the Sandeski family. We first go back in time to 1975, when Miles Sandeski (age 10) witnesses a man in a rubber chicken mask creep up on his mother who is lying on a lawn chair. The man in disguise bends down to say something to Miles’ mom, Elizabeth, and she laughs. The man then slits her throat and Miles, who is pretending to be Robin Hood and is hiding in the bushes, launches an arrow at the man and strikes him in the back. Miles’ father, Martin, is later arrested after police discover the mask and knife in his vehicle and he commits suicide while in police custody. Miles is then raised by Martin’s sister, Holly. His father left him a letter, telling him where to find the plans for Thomas Edison’s secret invention which had been acquired by Martin’s father who worked for Edison. The device was intended to be used to communicate with the dead.

Miles becomes best friends with his aunt’s neighbor, Lily, and their friendship blossoms into love when they get older and they marry. They have two children, Errol and Eva.

Miles decides to build Edison’s invention, and he uses the machine to make contact with his mother, who tells him the name of her killer. Many years pass before the machine is turned on again, and Elizabeth warns the Sandeski family that they are in danger. Miles and Errol are killed in a flood, and Lily and Eva escape. They live on the streets, in hiding. Lily dies, and the police rule her death a suicide but Eva is suspicious. Then Eva’s boyfriend is killed, and Eva is afraid that she is the next target.

McMahon provides an eclectic mix of characters, from fire-breathers to a woman named Pru (loved her!) whose ambition is to be the largest fat lady that ever was in the circus and who has built an entire circus in her living room, and a girl named Theo who falls in love with a drug dealer who has seduced her into believing their lesbian relationship is something special but really she and is two-timing her with a guy and is only using her. I enjoyed this character-driven story, and I will definitely read more of McMahon’s work!

Narrator Abby Craydon is new to me, and I thought she was great. I found her voice very pleasant to listen to, and I especially loved the voice she gave to Pru. Here is a sample of the narration:

3 stars!! It was good, and I enjoyed it. Thanks again to Random House Audio for the opportunity to review this audiobook!

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