From the New York Times bestselling author of The Drowning Kind comes a genre-defying new novel, inspired by Mary Shelley’s masterpiece Frankenstein, that brilliantly explores the eerie mysteries of childhood and the evils perpetrated by the monsters among us.
1978: At her renowned treatment center in picturesque Vermont, the brilliant psychiatrist Dr. Helen Hildreth is acclaimed for her compassionate work with the mentally ill. But when she’s home with her cherished grandchildren, Vi and Eric, she’s just Gran—teaching them how to take care of their pets, preparing them home-cooked meals, providing them with care and attention and love.
Then one day Gran brings home a child to stay with the family. Iris—silent, hollow-eyed, skittish, and feral—does not behave like a normal girl.
Still, Violet is thrilled to have a new playmate. She and Eric invite Iris to join their Monster Club, where they catalogue all kinds of monsters and dream up ways to defeat them. Before long, Iris begins to come out of her shell. She and Vi and Eric do everything together: ride their bicycles, go to the drive-in, meet at their clubhouse in secret to hunt monsters. Because, as Vi explains, monsters are everywhere.
2019: Lizzy Shelley, the host of the popular podcast Monsters Among Us, is traveling to Vermont, where a young girl has been abducted, and a monster sighting has the town in an uproar. She’s determined to hunt it down, because Lizzy knows better than anyone that monsters are real—and one of them is her very own sister.
A haunting, vividly suspenseful page-turner from the “literary descendant of Shirley Jackson” (Chris Bohjalian, author of The Flight Attendant), The Children on the Hill takes us on a breathless journey to face the primal fears that lurk within us all.
Two alternating story lines set more than 40 years apart smoothly intersect, doling out clues about fragile childhood memories, in this stellar take on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein from bestseller McMahon (The Drowning Kind). In 1978, Violet "Vi" Hildreth and her brother, Eric, live with their Gran, acclaimed psychiatrist Helen Hildreth, in the shadow of Vermont's Hillside Inn, which at the time "was widely considered one of the best private psychiatric institutions in New England." The creep factor ramps up as rumors of violent patients and experiments at the Hillside Inn fuel Vi and Eric's fascination with monsters. The pair are soon hunting for werewolves, vampires, and shape-shifters. They're thrilled when Gran brings home a new playmate, the silent, fearful Iris, who joins them in their efforts to fight monsters. Then their lives take a tragic turn. In 2019, Vi, now known as Lizzy Shelley, travels the country as the host of mega-popular podcast Monsters Among Us. The suspense builds when she returns to Vermont to investigate a possible link between a missing girl and a monster sighting. McMahon keeps the reader wondering how much is real and how much is imagined. This is a must for psychological thriller fans. Agent: Daniel Lazar, Writers House.