On the surface, Ashford, Vermont, seems like a quaint New England college town, but to those who live among the shadowy remains of its abandoned mills and factories, and beneath its towering steel bridges, it's known as Burntown.
Eva Sandeski, who goes by the name Necco on the street, has been a part of Burntown's 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, this machine got Miles murdered.
Necco has always written off this claim as the fevered imaginings of a woman consumed by grief. But when Lily also dies under mysterious circumstances, and Necco's boyfriend is murdered, she's convinced her mother was telling the truth. Now, on the run from a man called Snake Eyes, Necco must rely on other Burntown outsiders to survive.
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 turns.
Fans of McMahon's eight earlier novels (The Winter People, etc) will be intrigued by this complex and quirky mystery set in a rundown Vermont mill town, where orphaned teenage Eva (street name Necco) lives in an abandoned car with her boyfriend, Hermes. Her grandparents have been murdered, her parents also died suspiciously, and her brother is missing. Necco recalls a mysterious machine, built by her father from plans stolen from Thomas Edison, that can talk with the dead; a killer now wants those plans and thinks Necco has them. Through a series of strange events, Necco is befriended by the Fire Eaters, a group of outcast nomadic women; Theo, a female student drug dealer; and Pru, the school cafeteria worker. There might be two killers after Necco and the plans, and as her memory of earlier family deaths returns, she realizes she does know enough about her father's strange machine to be in danger. This is a well-crafted story with plenty of suspense to keep readers engrossed.
A page turner!
Book lagged at the beginning but once the story started it kept me turning the page. I enjoyed how each of the characters intertwined with each other but the plot for me was unnecessarily confusing.
I love all of Jennifer McMahon's books and this
one was just as good as the rest! Could have read in one sitting if I had time.