Sunday, June 13, 2021

Review - The Drowning Kind

Title:  The Drowning Kind
Author Jennifer McMahon
Publisher:  Gallery/Scout Press
Genre:   Mystery/Thrillers
Format:  Audiobook /ebook ARCs
No. of Pages:   336
Date of Publication:   April 6, 2021
My Rating:   5 Stars

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. 


What does 1920's New Hampshire have to do with two sisters in present day? Jax has a difficult task ahead of her. She has to see about her sister Lex's affairs after Lex drowned in a pool. Jax is quite upset with herself because she let numerous calls go unanswered by Lex as Lex was often manic. Now Lex is dead, and Jax has to sort things out. The sisters were distant for more than one reason, including the fact that Lex inherited their grandmother's estate. One of the things this estate housed was a pool reputed to be haunted.

Jax is forced to deal with mixed feelings about Lex. Dealing with guilt towards Lex is one thing. Also, Jax did not deal well with Lex's mental illness, something passed on genetically. The story deals with much more than these things, however. In fact the book takes on a supernatural edge, as there were strange things going on with the pool, both years ago and presently. 

When the story shifts back to 1929, there is Ethel Monroe's point of view, Desperation for a baby after marrying the town doctor leads Ethel to reach for desperate measures, including visiting a resort that is connected to a pool said to have healing powers. While making wishes at this pool is a common thing, odd experiences and danger are close at hand.

In present day and Jax's point of view we see how she and Lex were close as children, enjoying their summers together, at that very pool that factored into the other time frame in this story. Lex had a unique attachment to the pool, mesmerizing and more. By the time the girls became adults, they were estranged and this made it rather easy for Jax to ignore those pressing phone calls just before Lex's death. What did Lex want to tell Jax and what led to Lex's death?

The Drowning Kind  was a thrilling story filled with unsual and creepy events, palpable tension and atmosphere and a shocking ending, one that wrapped things up remarkably well.

Many thanks to Gallery/Scout Press and to NetGalley for this ARC for review.  This is my honest opinion.


I’m the New York Times Bestselling author of ten suspense novels including The Winter People and Promise Not To Tell. My latest, The Drowning Kind, will be out in April. I’ve written about ghosts, serial killers, shape shifting monsters, an evil fairy king, a kidnapping rabbit, and now, a terrifying swimming pool.

My first novel was, at its heart, a ghost story.  That novel drew me to write about the unexplained, the dark side, the fears that keep me awake at night, the way the past haunts the present.  When studying writing in college and grad school, again and again I was told: Write what you know.  But over the years, I have developed my own mantra, one which is so vital to who I am and what I do that I had it tattooed on my wrist: Write what scares you.

I live in Vermont (in a creepy old Victorian on a hill) with my partner, Drea, and our daughter, Zella. When I’m not writing, I spend a lot of time exploring the dark Vermont woods and seeking out haunted places, real and imagined.

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