Jennifer McMahon and Jodi Picoult are the two authors I most look forward to seeing on the “Coming Soon” list. In fact, I made the mistake of taking McMahon’s Island of Lost Girls on vacation one year. I say “made the mistake” because reading that book was all I wanted to do -- no sightseeing or anything. In fact, that was one of the first books I reviewed on this blog back in July 2009. McMahon has always succeeded in creating that creepy, “just one more chapter” atmosphere. Until now, that is -- unfortunately, Burntown was no winner in my book.
The plot is quite difficult to explain, but I’ll make an attempt. Eva grew up close to her father, Miles, and loved watching him invent wonderful things. There’s one invention, however, that’s wanted by someone dangerous; this person will even resort to murder to get it. Eva (later changing her name to Necco) has always believed that her father drowned in the Great Flood, but it’s only after the death of her mother and boyfriend that she begins to think differently.
Helping Necco to find out what really happened is a motley crew of characters, and I found it difficult to care about any of them. There were so many stories and threads going on here, and when they finally all came together, the payoff was less than rewarding.
I began reading Burntown in January, and it took everything in my power to finish it by March. I found it boring, and far beneath McMahon’s usual standards. Unfortunately, this was no Island of Lost Girls.