The Drowning KindThe Drowning Kind by Jennifer McMahon
Published by Gallery/Scout Press on April 6, 2021
Pages: 319
View Title on Goodreads
Bantering Books Rating: four-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.

Bantering Books Review

My swimming days are over.

Jennifer McMahon has creeped me the hell out. No way will I be dipping so much as a toe into a pool anytime soon, thanks to her ghost tale of a thriller, The Drowning Kind.

Told in dual timelines, the narrative flips between Jax in 2019, a woman grieving her dead sister after she drowns in the pool at their grandmother’s estate, and Ethel in 1929, as she visits a mineral spring rumored to miraculously grant wishes and heal. The magical gifts of the spring come with a steep price, however, and those who accept its bounties must also give of themselves equally in return.

McMahon’s weaving of the two timelines is flawless. The story is beautifully written, eerily atmospheric and foreboding, and she does an excellent job of slowly ratcheting up the ominous, spooky tension. To the point where, by the time I arrived at the novel’s shocking conclusion, I was so on edge I jumped out of my skin at every squeak, creak, and bump I heard in the night.

Humiliating, really. But YOU should try reading The Drowning Kind at 11 pm on Halloween with all the lights off while your family sleeps. We’ll then see how you fare with it.

(No? Yeah, that’s what I thought you’d say.)

All joking aside, The Drowning Kind is well worth the fright. It’s thrilling. It’s chilling. It’s spooktacularly entertaining.

I just may never swim again. A small price to pay for a ghostly-good read, right?

My sincerest appreciation to Jennifer McMahon, Gallery/Scout Press, and Edelweiss+ for the Advance Review Copy. All opinions included herein are my own.