Kids' Club Eligible. NOOK Book. You're about to be an eyewitness to the top ten days in Thomas Edison's life, including: An instinctive moment of bravery that launched a career A lucky break that freed him for a life of invention An incredible boast that he quickly proved true A flash of insight that lit the world And the creation of our favorite pastime, the movies. These days and five others shook Edison's world - and yours.
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In addition to the 10 Days series, he authored the acclaimed Eyewitness series of first-person history and the Magical Worlds series for children. More than two million copies of his books are in print in almost thirty languages. It has taken almost three years, but Edison, now thirty-five, is ready to unveil something that will amaze even New Yorkers, who are famous for thinking they've already seen it all. Today's innovation shows the real difference between Edison and other inventors. He didn't stop after perfecting electric light.
He has created an electric light system, taking into account all the practical difficulties that inventors in a lab usually leave to other engineers or later generations. Today Edison will throw a switch to start six massive steam generators at a power plant on Pearl Street, which is near the base of Manhattan, not far from the Brooklyn Bridge and City Hall.
If all goes well, those generators will convert that steam power into electricity, and the city that never sleeps will be lit all night. Edison and his staff are making a careful last inspection of the facility and the equipment before he heads to the office of his chief investor, the millionaire J. He has arranged to have the switch placed in Morgan's office, where Morgan and other financiers will be present.
Morgan is already a strong supporter of Edison's inventions. His home a few miles uptown is one of the few in the city equipped with electric lamps instead of gas for illumination. Edison has even installed a private generator for Morgan, to avoid the usual chemical batteries. Edison isn't worried about failure today. He has already tested the system twice, once aboard a ship and the other time in London. He also limited his first effort to the downtown core so he could focus on getting it right before offering it to the rest of the country.
Of course, attempting a project like this in the busiest part of New York is asking for trouble. It could have been completed more easily just about anywhere else. But Edison has his reasons for this location. This is the financial district, and he wants to impress the people whose money he'll need for expansion.
The New York Times is also within the square mile his system covers. It'll be another twenty years before the paper moves to Longacre Square at Forty-second Street, which will be renamed Times Square. As usual, Edison is courting good publicity. He installed lights in the newspaper for free.
Edison's obsession with detail has served him well on this project. He started his design in a way modern business schools would admire: with careful market research. A house-by-house survey produced a complete picture of the district: the number of gas jets in the buildings, how many hours they burned, how much gas they used, and what each customer spent. Armed with this information, he calculated the amount of electrical power his generators must produce to properly service the customers, and what price would seem attractive.
Early on, Edison concluded that his wiring and cables should be underground, rather than strung on existing poles that carry telephone and telegraph wires. Adverse weather, occasional dangling wires and rickety installation of crossbeams convinced him he needed a more secure conduit for his cables. It took much persuasion and pressure on New York City's mayor and its other politicians before they agreed to let him dig beneath the city streets and plant his miles of wiring.
As the concept of the system began to develop, Edison and his staff at Menlo Park created the blueprints for each piece of equipment required. They've been awarded more than eighty new patents for their innovations, and dozens more are waiting approval. Edison even had to invent a method for measuring his customer's usage so he could charge them accurately.
He came up with a chemical solution that formed a coating on a metal strip when electricity was sent through it. By weighing the strip at the end of each month, Edison could translate the increase in weight from the added coating into a figure for how much electricity had been used. Morgan was skeptical about the system at first, but when he used his own home as a test he discovered Edison's method almost exactly matched the records Morgan's employees kept by hand. Always the salesman, Edison plans to manufacture and sell every piece of equipment in the system, including the lightbulbs.
The Electric Light division of his company is already producing more than a thousand bulbs a day. Like a computer company that sells music for less than it costs so people will buy its portable music players, Edison is keeping the price of the bulbs low so people will sign up for electricity service. In fact, the whole operation is expected to lose money for a while.
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Edison doesn't care. He envisions plants all over the world. In time, he figures, the cost of making the equipment and providing the service will come down. At the offices of the Times , extensive arrangements have been made in anticipation of the test. In the editorial room, twenty-seven electric lamps hang beneath the extended bronze arm of existing gas fixtures. Another twenty-five lamps have been installed in the newspaper's business department. Each lamp has a thumbscrew.
As the Times will later report, "To turn on the light nothing is required but to turn the thumbscrew: no matches are needed, no patent appliances. As soon as it is dark enough to need artificial light, you turn the thumbscrew and the light is there, with no nauseous smell, no flicker and no glare. At every location, people are gathering. When Edison is finally satisfied that everything at the Pearl Street station is ready to go, he walks to Morgan's office. Because it's still daylight, the glow from the lamps disappoints some customers.
The Times doesn't turn on its lamps for another hour or two, and even then the light looks dim. Miles is desperate to hear his mother reveal the name of her murderer and divulge the identity of the "Chicken Man". But a terrible rainstorm and a threatening flood causes Miles to switch his plans. As the flood waters inch their way up to the house and shed, he instructs his son, Errol, to destroy the machine. Miles tells his daughter, Eva, to run to safety with her mother, Lily. Eva wakes with a gash in the back of her head and Lily tells her that both Miles and Errol have drown.
Eva has no memory of the incident and the two are on their own living in an abandoned mill and eventually under a bridge called Burntown. It's at this juncture that you will meet a cast of off-the-wall characters including Fire Eaters with mystical talents and a dangerous figure called Snake Eyes. The first half of the storyline has you locked in tight. Then McMahon opens the spicket wide during the second half and you feel the nudge of not taking this all so serious. Yep, there's murder and mayhem, but the circus does come to town in the end. I kicked this up to a 4-star for the wild imaginings that take place here.
This is certainly not on the same level as The Winter People in which McMahon writes beautifully of a family living on the edge of existence. Burntown is a tree growing from an entirely different acorn. A good read, but not my favorite of McMahon's previous books.
I received a copy of Burntown through NetGalley for an honest review. View all 26 comments. Apr 04, Debra rated it it was amazing. Attempting to save his Mother, Miles shoots her killer with his bow and arrow.
The Last Days of Night
His father is arrested for her Murder and subsequently commits suicide while in prison. Miles has always stood by his story that his father did not kill his Mother, but a man in a chicken suit did. Eva Sandeski loved watching her father build in his workshop. He built wonderful things with hidden compartments where 4. He built wonderful things with hidden compartments where he would leave little trinkets for her to find. His most important "invention" really Thomas Edison's is a device that allows a person to talk to the dead.
The blueprints were left to Miles by his father who had them handed down to him. One night a terrible storm rages and the river near the Sandeski family home begins to rise. As the family begins to prepare to avoid being flooded, the machine turns on and Miles' Mother's voice is heard telling them there was "danger" and "He's here". The next thing Eva remembers she is lying on the riverbank and her Mother tells her that her Father and brother are both dead, they no longer have a home and they need to hide because they are still in danger.
Eva and her Mother are "rescued" by an interesting group of women known as the "fire eaters" Eva's Mother soon becomes one of them and they change their names. Eva decides to change her name to Necco after the candy she loved as a child. Then one day she wakes up to find her boyfriend has been murdered and she is considered a suspect. She is not the only character in this book.
There is sweet lovable Pru who dreams of having her own circus. Marcelle, who has always been kind to Pru, is the "strong man" of her dreams. He makes deliveries to the school where Pru works, but he also works as a private investigator. He has been hired to find a missing person and will not stop until he has answers.
Then there is Theo a lonely high school student who gets into a bad situation, after experiencing love for the first time. This book is full of secrets, but they are all tied together. I am not even sure how to classify this book. Is it a mystery? Is it a thriller? Are there some supernatural elements? Basically, this book has something for everyone.
While reading this book, I kept thinking how this also felt like it had the vibe of an Alice Hoffman book. By that I mean, the mixing of paranormal with fiction, with mystery, with romance. I think this takes a special skill to pull off and McMahon did it beautifully. The way she wove her story really worked. This book was oddly compelling, and I read devoured this book! There were lots of characters in this book and eventually all of their stories connect in the end. While reading the book, I kept wondering about her "brother".
While reading, I scratched my head thinking thought Eva was an only child" then "hmmmm why isn't her brother mentioned in any news articles? Again, everything really does tie together in the end I know I have been saying that a lot in this review but it is true!!! In short, I really enjoyed this book! These books are entirely different, but both were such a pleasure to read. This book is different but wonderfully so. It is almost like a circus. One needs to suspend some disbelief while reading this. It's worth it, by the way.
I can't say that there is anything about his book that I did not like. I really enjoyed how the story unraveled. Things are not always as they seem and those who loves us, sometimes lie to us to keep us safe. Small towns harbor and hold secrets - until eventually the dam breaks and they come pouring out. I received this book from Doubleday and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. See more of my reviews at www. View all 6 comments.
One never quite knows what one will get, she manages to defy genre definitions by throwing in a little of this and a little of that. There are murders, a flood, a machine that is said to allow one to communicate with the dead, a man in a chicken mask and other really out there elements. The characters are vastly strange and should not work together but somehow they do, or so I thought. Loved the obese circu 3. Loved the obese circus lady, Hannah the young girl who is way out of her element, the fire ladies who snort devil's dust that enables them to have visions and of course Necco, who once had a different name and has already lost so much.
There is even a hero, the imagined strongman of the circus lady. So while this plot is definitely out there I found it strangely entertaining. The ending was a little too pat but I did enjoy the journey. Regardless of one's reception of this book it is hard to deny that this author has one amazing imagination.
View all 17 comments. Oct 20, Melisa rated it liked it Shelves: mystery , paranormal , netgalley , arc , thriller. She manages to take the supernatural and blend it with reality in a way that seems like this could actually happen. And she manages to scare you in a way that no one else can. We have chapters told from several points of view which definitely enhances the overall storyline. Getting different perspectives on what is happening from multiple characters only adds to the character development.
This was the perfect book to read during Halloween-time. It has a certain Twin Peaks vibe about it. There are fire eaters, the Great Flood, a man in a chicken mask and Thomas Edison secret inventions. View all 22 comments. Mar 20, Liz rated it liked it Shelves: netgalley. This is a very odd book and I'm not sure what to make of it. It defies easy description. Should it be considered mystery, fantasy, paranormal with a bit of mysticism?
Later, as an adult, he goes on to develop an invention that can talk to the dead. Shortly thereafter, he's killed in a flood. His daughter survives but is living as a homeless person. The This is a very odd book and I'm not sure what to make of it. Then there's an unrelated high school girl who gets caught up in a drug ring. Got all that? And that's just the first quarter of the book. It's an interesting read in its own way. It took a while before it grabbed me. The second half was definitely faster paced than the first. And it's a book that requires you to suspend your normal belief system.
My thanks to netgalley and Doubleday for an advance copy of this novel. View all 7 comments. May 15, Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror rated it it was ok. Oh man, I'm disheartened to give this review. Let me start by giving you my history with Jennifer McMahon. I loved both of them. So I'm a fan--those were 'thrilling mysteries'--original and interesting. My favorite from McMahon to date--thrilling enough to almost be horror--it was that scary at times. But then came The Night Sister. The writing was all over the map and super repetitive to me and it annoyed me a great deal.
I felt irritated and bored at the same time. Now we have Burntown and I hate to admit this but I had the same problems with this book that I had with Night Sister. Let me try to describe it: It's as though there is a really good idea here for the plot.
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McMahon knows in her writer brain where this is going and how the story is going to end. She alone, knows the twists and the turns but how she gets there and how she takes us on this journey to the end is not executed well at all. This book had all the potential in the world in the beginning. So much mystery and engaging characters--there was even this spooky, paranormal element that I enjoyed and was seriously hoping that was going to get full blown and develop. I invested in the characters, Necco, Theo, Pru I stopped caring for the characters and what happened to them, they didn't 'emote' to me.
Example: Something really terrible happens to someone close to our main protagonist, Necco and she barely reacts to it, other than running away to a secret hideout and taking care of herself first. It didn't feel real. The mysterious happenings become confusing and discombobulated. The flashbacks become unreliable. The paranormal element takes a back burner. Nothing felt real--especially the threat. The danger, it wasn't grounded.
The plot unraveled and I wasn't anticipating the big reveals anymore. The whole thing lost so much steam for me that by the end, I was already over it and waiting for the finish. Such a bummer for me, really. A thriller? Not even close. When I buy a thriller, I want to be thrilled. Read The Winter People, that was a thriller. Skip Burntown. View all 19 comments. In the beginning a little boy witnesses a gruesome murder. Coolest machine ever! I wanted more of it. Now his teenage daughter, known as Necco in the strange place called Burntown, is on the run from a killer intent on wiping out her family.
Luckily Necco falls in with an eclectic group of outsiders, and together they set out to solve the mystery of In the beginning a little boy witnesses a gruesome murder. The writing in this novel has a mysterious and lyrical quality Alice Hoffman-ish? This book had many elements — suspense, mystery, the supernatural, and a coming of age story — that all came together for a unique and exciting read.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. View 2 comments. May 07, Frances rated it really liked it. Hiding from his Mother behind the rock garden, ten year old Miles Sandeski watches her intently with his trusty bow and arrow by his side. She is relaxing on a lounge chair in a white cotton dress smoking a cigarette, a habit she promised to quit one day.
Miles sees someone approaching her, a man wearing a rubber chicken mask. His Mother knows him and is soon laughing at something he has said, not seeing the blade held in his hand. Author Jennifer McMahon has written an imaginative, mystical, vivid tale with many whimsical and endearing characters. Burn Town is recommended to all readers who enjoy a thoughtful, original, and very descriptive story. View all 70 comments. Jul 23, Paul rated it really liked it.
View all 9 comments. Apr 26, Bam rated it really liked it Shelves: mystery , doubleday-keep-turning-pages-group , i-own-it , reads. Jennifer McMahon's latest book is a murder mystery laced with supernatural elements. Miles Sandeski was 10 years old when he witnessed his mother's brutal murder by a masked man. His father was suspected of the crime and was later found drowned, a presumed suicide. One of the things Miles inherited from his father were the plans to a strange invention--something that Thomas Edison had drawn up, plans which were stolen by an ancestor of the Sandeskis.
Many years later, Miles succeeds in assemblin Jennifer McMahon's latest book is a murder mystery laced with supernatural elements. Many years later, Miles succeeds in assembling a machine from the plans and opens a door to another realm with disastrous results. There is a night that marks a 'Before' and an 'After' in his family's lives and the events of that night send his wife and daughter into hiding. Can his young daughter discover the truth before it is too late?
My rating is actually somewhere between 3 and 4 stars for this one. But I liked this mystery enough that it has awakened an interest in me to read her others. The mystery was pretty decent, although I spotted one of the plot twists early on and was curious about what was going on with that small bump in the storyline. I personally didn't care for the use of hallucinatory drugs as a means for self-revelation in the story.
Can't we be goddesses without drugs? Thanks to the Doubleday Keep Turning Pages group for a hardcover copy of this book through their giveaway! Burntown, in my opinion, did not have the same intense storyline as The Winter People had. What I loved about the Winter People were the dual-timeline and the paranormal aspect of the story. It was thrilling and fascinating to read. Burntown lacked that and the story about Eve Necco just never got that intense. At first, it felt like what Necco went through was some sort of apocalyptic event.
It was fascinating, but then it kind of fizzled out and I kept on wanting the story to pick up speed again and get interesting again. What made me stick with the story was the machine that made you speak to the dead, I was curious about it and I was also curious about whom killed Milo's mother. Did the killing of Milo's mother have something to do with what happened to Necco's family? For me was this book not especially memorable. It's not so long ago that I read it, but I found it was hard to write a review for the book since the story just didn't intrigue me so much. However, I did find it got better when Necco started to search for answers together with two very unlikely allies.
I would say that the first part of the book before they got together and help each other was not as interesting as when they started to search for answers. For me was Burntown just not as good as The Winter People. That doesn't mean that this book was not good, it just didn't live up to my expectations I guess. I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through Edelweiss for an honest review!
Mar 30, Carlos rated it really liked it. Well , this book has everything, Mystery, Suspense and good background characters that add meaning to the narrative. I want to thank the folks at Netgalley for giving me an ARC of this book. In this book you will find contemporary issues drugs, lgbt and a bit of the supernatural that defies logic, you will also get believable characters and all of this mixes in a good way and it produces a book worth reading. A family that seems to be cursed by a machine that lets you speak to the dead , the Well , this book has everything, Mystery, Suspense and good background characters that add meaning to the narrative.
A family that seems to be cursed by a machine that lets you speak to the dead , the plans of which were drawn by Thomas Edison himself. But can this machine truly do what it promises and if it does , would you want to talk to the dead? And what would they say, all of this is explored in this book, I highly recommend this book to anyone that is looking for another mystery to read , or to any fan of the author that has read her previous works View 1 comment.
Her books tend to defy genre by including a bit of everything in them.
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This one is no exception. It starts with a murder, and later as an adult, the witness to the murder invents a machine based on Thomas Edison's plans to talk to the dead. None of McMahon's books are scary but most of them have a strong "creep factor". This one is missing that and is more of a straight up mystery with a little magical realism on the side. I stil 3. I still enjoyed this and I think if you are a fan of the author's you will too.
If you've never read her before this is probably not the best place to start. My two favorites are Dismantled and The Winter People. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this advanced copy. Jul 03, Kristy rated it really liked it Shelves: mystery , a-real-book-wow , from-the-library , thriller , women-s-fiction , read-in As a child, Miles watched in horror as his mother was murdered before his very eyes. Despite that awful event, Miles grew up into a well-respected professor, as well as an inventor. He married his wife, Lily, and they had a family, daughter Eva and son Errol.
Miles loves to tinker in his workshop while Eva watches and assists. Miles best invention, however? A machine built off plans supposedly from Thomas Edison and handed down to Miles: it allows you to speak with your deceased loved ones. But As a child, Miles watched in horror as his mother was murdered before his very eyes.
But Miles' hard-fought happy adult life ends when a terrible storm hits his family home: at the same time, the machine turns itself on, warning them of danger. Shortly after, Eva awakes and is told by Lily that Miles and Errol are dead. Their home has been lost in the "Great Flood," and they can never return. Eva reinvents herself as Necco, and she and her mother find a new life among the homeless of Burntown.
But then Necco's mother dies and a series of events shows that Necco is in grave danger. What exactly happened the night of the Great Flood? And will Necco ever be safe again? The premise of this book probably sounds absurd, but please, don't let it deter you. I've read a handful of McMahon's books over time now and liked them all, but I really, really enjoyed this book. Many of her books have a blend of paranormal, fantasy, etc.
The novel starts off a bit convoluted--there are a lot of narrators--and you have to suspend your disbelief at times for the plot to work, but it's really worth it. Marcelle, a delivery man who helps out his private investigator brother. McMahon seamlessly weaves together these characters--and many more--into a mesmerizing tale that is part ghost story, part mystery, part love story. I honestly couldn't put this book down: I stayed up late to finish it. This novel isn't your usual mystery or your usual supernatural tale, but it's certainly worth reading if you like one or both genres.
There's a sweetness to it, as well as a completely compelling plot that will pull you in immediately. Apr 17, Sheila rated it liked it Shelves: read-in , netgalley. I've read all of Jennifer McMahon's books, and you never know what to expect from her. I appreciate the boldness of her plots--they get crazy, and I love it. This one combines supernatural elements with suspense. I thought the strength of the book was the characters--especially the relationship formed between the three main characters. Another strength was the sensitive, realistic portrayal of homelessness and mental illness.
The weakness, in my mind, was not enough super 3 stars--I liked the book. The weakness, in my mind, was not enough supernatural elements. The crazy, cool invention is barely used, which disappointed me. I received this review copy from the publisher on NetGalley. Thanks for the opportunity to read and review; I appreciate it! Mar 26, Monnie rated it it was amazing. But since the book seriously flirts with the paranormal - which I didn't realize going in - I'm both surprised that I liked it at all and astounded that I absolutely loved it.
The fact is, if this one doesn't make the best-seller list, I'll consider it a travesty. Most chapters are named for various characters, a technique that usually doesn't work well for me, mostly because at my age I tend to forget who's who rather easily. It didn't matter a whit here, though - testimony, I thin Mesmerizing! It didn't matter a whit here, though - testimony, I think, to the author's ability to make each character unique and memorable as well as leave written breadcrumbs, if you will, that make the whole thing easy to follow.
Early on, a year-old boy named Miles Sandeski watches as his mother is murdered - a crime for which his father is charged. Miles knows better, but he's so young, and the story he tells so absurd, that no one believes him. His father had, however, told his young son of plans he'd hidden for an ultra-dangerous secret machine that was never built - thought to have been stolen from the workshop of Thomas Edison.
Miles found the plans and managed to heed his late father's warning until he was a grown man - a teacher, musician, inventor, husband to wife Lily and father of two children: A son Errol and younger daughter Eva. The inventor in Miles takes over his better judgment, and he builds the machine in the family's shed in back of their house on the river. Then one day, the unthinkable happens: Miles drowns in a flash flood, leaving Eva and her mother homeless.
Eva, who nearly drowned herself, never really believes her mother's claim that the machine is responsible for her father's death. Everything from that day forward is considered "After the Flood," and because Eva's mother insists someone known as "Snake Eyes" is out to kill them, she and Eva take to the shadowy streets below the bridges of thriving Ashford, Vermont.
Now called Necco after her favorite candy as a child , Eva and Lily live in an underworld populated by "fire eaters," or women who live off the grid at the river's edge and are known for inhaling herbs called the "devil's snuff. Along the way she finds a boyfriend; just as he is about to reveal what could be clues to her past, he's murdered in the junk car in which they've been living. Now alone, she meets Theo, a talented high school senior who owes a potload of money to a man willing to kill to get it back, and Pru, a seriously overweight lady who serves up food in a school cafeteria by day and puts a whole new spin on night life.
As these intriguing but incongruous characters come together in a tenuous, I'll-scratch-your-back-if-you-scratch-mine sort of relationship, so do details of Eva's life Before the Flood. Several twists and turns later, Eva and readers finally learn what really happened. All I can say without giving away too much is this: If you start this book, get cozy for at least the last hour or so - from then on, you won't be able to put it down. Many thanks to the publisher, via NetGalley, for the opportunity to read an advance review copy.
Shelves: mystery , 1-have , closedbooks , 9-doni-has. This book was not what I expected it to be. I think it's most redeeming aspect was the way that McMahon tied it all up at the end. There were parts of this book that I struggled to get through. It felt like a wild goose chase from time to time, thinking there was nothing that could possibly happen that could redeem the story.
Not quite magical, or true, realism, not quite a good mystery, not really te 3. Not quite magical, or true, realism, not quite a good mystery, not really teenage angst, probably more fantasy than anything. This book fell short of my expectations. A magical machine, a flood, a living carnival act, and life on the streets is what our protagonist faced. Thinking she knew who she was, she became involved with a senators son, a drug dealer and the lunch lady from the school across the street. Chased from her home in an abandoned car Necco - the name she took while on the run - began to understand that things were not as black and white as she thought.
View all 4 comments. I read this in two days. Could not tear my eyes away I am a huge, devoted fan of Jennifer McMahon, and I was not disappointed by her latest novel. There is suspense, murder, mystery A very satisfying ending. Thank you, Netgalley, for this arc. Mar 03, Jessica Woodbury rated it it was ok Shelves: horror , arc , crime-mystery. They may not be all that impressive or all that good, but you just ate the whole thing.
A lot. It starts off awfully impressive, with a solid opener and a decent follow up but all that is really just Preface. And the actual story only got worse with each chapter. There is a lot of magical realism that often appears out of nowhere and will probably disorient or bug some readers.