When I carried this book along with me on my vacation, little did I know that I would end up spending two whole days in the brightest part of the room finishing it up. I also happened to double-check the doors twice at night when I just couldn’t resist the urge of reading. I would say the only book that has played this sort of scary mind trick on me was Audrey Niffeneger’s Her Fearful Symmetry and even that doesn’t match up to Night Film on the scare scale. Now that you have realized I am a chicken when it comes to eerie thrillers let me begin my review by stating that Night Film is among the best books I have read in the genre.
If you are like me and you tend to get into the story without as much as reading the back cover you will find that it involves the investigation of death under mysterious circumstances of one Miss Ashley Cordova. Ashley, the gifted musician daughter of the world-renowned recluse horror movie director Stanislas Cordova. There is way too much haze surrounding Cordovas life and it been decades since he made a public appearance. Cordova’s fan following is huge and his films so scary that they are not even available for general viewing. What surprises investigative journalist Scott McGrath is that even though the police have dismissed it as a suicide, Ashley’s death is another tragic event in the Cordova family history and it somehow doesn’t seem all that simple. McGrath has a history with Stanislas and when the opportunity to investigate this particular death comes up he takes it and dives straight in.
When it comes to narration, Marisha Pessl has done an amazing job. As we follow Scott McGrath and his two friends who begin digging into Ashley Cordova’s life, it goes from being benign to weird to out right absurd while coming a full circle to the last revelation. That ending wasn’t entirely satisfying, but you know after having spent time with these characters it hardly surprises you that Pessl ended it such.
There were times while reading when I would just close the book and wait until the fear of impending doom over the characters passed. It was scary but it was unputdownable (if there is such a word).
I was mulling over the supposed categorization of the book and ended giving up on the task when it seemed like to put it in one specific genre would be like binding it. Night Film is a book that transcends genre barriers. It takes you through a very well written mystery and a superbly executed thriller while giving you chills with the supernatural and horror elements.
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