Monday, May 26, 2014

Night Film by Marisha Pessl

A page-turning thriller for readers of Stephen King, Gillian Flynn, and Stieg Larsson, Night Film tells the haunting story of a journalist who becomes obsessed with the mysterious death of a troubled prodigy—the daughter of an iconic, reclusive filmmaker.

On a damp October night, beautiful young Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Though her death is ruled a suicide, veteran investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. As he probes the strange circumstances surrounding Ashley’s life and death, McGrath comes face-to-face with the legacy of her father: the legendary, reclusive cult-horror-film director Stanislas Cordova—a man who hasn’t been seen in public for more than thirty years.

For McGrath, another death connected to this seemingly cursed family dynasty seems more than just a coincidence. Though much has been written about Cordova’s dark and unsettling films, very little is known about the man himself.

Driven by revenge, curiosity, and a need for the truth, McGrath, with the aid of two strangers, is drawn deeper and deeper into Cordova’s eerie, hypnotic world.

The last time he got close to exposing the director, McGrath lost his marriage and his career. This time he might lose even more.

Night Film, the gorgeously written, spellbinding new novel by the dazzlingly inventive Marisha Pessl, will hold you in suspense until you turn the final page. (from GoodReads)

Review:I forget where this book was recommended, but I do remember it was around the time that I read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I love mysteries, thrillers, and horror and Night Film does a wonderful job of encapsulating these three genres. I would definitely recommend this book for fans of these types of novels.

Like I've said on countless occasions, I love watching scary movies and reading this book was similar to that type of experience. Especially in the beginning of Night Film I was pretty freaked out. I even had trouble falling asleep in the dark and that never happens! I was only really scared at the start of the book and that's because Marisha Pessl does such a great job of world-building and creating the universe in which Cordova and his films exist. Even though it's our world with a fictional director, while reading I was convinced that there was this legendary filmmaker whose films could only be watched through bootlegged copies and underground screenings. That is just so freaky to me. I wish I could actually watch one of his movies because they seem so scary!

It's within this world that investigative journalist Scott McGrath works and he is determined to find some dirt to condemn Cordova. He goes on a journey with two other characters who are also interested in the death of Ashley Cordova. Even though the book is long, the plot is pretty fast-paced and the characters move from one lead to the next. In the real world it probably wouldn't have been as smooth of a ride but I enjoyed seeing them go from clue to clue and learn more about the mysterious director and his family. Pessl is wonderful at building the suspense and tension. I couldn't wait to find out what was really going on.

As much as I enjoyed the story, I did have issues with the narration (too lengthy at times). Pessl writes best when there's dialogue. It would have been neat to delve even deeper into Scott's character but I'm usually okay with a plot-based book. I do have to say that I absolutely loved the extra features. There were articles, blog posts, even a TIME photo slideshow detailing Cordova's life. Those elements made the story seem real and we're just really cool.

Overall, I love this genre and I love been scared so Night Film was right up my alley. I think this book would be awesome as an actual movie even though it's pretty long. I'm definitely interested in checking out Pessl's other work now too.

Rating: 9 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from the library

2013/Random House/602 pages.

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