A labyrinthine, complex literary horror-mystery novel, Night Film has a seemingly endless amount of twists and turns. I was immediately and completely sucked into the story: a dark tale of an infamous horror filmmaker, his ethereal daughter, the multitude of loyal hangers-on, a possible suicide, a possible murder, disappearing witnesses, and a devastating love story. Pessl is a worthy storyteller and she certainly knows how to force you to the top of her cliffhangers. Midway through, the story seemed to become bogged down with everything devolving into some kind of dark-magic, supernatural mumbo-jumbo. Luckily, that particular twist was just a ruse designed to confuse — and, yes — I was duped. Hang on — Pessle will fling you, blindfolded, on a long and switch-backed roller coaster ride down a pitch-black rabbit hole. Enjoy the jaunt. Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Brilliant, haunting, breathtakingly suspenseful, Night Film
is a superb literary thriller by the New York Times
bestselling author of the “blockbuster debut” (People
) Special Topics in Calamity Physics
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.
"Seven years after Special Topics in Calamity Physics, Pessl returns with a novel as twisted and intelligent as that lauded debut. Again, the story centers on a father-daughter relationship, but this time the sinister element is front and center, beginning with the daughter's death. The 'night films' of Stanislas Cordova have a cult following: fans hold underground screenings and claim that to see his work is to 'leave your old self behind, walk through hell, and be reborn.' Ashley Cordova is his enigmatic daughter; she appears in his final film at the age of eight, debuts as a pianist at Carnegie Hall at 12, and apparently commits suicide at 24. Scott McGrath is a reporter who lost his job investigating Stanislas and can't resist his need to uncover the real story of Ashley's death. Though the structure is classic noir, Pessl delivers lifelike horror with glimpses, in the form of faux Web sites, of the secretive Stanislas, his films, and his fans. Things slow down when Scott breaks into Stanislas's estate; sustained terror depends on what is withheld, not what is shown. But Pessl does wonderful work giving the hard-headed Scott reason to question the cause of Ashley's death, and readers will be torn between logic and magic. Agent: Amanda Urban, ICM." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“This summer’s Gone Girl: a completely absorbing literary thriller.” Library Journal
“Get ready to talk about this book.” Entertainment Weekly
“A literary mystery that’s also a page-turner...Night Film might be the most talked-about novel this summer.” Time Out New York
“An inventive — if brooding, strange and creepy — adventure in literary terror. Think Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King meet Guillermo del Toro as channeled by Klaus Kinski.” Kirkus Reviews
“Expands from a seemingly straightforward mystery into a multifaceted, densely byzantine exploration of much larger issues....Into this mazelike world of dead ends and false leads, McGrath ventures with his two, much younger helpers, Nora and Hopper, brilliantly portrayed Holmesian ‘irregulars’ who may finally understand more about Ashley than their mentor, whose linear approach to fact finding might miss the point entirely.” Booklist (starred review)
About the Author
Marisha Pessl’s bestselling debut novel, Special Topics in Calamity Physics, won the John Sargent Sr. First Novel Prize (now the Center for Fiction’s Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize), and was selected as one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review. Pessl grew up in Asheville, North Carolina, and currently resides in New York City.