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
Fans of classic horror directors, like Hitchcock and Kubrick, will love the uncanny resemblance of Pessl's fictional director Sanislas Cordova. Follow an investigative journalist into the cultish underground of Cordova and the mysterious details surrounding the death of his daughter. Don't read this one late into the night, or you'll find yourself trapped on the set of one of Cordova's films. Recommended By Alex Y., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
NEW YORK TIMES
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY:
NPR • Cosmopolitan • Kirkus Reviews • BookPage
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.
“Night Film has been precision-engineered to be read at high velocity, and its energy would be the envy of any summer blockbuster. Your average writer of thrillers should lust for Pessl’s deft touch with character.” Joe Hill, The New York Times Book Review
“Maniacally clever...Cordova is a monomaniacal genius who creeps into the darkest crevices of the human psyche....As a study of a great mythmaker, Night Film is an absorbing act of myth-making itself....Dastardly fun....The plot feels like an M. C. Escher nightmare about Edgar Allan Poe....You’ll miss your subway stop, let dinner burn and start sleeping with the lights on.” The Washington Post
“Entrancing and delightful...[a] whipsmart humdinger of a thriller....It feels, above all things, new.” The Boston Globe
“A very deeply imagined book...sprints to an ending that’s equal parts nagging and haunting: What lingers, beyond all the page-turning, is a density of possible clues that leaves you leafing backward, scanning fictional blog comments and newspaper clippings, positive there’s some secret detail that will snap everything into focus.” New York
“Hypnotic....The real and the imaginary, life and art, are dizzyingly distorted not only in a Cordova night film...but in Pessl’s own Night Film as well.” Vanity Fair
“Inventive....Think Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King meet Guillermo del Toro.” Kirkus Reviews
“Expands from a seemingly straightforward mystery into a multifaceted, densely byzantine exploration of much larger issues.” Booklist (starred review)
“This summer’s Gone Girl: a completely absorbing literary thriller.” Library Journal
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.