Monday, December 9, 2013

Night Film

Night Film
Marisha Pessl

Published 2013

First Sentence 
(added the second sentence because it gives a good feeling to the story)
"Everyone has a Cordova story, whether they like it or not. Maybe your next-door neighbor found one of his movies in an old box in her attic and never entered a dark room alone again."
Publisher's Description:

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.

Dear Reader,

What a fun book! Yes, this book is about a horror film director/producer and goes towards the spooky, but really this book is all about the mixed media. Pessl successfully attempted what some have tried, mixed media to go along with a novel. She really gave some thought into every detail and it shows. The novel follows McGrath, an investigative journalist who gets wrapped up in the life of the extremely famous film mogul, Cordova. This isn't his first time investigating the filmmaker and we learn early on that his career was ruined from Cordova's supporters and from the man himself. After Cordova's daughter is found dead, supposedly from suicide, McGrath starts to open up that can of worms and travels down the rabbit hole with two strangers he meets along the way.

The book has quite a few disturbing and eerie moments but I wouldn't put it in the "horror" genre but more aptly placed as a thriller/mystery. So those of you who think you'd be too scared to read this, think again, you might really enjoy it. The characters Pessl creates are richly developed and you start to fall right down that rabbit hole with them. I wanted to know what was going to happen next which kept me guessing but I kept getting it wrong! I love when a book can do that, it means the Author has thought of every scenario and picked the least likely one to trick the audience. I usually don't fall in love with mysteries because of this fact, usually the story is too predictable and simple to be a page turner. If I've figured it out too early, the book just seems dull. Surprisingly, this had me pretty much until the end. If I could say anything bad about the book it would be the length. It dragged on in quite in a few spots and I felt this story didn't warrant six hundred pages worth of content. The writing was on par with typical mystery/thriller writers if not a little more sophisticated with the trick-ability.

I was more than impressed with all the media content the Author included in the book. She has filled it (not overly) with pictures, charts, lists, letters, articles and more. Each piece she included completely fit with the story and only served to enhance it. I've come across other Authors who've tried this and failed (in my eyes). The trick is to make sure the content isn't superfluous and that it doesn't overwhelm (or underwhelm) the reader. Pessl struck a nice balance with this, and even more so with the EXTRA content that could be accessed through an App on your phone or media device. You download the App and use it to scan the image of a bird that shows up on certain pages. The extra content ranged from video, audio, pictures and even music. One of my favorites was the piano piece that Cordova's daughter plays, the song fit into the story so well that I had it playing while i read the chapter. I would recommend anyone reading this book to download that App and explore the content as you read the book.

Overall the book had many great surprises and a very solid and thrilling plot line. Although a bit long, nothing that can't be plowed through and still was worth the time reading it.  The media content elevated the book to 4 stars and it would be hard to find another book out there that has successfully done this. I can only hope that with the success of Night Film, we might see more Authors attempting to do the same.

Happy Reading,
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