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Night Film: A Novel | [Marisha Pessl]

Night Film: A Novel

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.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, August 2013 - I don’t often find myself interested in literary psychological thrillers, but the early buzz on Night Film – a dark novel by Marisha Pressl (of Special Topics in Calamity Physics fame) – was enough to pique my interest. It’s been a long time since I’ve read something that’s legitimately creeped me out, and this novel opens with a ghost story that set the tone. I’ve only just started reading the book, and it already feels like something bad is lurking on the every page. Scott McGrath is a shamed journalist who takes a new interest in an old case when his former subject’s daughter turns up dead at the bottom of an abandoned building’s elevator shaft. The book hinges on Scott’s investigation into the victim’s family, particularly her reclusive filmmaking father, who put Scott out of business in the first place. It’s an absolutely chilling page-turner and will be even more frightening in audio. —Chris, Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

Brilliant, haunting, breathtakingly suspenseful, Night Film is a superb literary thriller by the New York Times best-selling 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 30 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 to the final minute.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©2013 Marisha Pessl (P)2013 Random House Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (1421 )
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4.2 (1269 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Cindy Collins, MS, United States 09-16-13
    Cindy Collins, MS, United States 09-16-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
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    16
    9
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    Performance
    Story
    "Start with a bang, but ended badly."
    Would you try another book from Marisha Pessl and/or Jake Weber?

    Probably. Everyone deserves a second chance. Jake Weber was great. He did a very good job of distinguishing each character.


    Has Night Film turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No


    Which character – as performed by Jake Weber – was your favorite?

    Hopper


    What character would you cut from Night Film?

    None. They were all good.


    Any additional comments?

    I really enjoyed the book and the characters, but the story went nowhere.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Whicker Indiana, USA 09-15-13
    D. Whicker Indiana, USA 09-15-13

    Anderson Actor

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent Witty Suspense"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, I would recommend this book. The book is an intelligent witty thriller. Why did Ashley Cordova commit suicide? What secrets does her family hold? What is the truth behind her father's notorious films? With humor and horror, Marisha Pessi lets her tale unfold. The books main characters, an unlikely trio allied to find the truth of Ashley's suicide, traverse a dark landscape littered with witchcraft, dangerous films, curses, cancers, and secrets.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Nora, the coat check girl and would be actress, gives the story its heart.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    My favorite scene is when our chief detective and investigative reporter makes a journey through Cordova's films via the warehouse and green house on the palatial estate of the filmmaker. It's a nightmare journey. Did it really happen? Draw your own conclusions.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Hopper's revelations about a drowning at a camp for troubled youth.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christina Bellaire, TX, United States 09-14-13
    Christina Bellaire, TX, United States 09-14-13 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    9
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good Mystery"

    This was a very good thriller/mystery. The characters were interesting and there was a lot of eerie atmosphere and intriguing characters. i especially liked the plot twists at the end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Philip Thousand Oaks, CA, United States 09-09-13
    Philip Thousand Oaks, CA, United States 09-09-13 Member Since 2015

    I'm a singer, songwriter, musician, producer and music educator. I've spent the majority of my life wearing headphones . . .

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    60
    20
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    Story
    "Long, Tedious and Not Very Interesting"

    Hallelujah!!! Jake Weber's narration has cured my insomnia. It might not have been all that bad had this tale not become less interesting as it went on . . . and, trust me, it went on and on and on . . .

    I've seen stories survive bad narrators before but, unfortunately, Night Film isn't one of those!

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julia Arlington, VA, United States 09-08-13
    Julia Arlington, VA, United States 09-08-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    4
    3
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    Story
    "Interesting Story, Awk Writing, Horrible Narration"
    What did you like best about Night Film? What did you like least?

    I like spooky stories, the multimedia attempt, the various references. That said, this book felt, as did the author's previous work, like a bit of a "tryhard" attempt at newness, rawness, "hipness." I don't like feeling the author working away at her cleverness- I want to forget her while I'm involved in the story, and stand back and marvel afterwards.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I suppose the mystery kept me interested- I wanted to see where she was going with all of this- whether it would be a realistic narrative or would veer into the supernatural.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Jake Weber?

    I don't know, but I do know this- Weber has a great, deep voice that worked for the main character, but when he tried to do women or just about anyone else, he veered into some awful territory. It seems his idea of "other man" is "very slow-speaking southerner" and his idea of "woman" is "weirdly breathy slow speaker." Seriously. The SLOWNESS. At first I thought the characters were supposed to be disabled in some way. And why so many Southern accents in New York?


    Did Night Film inspire you to do anything?

    I did a lot of walking while listening to it, so that was pretty great, fitness-wise.


    Any additional comments?

    I would love to know if others felt like I did about Weber's performance. It drove me nuts.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah 09-05-13
    Sarah 09-05-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    41
    11
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    "Kept me entertained but did not wrap up neatly"

    This book was very interesting but also very disturbing. The whole story drew me in and I was never quite sure what was about to happen... then I realized that probably the author doesn't know what was going to happen... then it got back on track... kind of. If you want a book that gives you a definitive ending with all the answers, this is not the book for you. This book is scary in the way that makes you question the human mind and wonder how people can think this stuff up. The concept of the story is really really good but
    I think a lot of fluff was added to try to make you scared, if you are uncomfortable with any black magic themes I would not listen to this book. I feel like it got lost a little bit toward then end when the author realized that there was no good way to end the mystery without it becoming lame. Instead he opts to just confuse you more and hope that the mystery keeps you intrigued. It kept me intrigued but I didn't think too hard about it and just enjoyed the story without questioning the things that didn't wrap up neatly.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mr. Hong Kong, Hong Kong 09-04-13
    Mr. Hong Kong, Hong Kong 09-04-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    Story
    "Very worthwhile, echoes of The Magus"
    What made the experience of listening to Night Film the most enjoyable?

    Excellent and twisting story, good narration


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    Yes. I like the echoes from the Magus ... is there a conspiracy, what and who can you trust, and what does that mean about life ...


    What about Jake Weber’s performance did you like?

    Well down for both male and female voices, though shaky sometimes on accents


    If you could rename Night Film, what would you call it?

    The Collective


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    wobbly WNC USA 09-02-13
    wobbly WNC USA 09-02-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    20
    ratings
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    27
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    "Creepy story overwhelmed by details"

    Very creepy story that kept me interested during the first 2/3 of the book. Like others have suggested, I think the story could have been much better with editing. Loved her first book, but this one was a disappointment. Maybe less research that needs to be shared next time?

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Evelyn United States 09-02-13
    Evelyn United States 09-02-13 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wow"
    Where does Night Film rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Top 10


    What other book might you compare Night Film to and why?

    Girl Gone because it keeps you guessing.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    To many to have just one.


    Who was the most memorable character of Night Film and why?

    Scott...It's his view


    Any additional comments?

    Great story!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    loix Pittsburgh, PA, United States 09-01-13
    loix Pittsburgh, PA, United States 09-01-13 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    330
    ratings
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    100
    38
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    11
    1
    Overall
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    Story
    "Literary, this ain't. Psycho, yes. Thriller, no."

    If the measure of literary fiction is abusing participial clauses and opting for the word "indicate" when "point (out)" would do just as well--both marks of stilted prose--then this would be literary fiction. The story also suffered from a very flimsy plot entirely grounded on a stalker of a protagonist (definitely not a hero) so paranoid and egocentric that he sees connections where they are none and who is ready to go to any length for the sake of a story that he has largely made up in his deranged mind (so it does delve deep into the psyche of the protagonist and as such qualifies as psychological fiction, I suppose). The title also needs far better character development to qualify as good fiction, literary or otherwise. Coyote's impressive vocabulary was completely at odds with her background and thick accent.
    The only redeeming factor of this title was the narrator (who was so perfect as Mr. DuBois!). Had it not been for Mr. Weber's soothing voice, I could have never finished this overhyped mess of a story.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
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