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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 (1494 )
5 star
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4.2 (1330 )
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Galadriel 02-19-14
    Galadriel 02-19-14 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    232
    ratings
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    88
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    Story
    "Mesmerizing"
    What did you love best about Night Film?

    The characters are beautifully drawn, as is the world they live in. The history behind the puzzles they need to solve is created so believably that I found myself referring to Wikipedia for collaboration on certain points.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I fell in love with the characters and was completely mesmerized by the layers of mystery unfolding before them, faced as they were with the prospect of living in a Cordova film where reality is uncertain and endings do not wrap up neatly.


    Have you listened to any of Jake Weber’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    When I started listening I had the sense that I was hearing the voice of an old friend. Then I realized that this was the voice of the wonderful actor who played Joe DuBois on Medium. I LOVE his understated, yet fully dramatic reading of this book and couldn't resist picturing him in the role of the central character. So happy that he's become a reader - will look for other titles he's read.


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

    Scott. Intelligent, flawed, moral, indomitable, ultimately heroic.


    Any additional comments?

    I loved the book overall. The provided PDF files are wonderful, and reinforced my vision of the world the author created. I was so swept away, and so wanted a neat, traditional ending, but should have realized that this was not a world where neat endings happen, not in this particular dark film world that we explore through the eyes of Scott M..

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nate Hagerstown, MD, United States 10-01-13
    Nate Hagerstown, MD, United States 10-01-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    Story
    "Wonderfully crafted"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of suspense films or novels. The author crafts a story that immerses the reader into a universe that is so vivid that you can literally see the entire story as it's being narrated.


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

    Night Film is very original and you would be hard to find a similar story. While it falls into a modern noir category the writing and incorporation of the digital material makes it very unique.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Jake Weber?

    While Weber comes off as monotonous initially you eventually accept it and even embrace it. His performance as the other characters is acceptable but not great. I would listen to another book narrated by Weber.


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

    The entire story is gripping and you will find yourself scrutinizing the details.


    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sally SAINT LOUIS, MO, United States 09-08-13
    Sally SAINT LOUIS, MO, United States 09-08-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    4
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    "Good premise - Way too long - Awful ending"

    I thought the premise of the story was interesting and i liked the creepy tone. I was hooked for a while, but it went on way too long. Some of the sequences were tangents that didn't move the story forward. Also, she repeated some stories more than once. I think the author needed a better editor. The ending was disappointing and seemed lazy - like the author couldn't be bothered to resolve things, so she just ended the book. That cost the book a star or two for me. I thought the narrator was really good.

    10 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bob North Lauderdale, FL, United States 08-28-13
    Bob North Lauderdale, FL, United States 08-28-13
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    "A basic, creepy novel"

    I enjoyed this book but doubt that I would buy it again. It did have a lot of twists and turns that all came together at the end. I didn't have a problem finding stopping points to temporarily put it down. The narrator did a decent job. If you like a good mystery that is a cross of creepy, mystical, police search and dysfunctional families, this book id for you,and worth a credit.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Bartonville, TX 08-25-13
    Susan Bartonville, TX 08-25-13 Member Since 2012

    Myst/thrillers and ✨fun fantasies✨are my favorites but always open for a good story.  

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Unforgettable Rabbit Hole Mystery"

    Wow, what a ride. If I did not have to sleep I would have listened to this extraordinary mystery/thriller, (with a movie literature relation), without interruption.

    Scott McGrath a disgraced journalist that can't help himself, reopens his investigation into the story that destroyed his career/ life years before. Scott must get to the bottom of an anonymous phone call that started the original investigation of Cordova, a snuff film producer, director. The caller insinuated that Cordova, a recluse, may be actually hurting children or worse for his films. Eight years, and two hundred and fifty thousand dollars retribution later the suicide of Cordova's daughter draws Scott back onto an almost deliberate path that leads him staight to a dark rabbit hole that he had luckily avoided the first time. Scott is pulled into a sinister mystery behind fame, excess, obsession, cult, private sex clubs, murder, witchcraft, black voodoo magic, etc..... Quoting the Cheshire Cat, "we're all mad here".

    During his investigation he comes across two very unlikely characters that insist on taking the path with him: a drug and alcohol addicted charmer and a homeless young wannabe actress. As the story unfolds the circumstances leading up to the young girls suicide start to help them understand the whole big, inconceivable picture.

    The narrator did an excellent job, I felt connected with the characters and did not get tired of his voice at all during the twenty three hour listen. This book is a great twisted thriller that has ups and downs galore. Just when you think..........? Don't.. Highly recommend.

    9 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bonny 08-28-13
    Bonny 08-28-13

    Addicted to books, both print and audio-.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Abandoning ship!"

    If you're planning to buy this book regardless of reviews, don't read this; I don't want to prejudice your listening experience. You may do just fine.

    I was looking forward to this book so much; I loved Special Topics and really enjoyed Marisha Pessl's writing style. I've stopped halfway through this book, however, and can't go further (though I would like to know the ending). The story is good. The writing, however, is not. Because this is a detective noir novel, perhaps the author wrote this way on purpose, but the writing to me is hackneyed and cliched, with clunky dialogue. The characters take far too long to realize what is obvious to the reader, and when they do, Pessl tends to pound the nail in a few extra times in case we didn't get it. Many aspects of the investigation defy belief, and I'm not talking about the black magic elements. The action seems to arise from the author's need to get certain information across rather than from the nature of the characters; I had trouble believing in the characters and their reactions. The writing is clumsy. Does anyone edit anymore?

    The narrator is a reasonable choice for a noir novel; he sounds the part, certainly. He has an irritating tendency. To break sentences into fragments. Rather than allowing them to flow. Which obstructs their meaning. And one has to think about what was just said. Then put it all together. I'm not sure anyone could have done a good job with this dialogue; it's just mediocre, but I felt the narrator overemphasized emotional moments; this coupled with the author's overemphasis made me feel like someone was pounding the novel into my head with a 2 x 4.

    18 of 25 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Conley Juban 12-24-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Way too long"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    This book is way too long. Its one thing to give background information or build the characters, but having to learn the plot and characters of every movie made by Cardova, even hours into the book, is too much. The plot needs to move, not merely continue to go over details of the producer's movies. I gave up after about 100 chapters.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cyndi Harmony, FL 12-17-14
    Cyndi Harmony, FL 12-17-14

    I love reading

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "interesting read"

    struggled to finish seems to go on forever. however i was interested to find that one on the characters was from st cloud Florida and went to harmony high school.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sageparade 11-24-14
    Sageparade 11-24-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    "Bloatware in book form"
    Would you try another book from Marisha Pessl and/or Jake Weber?

    While the story was not bad, the novel just went on and on like there was a need to fill pages or sound files. But you'd have to listen through the noise to get to the rest of the story.

    I am tempted to ask for a refund, the experience was that irritating.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Marisha Pessl again?

    No.


    What does Jake Weber bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The narrator was ok.


    Was Night Film worth the listening time?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    Was there no editor?

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sires Chesapeake, OH, United States 11-23-14
    Sires Chesapeake, OH, United States 11-23-14 Member Since 2012

    I like mysteries (particularly British ones, historical fiction and nonfiction, science fiction and fantasy.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Somewhat Confused But Ultimately Engrossing Horror"

    Scott McGarth, a journalist on the downside of his career, becomes obsessed with the death of the daughter of a cult film maker, Stanislas Cordova - a man who hasn't been seen in public for more than thirty years.

    This is a book with wheels within wheels. Information frequently is proven to be unreliable. Characters are not what they seem. McGarth's own life spins out of control. I really had a hard time putting the book down.

    It probably could have been tightened up, it's a bit long and saggy in the final quarter, but I think it is still worth the read. I think the narrator added to the experience.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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