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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 (1122 )
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  •  
    Cidney New Orleans, United States Minor Outlying Islands 09-23-13
    Cidney New Orleans, United States Minor Outlying Islands 09-23-13 Member Since 2006

    Reader. Wannabe writer. That's a picture of me standing in line to see Stephen King!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "It’s a Chinese Puzzle Box"

    I’m reading the negative reviews wondering how anyone could not have enjoyed this book, and I see a theme here. It seems that those who didn’t like the book were looking for a straightforward, linear genre novel. That’s not what this is, so if that’s what you’re looking for, you should do as one reviewer suggested and go for the latest Lee Child or Robert Crais.

    Night Film is a psychological drama with “mystery” and “thriller” elements. There is a mystery and there are thrills (I found myself gasping out loud at some of the events), but from start to end this story is no simple mystery. It is as intricate and fine as a well-crafted puzzle box. And consider that of the two contrasting characters one is a reporter who’s job is to find the truth, the other is a film director who’s job is to create fiction, and you can imagine the labyrinthine rabbit hole the director leads the reporter down. It’s dark and deceptive. Our rational hero must question everything he sees and experiences – was that real or was that the Primrose Path he’s expected to follow? And even the object he seeks, The Truth, must also be questioned.

    One reviewer said that at the end of the book she wanted to start it all over again armed with a new perspective. I felt the same way! And I imagine that like a good puzzle box this story doesn’t have one way in but many, and those entry points can only be found after subsequent readings.

    I love these long, chewy novels you can really sink your teeth into. Let Jake Weber’s narration wrap around you like a warm blanket and snuggle in for an amazing ride.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharon United States 09-22-13
    Sharon United States 09-22-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A chilling and creepy tale!"

    This story takes you on a wild ride through the investigation of the young woman's death. The author did such an amazing job, the characters felt so real. It read like a true crime book, not a work of fiction.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jay Minneapolis, MN, United States 09-22-13
    Jay Minneapolis, MN, United States 09-22-13 Member Since 2004
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    "An Amazing and Disturbing Mystery"

    Let me start by saying that I'm a Marisha Pessl fan but I understand why some people might not be. She has written what I think are two stunning books but they are books that require the reader to wander through complex plots among characters with lives that are out of whack, away from the norm, until we reach the end of the book when we have to decide what just happened. All questions are not answered at the end of her books and I can see how that could bother some people. In Night Films Pessl creates a disturbing mystery involving a legendary but unseen horror movie maker, a diverse set of people connected to those movies, and an odd group of investigators who are thrown together to solve the mystery. Jake Weber's reading brings all the tension, anger and uncertainty of the plot through to the listeners.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen PEORIA, AZ, United States 09-21-13
    Karen PEORIA, AZ, United States 09-21-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Overwritten and exhausting"
    Any additional comments?

    I liked this sound of this story, and was able to bear through the first half. But I found it melodramatic, overwritten, conscious, and a bit immature. It was a bit of an eye-roller for me. When I realized there was a part three, I gave up on it-- 18 hours of writing reminiscent of a melodramatic teenager was enough, and I wasn't even curious enough to find out how it ends. Oh well.

    Narration was fine, though I found it a bit breathy and (third time's a charm!): melodramatic.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tommy NEWPORT NEWS, VA, United States 09-20-13
    Tommy NEWPORT NEWS, VA, United States 09-20-13 Member Since 2012

    I want to feel good when I complete a story & am a little harsh on depressing ones. There are a few sad ones that I love but not many.

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    "I loved it"

    I found the story, characters and narrator all fascinating. I didn't know what to expect when I bought it but I was immediately wrapped 100% into the story.
    I thought it was so good that I have already purchased another Pessl story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cindy Collins, MS, United States 09-16-13
    Cindy Collins, MS, United States 09-16-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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

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    "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 2009
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    "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 2005

    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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    "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!

    2 of 4 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
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    "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
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