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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 (1197 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Alice watsonville, CA, United States 10-03-13
    Alice watsonville, CA, United States 10-03-13 Member Since 2008

    Another Audible Addict

    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    33
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    "Chillingly Captivating"

    Each bit of beautifully written information, you get while listening to this book is one more jeweled puzzle piece that you think will fit to make what you think is the whole picture, but if you are like me, you'll find the piece doesn't fit no matter where you think it may belong. It goes somewhere else.
    I loved this book and wish I could paint, like Marisha writes. It's a real life mystery. The performance was right on and the story one of my favorites. I will definitely be looking up more titles from Ms. Pessl in the future.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Asenath Waite Boston 09-27-13
    Asenath Waite Boston 09-27-13 Member Since 2011

    Living is easy with eyes closed... and headphones on.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    "Sublime. Addicting. Gets under your skin."
    Where does Night Film rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Probably one of the best, if not the best. I absolutely LOVED it. Had to pace myself quite from the start, constantly fearing it's coming to its end soon.


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

    Yes, it is a creepy, and at times, a surreal mystery. It was built so well, I honestly couldn't stop thinking about it. Definitely mesmerizing. When not reading it, all I thought about was this audiobook. I was never into mystery books (weakness for horror and sci-fi) but I am definitely now.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    All of them were just amazing! What a ride - through the loneliest, dark and abandoned places and human psyche, that ironically can sometimes even be found in a lively busy city like Manhattan. The end felt a little like the author gave several options, or several endings, consecutively, instead of just choosing one - but that is my only complaint, if any. But otherwise, I was sooo involved in it, I kept thinking in my head, telling the characters "No! Don't do that! Don't go there! Are you crazy?". I love being scared but unfortunately, I don't scare easily. Really riveting. Images easily flew in my head. Funny thing is, now that I finished it, wherever I look I see someone, some object or some place that instantly floods my brain in how it would have fit in the Night Film world. I guess that's why they call it the Cordova withdrawal... Descriptions were amazing, and I felt deeply involved throughout the entire journey.


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

    Hopper. Although, all of them were stunning. Feels like real people I got to know. I've gone to miss them now...


    Any additional comments?

    Breathtaking, grabs you in and holds you tight, just right :) It has been a long, LONG time for me since I enjoyed a book this much. I had severe difficulties putting this one down, and trust me, I put many, many books/audiobooks down. It will distract you from your life, and I suggest not beginning it if you have something serious going on. I messed up on a few exams in graduate school because I couldn't care less if the world had just ended, i just had to listen to this book!! Consider yourself warned...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lee Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, United States 09-24-13
    Lee Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, United States 09-24-13 Member Since 2008

    Love scary stories and thrillers.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    28
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    "A MOST INCREDIBLE STORY AND THEN... the end"

    Pessi has written a fascinating mystery with many twists and turns. The characters are very rich and layered, so much so you can clearly see them in your mind's eye. As soon as you think you know where the story's going, BAM-it changes again. I love creepy mysteries, and this one definitely fits the bill. Film actor Jake Weber does a fabulous job as narrator, and could be even pictured as our protagonist.

    I raced my way to the end, so excited to see where this roller coaster of a ride would take me. With that said, I can't help but feel ripped off by the ending. After so many ups and downs, the ending seemed too easy and not well thought out. After listening for 23 hours and becoming so immersed in the world Pessi created, I needed an ending that fit the story. It just wasn't there.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    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
    254
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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 Member Since 2012
    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
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
    4
    ratings
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    "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.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
    10
    ratings
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    16
    9
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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

    ratings
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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
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