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Editorial 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.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2013 Marisha Pessl (P)2013 Random House Audio

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Intense, Absorbing and Occasionally Creepy

Night Film exceeded all of my expectations. I had heard a bunch of hype about this book and that alone has generally been cause for a big inevitable let down when the book that has been defined as the next "Gone Girl" or "Harry Potter" only garners a big "Meh" once I finish the book and move on to the next.

Night Film, however, held my attention throughout. From the first creepy appearance of Ashley Cordova I was hooked. Tensions steadily build from page one until you start to get the feeling that something horrible could happen at any moment.

Night Film is one of those books that I really didn't want to come to an end.

Excellent narration, great story, intriguing ending.. well worth your audiobook credit!

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Kathy
  • Davis, CA, United States
  • 12-12-14

A REALLY Fun Experience!!

I had no idea if I would like this audiobook--but the description, the idea of an accompanying pdf file, and the reviews made it difficult to resist. I found it truly a fun and engrossing listen, unlike anything I have come across before.

Firstly, the pdf. It added a great deal to my enjoyment of the book but it is by no means a necessary component. This file is used mainly in the beginning of the story and basically, the narrator reads the documents as part of the book. While they are fun to follow along with, they are not necessary. So if you listen only on the go, don't worry about not being able to follow along. But when you have more time, do look at the realistic accompanying documents. Pure fun!

I found this book extremely well written. Pessl has a gift for intriguing descriptions and this makes the book an easy candidate for a second listen. However, the story was what really grabbed me. I would think about it before falling asleep and before I got out of bed in the morning. The characters were well-developed and believable in their motivations and behaviors and were all interesting and mostly likeable. While this audiobook could be described as very dark, it was not TOO dark, I am thankful to report. While at times it seemed to veer off into a fantasy-like state, it always came back to believable reality which I appreciated. Reading this book was more like an "experience" for me, almost like a trip in the dark. I really loved it and would recommend it to mystery fans who enjoy the unusual.

As for the narrator, I loved him immediately. There is something unique about his voice and he put in a great performance. He is ideal for this type of strange, quirky book. I was so surprised to realize I knew him from the television show, Medium, which I watched years back. At that time, I was not so fond of the character he portrayed. I think, however, he was in his element with Night Film. He definitely added to the listening enjoyment for me.

So there it is! Will you or won't you?

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Marjorie
  • Santa Rosa, CA, United States
  • 05-27-15

How Much Time Do You Have????

Would I recommend this book? Hmmm...... How much time do you have to listen and how much does the ending matter to you? This book is over twenty hours long. The narration is perfectly done, no complaint there. The story drew me in and kept me fascinated and intrigued for about the first three-quarters of the many hours of listening. I enjoyed the mix of characters during that first three-quarters especially the three investigators; who were a quirky mix including two young adults; each of whom had an interest in helping Scott McGrath (the protagonist and investigative journalist) solve the mystery at-hand. The problem with this novel is that it is too long and during the last fourth of the novel, I just lost interest. The book is probably worth listening to for the many hours of intrigue and adventure that it provides but, ultimately, I found it disappointing as it moved towards a long and painfully unsatisfying finish. If you like gothic fiction, this book reads like one but fails to deliver towards the end. In the end, I would recommend listening to this novel for about the first fifteen hours..... but, after that, your imagination could probably do a better job.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Sires
  • Chesapeake, OH, United States
  • 11-23-14

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • jennifer
  • BROOKLYN, NY, United States
  • 06-30-14

SHOCKING

Not really, but it wants to be.

I shouldn't ridicule, because I really enjoyed this book quite a bit. But I was able to forgive the author her melodramatic writing. I don't know if you will be.

Also, this is a book which requires the reading of multiple PDFs. Fake newspaper articles and such. I was annoyed by this factor and it almost turned me off, but I persevered and found myself sucked in quickly.

Crazy ending may infuriate you, or you may love it. I don't like to give away things.

Warning: narrator is annoying, and so are the characters. Somehow I enjoyed it anyway.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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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

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I didn't want this one to end!

This is one of those audio books that I hated to put down. In fact, when I was traveling and didn't have my iPod, I downloaded the e-book so I could read it on my laptop. It's that good. Haunting, beautiful, deadly. For days afterward I was still thinking about it.

I don't want to say too much because I don't want to give anything away. The characters are fascinating. If you like good, dark mysteries, you'll love this. And make sure you download the accompanying PDF - the pictures there add to the story. I LOVED this book!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Well worth 20+ hours

Where does Night Film rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I generally have a difficult time ranking books even one as original as Marisha Pessl's novel. All I can say is it's definitely well worth the 20+ hours of audio.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I don't want to spoil it for anyone, so I will just say that every character in this story helps bring the novel to life. After completing the final chapter, it's important to keep any favoritism to oneself...you can never be too sure you know the characters ;)

Which scene was your favorite?

The ending. Sorry, that's all you get.

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

Stanislas Cordova. This mysterious character is the center of everyone's attention. Although the main characters are attempting to discover the cause of Ashley Cordova's death, the fixation remains on Stanislas throughout the story. This is extremely important in expanding on the novel's theme....perception.

Any additional comments?

Night Film is definitely well worth the extended play. The story is original, engaging, and superbly performed by Jake Weber (for those who remember the Dawn of the Dead remake by Zack Snyder). My only gripe with the story was its overuse of metaphors. At times, I felt it got a little out of hand. But this is simply a matter of preference and opinion. Marisha Pessl is a gifted author who succeeded at writing one hell of a book. Enjoy!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Nate
  • Hagerstown, MD, United States
  • 10-01-13

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

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Eerie and gripping

I really enjoyed this book - it captured my attention from the first, was far out and spooky without being stupid, and while not fine literature, was a cut above the average thriller. I love long books but expect some slow points, but this really was paced well. I can really recommend this to fans of many genres.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful