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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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Waste of Time

I found this overblown and frustrating. The end went on and on in a way that felt like a lot of filler for a long time, then purposefully obscure. Was there a point? Clever paradigm shifting...ok, but to what end? Did it reveal anything about anyone, advance the characters' situations? The author muddled up the supernatural and the natural, successfully did a number on the reader, and then...hid. I found this book hard to get into at first; the set up unlikely and stretching credulity; by the middle I was interested and involved, but the last 20% was a waste of time and made me regret the hours I spent on it.
When I read a good book I feel changed, elevated, intrigued or challenged in some way. After this one, I felt duped.

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sooooo worth it!

The narrator is exceptional. I loved how the author took us through logical to magical and back. Great anxiety points, excellent character development, really nice storytelling. Will be finding more from this author and definitely from this narrator.

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Never in my wildest imagination

I'm not really a horror show kinda gal, but I found myself being drawn into this fiction so much so that I had t research the book to make sure it was, indeed, fiction! The added technological "goodies" presented in the download AND the app for the interactive portion of the experience were certainly intriguing. I'm loving this roach to literature and would truly find it a bonus if tried in another genre.

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It was something different for me

I don't usually listen to this genre of story. But I am trying to broaden my horizons. It started off a little slow and picked up steam. I get interrupted a lot while listening to books. I enjoyed it and it had me completely immersed in the story and the narrator was superb Overall a great listen

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Poor effort

What disappointed you about Night Film?

Rambling. Too long. Needs heavy editing.

What was most disappointing about Marisha Pessl’s story?

Disjointed. Uneven pacing. Not able to keep suspence going.

Which scene was your favorite?

NA

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

No

Any additional comments?

It's going back

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Flawed, but compelling

Would you listen to Night Film again? Why?

Probably not. It was a good listen the first time, but a lot of that was due to the twists and turns.

Would you recommend Night Film to your friends? Why or why not?

Yes — but I more so recommend actually reading the book if it's an option. The audiobook is missing how truly immersive the text is with the graphic elements.

Any additional comments?

It's a good listening experience, but it requires a suspension of disbelief. The main character never hits a roadblock in his investigation. One thing leads neatly to the next. There is one particular disorienting chunk that seems to drag on for ages in the worst possible way, and the book never really picked up for me after that. But as a whole, it's worth a credit.

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  • Marissa
  • Scranton, PA, United States
  • 02-10-15

Loved every minute!

Usually an audiobook of this length would take me about a month to listen to, but I listened to this in 3 days. I carried my iPod with me everywhere so I could listen at any given chance. I even went out and bought the physical book.

I got this book because I was craving a mystery similar to the Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith. This was perfect. If you enjoyed those books, I would suggest this.

Jake Weber was a superb narrator. His performance was so good I could easily get lost in the story.

I would read any book by Marisha Pessl and listen to any book narrated by Jake Weber.

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  • Helen
  • Great Cacapon, WV, United States
  • 02-08-15

Good characters with one plot twist too many.

I liked the characters. Each was motivated by different events to investigate the death of the mysterious and talented Ashleigh Cordova. McGrath wanted to expose the movie director father of heinous acts, some involving children...Hopper was still hurting from the end of his love affair with Ashleigh...and aspiring actress Nora was just happy to be part of the team. But then the plot wove in and out of black magic, human trafficking, crazy townspeople, old movie plots, cults, etc. Each twist introduced new characters most of whom had no connection with each other. Then there was McGrath's bad trip (meaning this in two ways!!) to the Cordova estate. What was that all about!? And just when I thought everything was being resolved, there was yet another plot twist that took us to an island off of South America. WHAT?
The reader was pretty good, although I thought his voice for the assistant Inez was almost comically bad.

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Fun Book

Seems this book gets a lot of bad reviews by readers based on the apparent over-hyped release of the book and its author in general. I would ignore that and take the book for what it is, a fun, dark-thriller that has a lot of horror-like notes to it. Some consider it too long but I thought the plot had enough depth and complexity to warrant the length. This book was intriguing from beginning to end, I thought, and great entertainment. If you enjoy a slow-burn, spooky tale, (and have some time) I think you would enjoy it.
If you want to look at negatives, I will say the main character is sometimes an a-hole and often quite annoying, spiting out intended-to-be-funny-but-not, smart-ass quips. Also he seems to have a sneering tone toward other minor characters who happen to annoy him, usually for the way they look or way they live their lives. The narration is okay, I have heard so many amazing talents doing audio books. But this one is mediocre.

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Good Beginning

NIGHT FILM begins fast paced and intriguing. It stays that way but about halfway through I noticed that the action was decreasing as the protagonists thoughts and philosophy were focused on more. Two thirds of the way through the book I began fast forwarding and didn't miss a thing except more of the protagonist's dramatic monologue.
By the time I reached the end of the book I kept waiting for a twist for something to lift up the story and create a compelling climax and satisfying end. It was painful right up to the last minute because that never happens.
Pessel is a promising writer. Once she figures out how not to get lost in her own story she'll produce a robust story from beginning to end.