Night Film by Marisha Pessl
Paperback, 640 pages
Published July 1st, 2014 by Random House (first published July 16th, 2013)
In 2015, I heard this book mentioned so many times. It seemed like all the booktubers who had this book all decided to read it and talk about it at the same time. And then other people went out and bought it and read it and talked about it. Around Halloween, countless people were adding this to their spooky TBRs.
This book had been on my radar for a while, but after hearing everyone rave about it this past year, I decided it was time to get down to it and finally give it a read.
It helped, of course, that my lovely TBTB Secret Santa sent it to me (thanks again Lauren!)! I surprised myself by reading it right away after I got it. And boy am I glad I did!
Night Film is the story of a disgraced reporter named Scott McGrath and his quest for redemption. He wants to clear his name and prove that he was right all along. If there is a bit of vengeance thrown in there, he’s okay with that too.
McGrath is obsessed with an enigmatic and ubiquitous horror film director, Stanislas Cordova, whose life is completely shrouded in mystery. Cordova has made no appearances in over thirty years. No one really knows what he looks like. No one knows much of anything about him. But they know his films. McGrath thinks there’s something shady going on there, and he wants to know what it is. This had previously led him down the path of self-destruction. But now he has some new leads.
Recently, Cordova’s daughter Ashley was found dead. McGrath takes it upon himself to investigate the circumstances of her death, and in so doing gets drawn back into Cordova’s web.
McGrath also finds himself in some unexpected company on his quest. He teams up with two strange youngsters who have an agenda of their own. Together they form a ragtag crew of misfits, each with their own secrets and motives.
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 until you turn the final page.
My goodness. This book is one serious trip. Whenever I wasn’t reading this book, I was thinking about it and longing to get back to it. The way Pessl writes it and lays it out, Night Film is a completely immersive experience. You really feel like you’re living it all with the characters and uncovering secrets with them.
Pessl does such an incredible job constructing the backstory for Cordova. You honestly start to believe that he is real. He must be. This history Pessl has created for him must be true. Because it feels so true. And completely crazy. I loved the way you sometimes couldn’t tell what was real and what wasn’t. Like I said: a total trip.
One of the best parts about this book is its multimedia aspect. Throughout the book there are photos, newspaper clippings, medical records, webpages, you name it. It really makes Cordova’s history, and McGrath’s investigation, come to life. And not only do you have all that, but there is also an app that has even more goodies! Like sound clips and extra records and things. It’s so amazing, guys. It draws you in even further to Cordova’s world.
I don’t want to tell you much more about this story because I think it’s much better if you just dive right in.
But seriously. READ THIS BOOK. That is, if you like insanely carefully, beautifully, wonderfully crafted thrillers. That totally mess with your head.
Have you read this book? What did you think? Are you planning to pick it up?
Looking for more thrillers? Check out my archives!
Beth is the founder and editor of Fuelled by Fiction. She is a twenty-something east coast Canadian girl who loves writing about books and feminism.