Book Title: Night Film
Author: Marisha Pessl
REVIEWED BY: DENNIS
Genres: Psychological Thriller, Mystery, Suspense
Pub Date: 07/16/13
On a damp October night, the body of young, beautiful Ashley Cordova is found in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. By all appearances her death is a suicide – but investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. Though much has been written about the dark and unsettling films of Ashley’s father, Stanislas Cordova, very little is known about the man himself. As McGrath pieces together the mystery of Ashley’s death, he is drawn deeper and deeper into the dark underbelly of New York City and the twisted world of Stanislas Cordova, and he begins to wonder – is he the next victim?
Who would have thought my first 5 star review of 2018 would be this throwback by Ms. Marisha Pessl?! Night Film is original, captivating, and so intelligently produced. It is one of the most astounding reads I’ve ever read in my life. The story starts off with the death and apparent suicide of young twenty-something Ashley Cordova, the daughter of infamous producer and director Stanislas Cordova. Stanislas Cordova is infamous in his own rite; creating a cult fanbase with a series of dark, twisted movies that were eventually blacklisted from ever seeing mainstream production. Scott McGrath, disgraced journalist who has battled Stanislas Cordova in the past has decided to see if he can do some research and see if there’s anything he can find out about the mysterious death of Ashley. With little background on the Cordova family to go on, Scott must venture in uncharted territory with unspeakable means of gaining access to this uber-wealthy and secretive family. With a spin of the supernatural, Scott begins to notice that there’s been an abundance of strange coincidences happening around him. While Scott is trying to find answers, is someone trying to find him?
Alright everyone, that’s all you get for my synopsis review of the story because I can’t divulge anymore without spoilers. For 2018, I decided to commit to reading books that have been unread and sitting on my shelf for an extended period of time. I didn’t know that Night Film would be the book I’ve been waiting for my entire life. Listen, I’m apprehensive over any book over 500 pages, but I figured I’d try it out and if I was bored, I’d just DNF it. Boy, I was sooooo wrong! Marisa Pessl has created a masterpiece that I don’t think I could ever forget. Not only does she tell the story with beautifully and tactfully crafted pieces of imagery that highlight the plot masterfully as you read, she paints a story that is so original that kept me guessing up until the very last page! How can that happen? Ms. Pessl, call me! We need to discuss this book more. As a New Yorker, I found Pessl’s research on various checkpoints in the story depicted perfectly. Without giving too much into the story, I’ll provide an example. There’s a store called Enchantments featured and this store is described 100% perfectly—I should know as I’m a customer there! Ms. Pessl did her research while crafting this story and it doesn’t go unnoticed to me.
Overall opinion: If you want to have a taste of horror, but you are also a crime-fiction junkie, then pick up this book! Night Film is not a beach read, it will take some dedicated time to get through as it is pretty dense, but it is so worth it. I felt as if I was latched into the story. I wanted to be there and help goddammit! If you’re a fan of The X-Files or The Twilight Zone then I highly recommend picking this up NOW.