Release Date: August 20th, 2013
Source: I received an e-arc from the publisher via NetGalley.
Description from Goodreads: 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? In this novel, the dazzlingly inventive writer Marisha Pessl offers a breathtaking mystery that will hold you in suspense until the last page is turned.
It's rare when a book is so special that you wish you could read it all over again for the first time and you are not even halfway through it yet. But that's Night Film. It's a book that I firmly believe will be talked about for years. It will have people saying this is their favorite book of all time. It will be criticized because someone always has to criticize a brilliant book just to be different. All the great books have naysayers. I realize I am kind of sticking this book up there on a pedestal right now, but I firmly believe it deserves to be there among the greats. It is THAT good.
This is a difficult review though because I don't want to give anything away. There is not much I can say without revealing spoilers, and it is essential for the reader to go into this with a blank canvas and a whole lot of excitement. Everyone needs to experience this for themselves. It's that kind of book, and I would hate myself if I ruined or influenced someone else's reading experience, so I am going to keep this as short as possible.
Night Film uses a mixed media approach that works well. There are news articles and web pages and that sort of thing interspersed with exceptional writing and character development. I really think this adds to the macabre tone of the book and ups the creep factor, because really, this is one scary book. There are scenes that made me viscerally shiver because of their imagery and atmosphere. The opening scene is terrifying. Many others follow, and there are scenes in this book that will stick with me for a very long time.
That brings me to where this book excels. It excels everywhere, obviously, but I think the atmosphere and detail are what made this book unlike any other. I've read plenty of thrillers. I've even read books with a noir feel, which is what Night Film is, but I don't think I've read any mysteries with this amount of detail and foreshadowing and scenes that connect to each other and leave the reader completely confused and overwhelmed and unable to figure a damn thing out. And writing in run on sentences apparently. I loved it. Memorable settings loaded with imagery. I don't think I've ever read a New York City and surrounding countryside like this one.
It's at this time where I leave you to discover the rest for yourself. Stay up late reading this...or don't if you scare easily. I would not want you to have nightmares. Muahaha. Just like Cordova, this book is an enigmatic mystery just waiting for you to unravel what is on its pages. This one will stick with the reader for a very long time, possibly forever. Best book I have read so far this year, possibly in a few years. Highly recommended. I would get your pre-orders in now.