Night Film by Marisha Pessl
(Random House, 2013, 624 pages)
Scott McGrath is a journalist who’s reputation was scorned by the underground horror director Stanislas Cordova in a setup that McGrath can’t prove. Years later, McGrath has the opportunity to prove Cordova is truly a monster when Cordova’s daughter, Ashley, is killed by an apparent suicide. McGrath unwillingly acquires two accomplices to help with his investigation; Hopper, an attractive drug dealer who claims to have gone to camp with Ashley when they were younger, and Nora, a struggling actress new to New York and in need of some excitement and money. Together they embark to find out what happened to Ashley and the mystery of the Cordova family.
Let me first say that I’m not a fan of anything extremely creepy or scary movies or books. But this was fantastically creepy. It was so dark and twisty and you could see’ McGrath getting so drawn into the mystery that he started losing his mind. But that was ok because Pessl leaves the reader right on the balance between knowing McGrath is losing it and wanting to be drawn into the mystery with him. I would definitely recommend reading this in print instead of an e-book though. Pessl adds screen shots of McGrath’s research and pictures of various documents that he comes across which really added to the reader being a part of the investigation. But I read on some reviews the pictures don’t turn out very well on e-readers and they’re something you don’t want to miss out on.
Also I might hint to the end with this last part so stop reading if you’re considering reading this (and I would recommend it), but I read some other reviews online about the end and I have to disagree with them. Some reviews stated that this was too big of a read for what information the reader received in the end. But that wasn’t the point. McGrath was the one who pushed himself to the edge and then went even further, which was Cordova’s view of his movies and of life. McGrath succeeds in that challenge so he gets to know the end. As readers, we didn’t have to push ourselves like McGrath so we don’t get rewarded with the end of the story. Also there is apparently some interactive portion throughout the book that connects with an app on your phone. I have a sneaky suspicion that reveals more about Ashley’s mystery but I wasn’t able to try it as the book wasn’t mine and I had to return it. So the end remains a mystery to me.