September 2013 Indie Next List
“When Ashley Cordova, daughter of
cult filmmaker Stanislas Cordova, is found dead of apparent
suicide, disgraced journalist Scott McGrath feels there?s more
to her death than meets the eye. McGrath, who lost his career and
family while trying to expose Cordova, is driven by a desire for
revenge and rampant curiosity, and soon finds himself caught in
the twisted web of madness that is Cordova's world. Cordova, a
Kubrikian figure whose films revel in exposing the world's
darkest depths, and former child prodigy Ashley are haunting,
startling and unseen presences in this darkly atmospheric novel.
Between her compelling writing and her effective use of web
pages, documents and photos to add context, Pessl has created a
tense, gripping, and utterly original novel that kept me up all
— Flannery Fitch, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA
NEW YORK TIMESBESTSELLER
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
NPR Cosmopolitan Kirkus Reviews BookPage
A page-turning thriller for readers of Stephen King, Gillian Flynn, and Stieg Larsson, Night Film tells the haunting story of a journalist who becomes obsessed with the mysterious death of a troubled prodigy the daughter of an iconic, reclusive filmmaker.
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 thirty 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 until you turn the final page.
Praise for Night Film
Night Film has been precision-engineered to be read at high velocity, and its energy would be the envy of any summer blockbuster. Your average writer of thrillers should lust for Pessl's deft touch with character. Joe Hill, The New York Times Book Review
Mysterious and even a little head-spinning, an amazing act of imagination. Dean Baquet, The New York Times Book Review
Maniacally clever . . . Cordova is a monomaniacal genius who creeps into the darkest crevices of the human psyche. . . . As a study of a great mythmaker, Night Film is an absorbing act of myth-making itself. . . . Dastardly fun . . . The plot feels like an M. C. Escher nightmare about Edgar Allan Poe. . . . You ll miss your subway stop, let dinner burn and start sleeping with the lights on. The Washington Post
Haunting . . . a suspenseful, sprawling page-turner. USA Today
Entrancing and delightful . . . a] whipsmart humdinger of a thriller . . . It feels, above all things, new. The Boston Globe
Gripping . . . a masterful puzzle . . . Pessl builds up real suspense. Entertainment Weekly
A very deeply imagined book . . . sprints to an ending that's equal parts nagging and haunting: What lingers, beyond all the page-turning, is a density of possible clues that leaves you leafing backward, scanning fictional blog comments and newspaper clippings, positive there's some secret detail that will snap everything into focus. New York
Hypnotic . . . The real and the imaginary, life and art, are dizzyingly distorted not only in a Cordova night film . . . but in Pessl's own Night Film as well. Vanity Fair
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Marisha Pessl s bestselling debut novel, Special Topics in Calamity Physics, won the John Sargent Sr. First Novel Prize (now the Center for Fiction s Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize), and was selected as one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review. Pessl grew up in Asheville, North Carolina, and currently resides in New York City."
“Night Film has been precision-engineered to be read at high velocity, and its energy would be the envy of any summer blockbuster. Your average writer of thrillers should lust for Pessl’s deft touch with character.”—Joe Hill, The New York Times Book Review
“Mysterious and even a little head-spinning, an amazing act of imagination.”—Dean Baquet, The New York Times Book Review
“Maniacally clever . . . Cordova is a monomaniacal genius who creeps into the darkest crevices of the human psyche. . . . As a study of a great mythmaker, Night Film is an absorbing act of myth-making itself. . . . Dastardly fun . . . The plot feels like an M. C. Escher nightmare about Edgar Allan Poe. . . . You’ll miss your subway stop, let dinner burn and start sleeping with the lights on.”—The Washington Post
“Haunting . . . a suspenseful, sprawling page-turner.”—USA Today
“Entrancing and delightful . . . [a] whipsmart humdinger of a thriller . . . It feels, above all things, new.”—The Boston Globe
“Gripping . . . a masterful puzzle . . . Pessl builds up real suspense.”—Entertainment Weekly
“A very deeply imagined book . . . sprints to an ending that’s equal parts nagging and haunting: What lingers, beyond all the page-turning, is a density of possible clues that leaves you leafing backward, scanning fictional blog comments and newspaper clippings, positive there’s some secret detail that will snap everything into focus.”—New York
“Hypnotic . . . The real and the imaginary, life and art, are dizzyingly distorted not only in a Cordova night film . . . but in Pessl’s own Night Film as well.”—Vanity Fair
“A literary mystery that’s also a page-turner . . . Night Film might be the most talked-about novel this summer.”—Time Out New York
“Noirish, impish and stylish, this literary thriller delivers twists, kinks and characters to care about. . . . Night Film gets two thumbs up.”—More
“You won’t put this book down.”—Marie Claire
“A shrewdly contemporary whodunit.”—W Magazine
“The sort of a top-shelf whodunit that thriller buffs dream of. Seriously, people, this is the Game of Thrones of murder mysteries.”—Out
“Night Film is an engrossing yarn, full of twists and cliffhangers. . . . Pessl handles Cordova’s menace superbly, keeping readers in thrall.”—The Economist
“It may be true, as the opening scene of the novel says, that everybody has a story about Cordova. But it’s hard to imagine any one that would be better than Night Film.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Screenshots of online news articles and the Cordovite fansite, as well as copies of mental hospital patient assessment forms and other official documents—all fictional—plus McGrath’s terror-filled imagination, pull the reader into Pessl’s masterfully played ruse. Pessl has matured into a cleverly entertaining writer who wields her strengths with greater precision than in Special Topics.”—The Kansas City Star
“A gothic thriller that’s among the best novels I’ve read this year.”—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Having finished Night Film, I now find myself a dedicated Cordovite.”—Rob Brunner, The New York Times Magazine
“A testament to Pessl’s tremendous gifts as a storyteller.”—Scott Smith, author of The Ruins
“A rare and wonderful thing—an ambitious novel that hits its target fair and square. Night Film is beautifully imagined, beautifully written, and hypnotically suspenseful.”—Lee Child, author of A Wanted Man
“This summer’s Gone Girl: a completely absorbing literary thriller.”—Library Journal
“Inventive . . . Think Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King meet Guillermo del Toro.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Seven years after Special Topics in Calamity Physics, Pessl returns with a novel as twisted and intelligent as that lauded debut.”—Publishers Weekly
“Expands from a seemingly straightforward mystery into a multifaceted, densely byzantine exploration of much larger issues.”—Booklist (starred review)