Night Film is a breathtakingly suspenseful literary thriller that makes you question how you decide what is real and what isn't from the critically acclaimed author of Special Topics in Calamity Physics
On a damp October night the body of beautiful Ashley Cordova is discovered in a Manhattan warehouse.
Though her death is ruled a suicide, investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise.
The last time McGrath got too close to the Cordova dynasty, he lost his marriage and his career.
This time he could lose his mind.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
After being hailed as a literary wunderkind for her intensely creative and restlessly intelligent first novel, Special Topics in Calamity Physics, Marisha Pessl returns seven years later with a demonstrably darker but no less imaginative variation on the father-daughter relationship at the core of her debut. A sprawling and unceasingly twisty mystery novel written in a pitch-black shade of hard-boiled urban noir, Night Film is ostensibly the story of enigmatically notorious cult filmmaker Stanislas Cordova, the apparent suicide of his 24-year-old daughter Ashley, and the obsessive investigation into Ashley’s death conducted by hard-nosed journalist Scott McGrath, whose personal and professional lives were destroyed the last time he tried to investigate Cordova. Astoundingly full in its imagining, Night Film abounds with masterful complexity and a seductively dark undercurrent.
Seven years after Special Topics in Calamity Physics, Pessl returns with a novel as twisted and intelligent as that lauded debut. Again, the story centers on a father-daughter relationship, but this time the sinister element is front and center, beginning with the daughter's death. The "night films" of Stanislas Cordova have a cult following: fans hold underground screenings and claim that to see his work is to "leave your old self behind, walk through hell, and be reborn." Ashley Cordova is his enigmatic daughter; she appears in his final film at the age of eight, debuts as a pianist at Carnegie Hall at 12, and apparently commits suicide at 24. Scott McGrath is a reporter who lost his job investigating Stanislas and can't resist his need to uncover the real story of Ashley's death. Though the structure is classic noir, Pessl delivers lifelike horror with glimpses, in the form of faux Web sites, of the secretive Stanislas, his films, and his fans. Things slow down when Scott breaks into Stanislas's estate; sustained terror depends on what is withheld, not what is shown. But Pessl does wonderful work giving the hard-headed Scott reason to question the cause of Ashley's death, and readers will be torn between logic and magic.