Night Film by Marisha Pessl
Published: 30.01.2014 by Windmill Books
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Rating: 5/5 stars – ★★★★★
Synopsis: 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.
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.
I’ve had this book on my shelf for such a long time. I bought it at least a year ago at a book fest near me, because it was only like €4. I’ve been in a mystery/crime/thriller mood lately, so I thought it was time to pick this up. Especially with the #spookathon that was happening. I actually read it during the readathon, and flew through it. It exceeded my expectations by far.
I don’t really want to say too much about the plot, because you need to dive into this mystery knowing as little as possible. All you need to know is that a woman called Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in New York. Her death is ruled a suicide, but investigative journalist Scott McGrath doesn’t believe that. Ashley is the daughter of one of the most famous movie directors in the world, Stanislas Cordova. He’s also the most elusive, as no one even knows what he looks like. His movies are banned because they are so trippy and horrific, that they are watched in underground showings.
This book was so eerie and atmospheric. There is this whole horror-vibe because of the Cordova family, and I was immersed. Honestly, I couldn’t put it down. This book also includes mixed media. It’s not just text, but has pictures, police reports, websites, text messages, etc. in it. That just made the mystery that much more realistic, in my opinion. I felt like I was an investigative journalist too, gathering evidence alongside Scott.
I read this 500-page book in 2 days, and that’s only because I had stuff to do on the first day so I couldn’t continue then. I just had to know what happened to Ashley, what would happen to Scott. What is the truth? Is the truth an interpretation?
I think the author just captured the atmosphere of the story so well. Because it’s all about this elusive family and their horror/cult movies and following, you want this story to feel like a horror story too. And it did. It felt trippy, weird and horrifying all at once. I didn’t just question whether the main character was starting to lose his mind and see things, I started wondering whether I was too. I couldn’t even distinguish reality from suspicion or interpretation at one point, which just makes me tip my imaginary hat to the author.
I think this is an incredible mystery novel, and everyone should read it. The mixed formats make it more realistic, and truly make you feel part of the investigation. The characters are complex and interesting -and I don’t just mean Ashley. They all are.