Night Film – Marisha Pessl

Jul 21

Night Film – Marisha Pessl

This suspense-filled novel is by Marisha Pessl. I was utterly petrified the first 100 or so pages.  After that I sincerely enjoyed the rest of the story, but my fear was washed away into a sea of details, loose ends never to be tied up, and unnecessary characters.

Ashley Cordova, a piano protégé and daughter of an infamous film director, jumps to her death. This tragic event sets in motion an investigation by journalist Scott McGrath. He was recently blackballed by the industry, and he is like the proverbial dog with a bone. At the center of the mystery is Ashley’s father, Stanislas Cordova. His horror films have a cult following, and are highly disturbing in nature.

McGrath is joined by Hopper, a charismatic runaway with more to offer than first meets the eye, and Nora, a sweet girl with a sad past and an empty bank account. This unlikely trio chases down all possible leads.

All. Possible. Leads. Some leads actually have a purpose, some just leave the reader dangling, with no discernible denouement.

 This next thing is probably just a personal pet peeve: The overuse of italicized words. I found the sheer amount somewhat distracting, as opposed to enhancing my reading experience.

 Stanislas’ ex-wife Marlowe explains “night films” to McGrath via a conversation she had with Cordova: “I love to put my characters in the dark. It’s only then that I can see exactly who they are.”

I truly enjoyed Ms. Pressl’s writing style, and her way of uniquely peppering the story with magazine articles, police reports, and screen shots throughout. She also offers an accompanying interactive app that offers various multimedia content. I did not enjoy the ending; I felt duped after going along for the extensive ride.

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