Night Film | Book Review

I was literally not posting anything because I’m unable to come up with a decent review for Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, a book that I adored. So I’ve decided to put that review on hold for the time being and get on with it since I’ve read two more excellent books in the meantime and I’m falling way behind so far as my resolution to review all the books I read is concerned. 

Therefore, here is a book review of the book Night Film by Marisha Pessl. I read this book at a feverish, obsessive pace, mirroring a lot of the moods of the protagonist while reading it.

This was a super fast read because I was hooked from start to end. It’s one of those trippy psychological mysteries than mystified and bewildered me in parts and I kept reading in order to get answers. I can’t say much at all about the plot because everything could be a spoiler.

Okay, so the book is about an investigative journalist, Scoot McGrath whose career was ruined by a reclusive, underground film director after Scott tried to investigate him. After the director’s daughter, Ashley Cordova supposedly commits suicide, Scott decides to investigate her death because he’s convinced it’s not suicide. He is obsessed with the director and his life and is consumed by thoughts of revenge.

This book has paranormal elements mixed with healthy doses of cynicism and there is a vagueness about the explanations for certain events which mirrors real life when one is a cynical but curious person. I have a fascination for the paranormal simply because, well, they’re fun. I like not knowing sometimes. I don’t know if that makes me a kook or whatever, but I loved those elements of this book. A large part of this book consisted of flashbacks and narratives of other persons which is my favourite way to tell a story because it’s always a limited perspective and leaves the reader wondering at the accuracy of the narration, which makes for a good mystery.

The format of this book is extremely creative, in that it contains actual pictures of webpages, police reports, newspaper reports, and other investigative tools used by Scott during his feverish research. It made the book far more engaging and made one get more invested in the story and the characters.

The climax of the book was very creepy and I was personally terrified in parts, because it reminded me of one of my worst fears. I can’t explain what I mean because *spoilers* but if someone has read the book PLEASE tell me because I was to discuss the talent that goes into inducing that level of nausea and dread.

However, after the climax, the story slowed wayyyyyy down and I really didn’t like the ending at all. It dragged on for much longer than it ought to have in my opinion. Te last 50 pages nearly ruined the whole book for me. The ending just irritated me. This book still got 4 stars from me because of the narrative prowess and creation of atmosphere throughout the book, which does take a lot of skill.

I do recommend this book if one likes unconventional mystery novels even though it’s not the best of books. It was actually in the running for one of my favourite books of all tine until the last few pages.

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