Investigative reporter Scott McGrath’s life has already been ruined once by the cult film director Cordova. So when he’s on the hunt to find out what happened to Cordova’s suddenly-deceased daughter Ashley, McGrath fears that he’s diving right back into the living nightmare that surrounds the elusive figure. With the help of two unlikely companions, they seek out the truth of Ashley’s death and whether it was a suicide, or if she was murdered.
This 600+ page mystery novel reads fairly quickly and is fully jam-packed with intrigue. What first stood out to me was Pessl’s choice of storytelling for some of the discovery portions. Rather than potentially boring the readers with nothing but fact after historical fact on Ashley and the Cordova family, she has laid it out as if you were reading a website article, complete with photos, URLs and notes. This gave the story that much more of an authentic feel to it. Another element of Night Film that made the reader feel like part of the story was just how much detail Pessl put into every aspect of the novel. It’s truly remarkable the amount of back story that has been created for each of Cordova’s films, allowing this novel’s New York to really come to life.
Pessl is excellent at establishing a mood, a setting and a train of thought to lead you one way when it’ll twist and turn in front of your very eyes. It’s difficult to say much about this novel without giving anything away. I had several people unintentionally elude to certain aspects of this novel and, even though they hadn’t been specific, it was enough to have me anticipate those moments and thereby ruining the overall effect. I wish I could have experienced this book not knowing what to hold out for, and I might have enjoyed it even more fully. Night Film is one of those books where the less you know, the better.
The team at Random House have also released a mobile app that enhances your Night Film reading experience. Be sure to check it out on your smartphone!