Night Film by Marisha Pessl (review by Mrs. Vaughan, Harker librarian)

Night FilmNight Film by Marisha Pessl
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Down on his luck journalist Scott McGrath teams up with perky coat-check girl Nora and spoiled, strung-out and fiercely handsome Hopper to investigate the mysterious death of the brilliant Ashley Cordova, daughter of reclusive horror film director Stanislas Cordova. Wending their way through the tangle of her father’s cultish fans, dysfunctional family history and their own personal baggage, the quirky trio stumbles upon circumstances that suggest abduction, black magic and murder. Pessl’s willingness to weave in trendy New York settings and fictional connections to the truly famous adds an immediacy to her story. So too, do the inclusion of pages featuring screen shots of websites, police reports and a myriad of other pretend, but authentic looking documents. For all that, the mystery is less satisfying than Pessl’s previous title, Special Topics in Calamity Physics which was brilliantly paced and highly believable. Unfortunately, the mystery of Miss Cordova fails to build and reads like one trip to sexy NYC destination to the next. Night Film will appeal to folks who want to feel like they are a part of the in crowd of Manhattan society – so much that this reader wonders if the positive reviews are a result of Pessl’s successful stroking of her critics’ egos. Still, patient readers who enjoy a creepy tale that doesn’t get especially bloody and isn’t big on intriguing twists or satisfying endings will enjoy Night Film. Let’s hope Pessl is back on her game next time around. – Mrs. Vaughan, Harker librarian

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