Night Film

 

I love intelligent dark fiction. Night Film is both very dark and very intelligent. It is not the kind of novel that spoon feeds you yet it is quite accessible and entertaining in a quietly spooky sort of way. While ostensibly a mystery, horror fans will get right into the groove too. The plot centers around an investigation of the death of a 24 year old daughter of a notorious horror film director. Her alleged suicide prompts a reporter, who was successfully sued in the past by the director for libel after he made allegations against him, to find out what actually happened. Through the reporter's narrative and some magazine and newspaper articles judiciously sprinkled through the book's pages, the reporter is led on a mysterious journey involving suspected child abuse, mysterious disappearances, and devil worship. Yet many of these incidents seem to be strangely similar to the scenes from the director's own disturbing horror films, prompting the question of delusions vs. reality.

I'll leave the rest of the novel for you to discover. I like the way the plot unfolds slowly with a few jerks and screams to break the steady build of tension. The reporter, Scott McGrath is the perfect combination of brave and gullible that is needed for an admittedly convoluted plot as we have here. It's actually a miracle that the author pulls this off so well. In lesser hands it might be a mess but in Marisha Pessl capable hands, it comes of as an eerie and poetic masterpiece. McGrath quickly inherits two young sidekick who at first seem tacked on, but develops into sort of a conscience for the weary reporter. It's a nice touch. The director, Cordova, is a vague and menacing presence and remains so until we find out his dark secrets and even then...

OK. Enough. This is one of those books that you won't want to know much about until you start reading it. There is a lot of hype on this novel and at least this time the hype is deserved. Yet some readers may not be ready from the quietly eerie atmosphere that set the stage for this tale. But rest assured, this is a worthwhile read and one of the best books of any genre in 2013.