Building A Mystery
What to expect from “Night Film”
Have you ever schlepped a 600-page book to the beach? We did, and we polished it off in three days flat.
The novel in question is Night Film, Marisha Pessl?s long-awaited follow-up to Special Topics in Calamity Physics, and aside from being very long, it?s one of the most highly anticipated titles of the year.
Set in a gritty, noirish New York City, Night Film begins with a dead body: the beautiful, troubled daughter of reclusive filmmaker Stanislas Cordova. Cordova is essentially an ultra-creepy Stanley Kubrick, and his films are supposedly so scary, you can watch them only in underground viewing parties for the deeply depraved. (So, um, no Sno-Caps, then?)
On the case is Scott McGrath, a disgraced journalist with an ugly divorce and a pesky whiskey habit. McGrath teams up with two unlikely misfits, and soon enough we?re off, following every delicious lead down every dark, foreboding alley.
Hard-boiled tropes aside, Night Film is intentionally genre-bending, and at times its construction feels heavy-handed. (We could have done without the book?s bazillion fake-out endings or corresponding app, for instance.)
But it?s still a fun, suspenseful thriller rife with meaty twists. Prepare to stay up reading well past your bedtime.