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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Brilliant, haunting, breathtakingly suspenseful, Night Film is a superb literary thriller by the author of the blockbuster debut Special Topics in Calamity Physics.
On a damp October night, beautiful young Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Though her death is ruled a suicide, veteran investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. As he probes the strange circumstances surrounding Ashley’s life and death, McGrath comes face-to-face with the legacy of her father: the legendary, reclusive cult-horror-film director Stanislas Cordova—a man who hasn’t been seen in public for more than thirty years.
For McGrath, another death connected to this seemingly cursed family dynasty seems more than just a coincidence. Though much has been written about Cordova’s dark and unsettling films, very little is known about the man himself.
Driven by revenge, curiosity, and a need for the truth, McGrath, with the aid of two strangers, is drawn deeper and deeper into Cordova’s eerie, hypnotic world.
The last time he got close to exposing the director, McGrath lost his marriage and his career. This time he might lose even more.
Night Film, the gorgeously written, spellbinding new novel by the dazzlingly inventive Marisha Pessl, will hold you in suspense until you turn the final page.
Praise for Night Film
“Night Film has been precision-engineered to be read at high velocity, and its energy would be the envy of any summer blockbuster. Your average writer of thrillers should lust for Pessl’s deft touch with character.”—Joe Hill, The New York Times Book Review
“Mysterious and even a little head-spinning, an amazing act of imagination.”—Dean Baquet, The New York Times Book Review
“Maniacally clever . . . Cordova is a monomaniacal genius who creeps into the darkest crevices of the human psyche. . . . As a study of a great mythmaker, Night Film is an absorbing act of myth-making itself. . . . Dastardly fun . . . The plot feels like an M. C. Escher nightmare about Edgar Allan Poe. . . . You’ll miss your subway stop, let dinner burn and start sleeping with the lights on.”—The Washington Post
“If there’s any justice, the first chapter of literary wunderkind Marisha Pessl’s much-awaited second novel, Night Film, should go down in literary history as among the most notable formal innovations of this century. . . . Here she conjures an entire oeuvre, as well as its production, reception, and mediation. But her biggest triumph is the specter of Cordova himself. ‘He’s a myth, a monster, a mortal man,’ she writes. One who, by the book’s end, many readers will wish desperately was real.”—The Boston Globe
“A very deeply imagined book . . . sprints to an ending that’s equal parts nagging and haunting: What lingers, beyond all the page-turning, is a density of possible clues that leaves you leafing backward, scanning fictional blog comments and newspaper clippings, positive there’s some secret detail that will snap everything into focus.”—New York
“Hypnotic . . . The real and the imaginary, life and art, are dizzyingly distorted not only in a Cordova night film . . . but in Pessl’s own Night Film as well.”—Vanity Fair
“A literary mystery that’s also a page-turner . . . Night Film might be the most talked-about novel this summer.”—Time Out New York
“Noirish, impish and stylish, this literary thriller delivers twists, kinks and characters to care about. . . . Night Film gets two thumbs up.”—More
“You won’t put this book down.”—Marie Claire
“A shrewdly contemporary whodunit.”—W Magazine
“The sort of a top-shelf whodunit that thriller buffs dream of. Seriously, people, this is the Game of Thrones of murder mysteries.”—Out
“Night Film is an engrossing yarn, full of twists and cliffhangers. . . . Pessl handles Cordova’s menace superbly, keeping readers in thrall.”—The Economist
“It may be true, as the opening scene of the novel says, that everybody has a story about Cordova. But it’s hard to imagine any one that would be better than Night Film.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Screenshots of online news articles and the Cordovite fansite, as well as copies of mental hospital patient assessment forms and other official documents—all fictional—plus McGrath’s terror-filled imagination, pull the reader into Pessl’s masterfully played ruse. Pessl has matured into a cleverly entertaining writer who wields her strengths with greater precision than in Special Topics.”—The Kansas City Star
“A gothic thriller that’s among the best novels I’ve read this year.”—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Having finished Night Film, I now find myself a dedicated Cordovite.”—Rob Brunner, The New York Times Magazine
“A testament to Pessl’s tremendous gifts as a storyteller.”—Scott Smith, author of The Ruins
“A rare and wonderful thing—an ambitious novel that hits its target fair and square. Night Film is beautifully imagined, beautifully written, and hypnotically suspenseful.”—Lee Child, author of A Wanted Man
“This summer’s Gone Girl: a completely absorbing literary thriller.”—Library Journal
“Inventive . . . Think Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King meet Guillermo del Toro.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Seven years after Special Topics in Calamity Physics, Pessl returns with a novel as twisted and intelligent as that lauded debut.”—Publishers Weekly
“Expands from a seemingly straightforward mystery into a multifaceted, densely byzantine exploration of much larger issues.”—Booklist (starred review)