Night Film - Marisha Pessl

"Everyone has a Cordova story, whether they like it or not."


"Whatever your opinion of Cordova, however obsessed with his work or indifferent-he's there to react against. He's a crevice, a black hole, an unspecified danger, a relentless outbreak of the unknown in our overexposed world. He's underground, looming unseen in the corners of the dark."


"He' s a myth, a monster, a mortal man."


Night Film at the start threw me into apathy-the first 18 pages were news articles, online commentaries, blogs and pictures of Stanislas Cordova and his connections starting with a headliner from The New York Times- Ashley Cordova, 24, Found Dead.


They were so magazine- like, and unexpected as a starting point to a novel that my immediate reaction was -pffft, hmmm, story missing but it'll make a nice coffee table book.


I pushed on....and off...leaving it on the coffee table, often.


The mystery of Ashley's death and the days leading up to her unfortunate ending twirl agonizingly in the head of Scott McGrath, an investigative journalist, who had prior slander issues with Ashley's powerful father, Stanislas Cordova, a foreboding, reclusive, dark and - let's just spill it- sick, creepy film director.


McGrath obsesses with learning what drove Ashley to her death, leading him into a myriad of avenues involving dark magic, cult followings, missing children, sacrifices, all seemingly pointing to one man - Stanislas..because he makes horrific, evil movies and possibly slasher films at that. And,  it seems that Ashley developed from her father that dark dementedness which might have doomed her fate.



The progression was so slow moving, crawling on at an excruciatingly retarded pace. There were times I shouted out loudly "GET ON WITH IT, McGRATH!!" A Sam Spade wannabe but not at the hands of a deft Dashiell Hammett.


I have to say, though, that when it did get to the parts with the voodoo, hoodoo, dark arts, cult-slasherness in creepy, old abandoned houses, I was spurred me on. I thought, finally, it's getting good!



Then, the 'Hindenburg', so to speak, fell.


The suspense build up at the thought of a gothic,supernatural thriller was pissed away in a neatly tied up, too easily explained resolution. What?!

The conclusion did me in. I was disappointed. I wanted Rosemary's Baby! The Omen(Damian)! The Exorcist! The Shining! - not a tidy normal ending.


Pessl made McGrath go through all that wild goose chasing, near neck-breaking twists and turns to solve it in a singular revealing interview with Stanislas' assistant, Gallo? Was McGrath that slow to not have pursued her harder for info in the first place? Sad.


Summarily, Pessl did "one up it" with the many photos in the book, adding an air of authenticity to the story- it almost appeared REAL. I think in all, the added visuals lent a hand in creating some of the psychotic eeriness and mysterious atmosphere and strengthened the psychological plot.



Like I said in the beginning, a nice coffee table book or at least a great conversation opener. For that I had to add a half star to the 3. It would have been 4 shiny ones, if I got the ending I anticipated. 




At the end of the book, there's an app which allows you to download audiofiles and extra photos on your smart devices.


The bonus interactive info is a good go-to for an aperitif.







Also go to Youtube at for a creepy little book promo video.