Wednesday, June 13, 2012

GUEST REVIEW: The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian

We have a new guest reviewer! Mary W. is a BCPL employee and an avid fan of  "weird" books, or so she once told me. For her first review, she is taking on the latest novel by Chris Bohjalian, who is probably best known for Midwives (a former Oprah Book Club pick). Another of his novels, Double Bind, had a Great Gatsby connection, and this one seems to be somewhat influenced by The Turn of the Screw. I've been meaning to try Bohjalian for ages, and I actually gave The Night Strangers a try (in audio format), but I had to give up because I found the reader's delivery to be wooden and unlistenable. But based on Mary's reaction and other reviews I've read—from Justin Cronin, author of The Passage: "The first chapter of Chris Bohjalian’s The Night Strangers is so riveting, I dropped the book in the tub."—I definitely need to seek out a print copy ASAP.   —Tracy

Mary's Rating: 4/5 Stars
Genres: Psychological Suspense/Horror
Audience: Adult

 First Line: "The door was presumed to have been the entry to a coal chute, a perfectly reasonable assumption since a small hillock of damp coal sat moldering before it."

Mary's Guest Review & Summary:
The book starts with a small jet taking off from an airport and running into a flock of birds, which destroy the engines, and the pilot must land in a lake. He hopes to make a safe landing but instead the plan flips end-over-end and 39 passengers are killed. As a result of this, he can't fly anymore and his family decide to move to a small community in hopes he will heal from his nightmares. They move into a house with a door in the basement that has 39 large screws placed around it so it cannot be opened. He decides to open it anyway.

Time to change subjects. He is married to a nice lady and has twins who are not quite teens yet. The teens don't care for the new place and one is hearing voices in the night. The people who are their neighbors are herbalists and have lots of greenhouses everywhere. Sort of like a cult.

This book has a lot of twists and turns and sometimes I got lost at first but it gets more and more interesting as it goes on. If you like books about ghosts, witches, and weirdo people, this book will be a good read for you. I can only say one word about the ending of the book! ASTONISHING! I didn't see the ending coming. The epilogue stood me on my head!! This book is not for the faint of heart.

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