I think first impressions are quite important. But not all first impressions turn out to be the complete deal. With books, the first impression is the summary, and then the cover. Night Film was a book I took because I loved both these facets of the book when I saw on Goodreads. It was a mixed experience at best.
Night Film is a murder mystery, or crime thriller. It starts with the mysterious death of Ashley Cordova, who is the daughter of a horror-movie director. The initial ruling, and one the cops accept, is that it is a suicide but an investigative journalist decides to pursue the case further.
I spoke earlier of first impressions. Perhaps the first impression you get on actually seeing the book is the size of it. It is heavy, nearly 600 pages. To hold my attention through that volume was something the book struggled to do, given the genre. My appreciation goes to the author for the way she presents the case to the reader, and it is something I haven’t seen before. I enjoyed the presentation, with pictures and case-file notes and such. But the story as a whole failed to impress upon me that it was a murder mystery or a thriller. It was almost like Pessl gave us the bits and pieces of the story and asked us to assemble the mystery in our heads as one continuous story. And I’d have been happy to do it but for the size. The characters are simple, as is her language and way of narration. These are some of the aspects I liked.
This was a decent book, and I liked it. I wanted to love it, but it didn’t hold me, or take my interest to that level. Maybe another read might help take it to that level, because it is a different way to approaching a mystery novel after all.
In A Gist:
Positives: Cover design, way of presentation, simple characters.
Negatives: Very lengthy and doesn’t hold my interest.
About the author:
Marisha Pessl is an American author best known for her debut murder mystery novel Special Topics in Calamity Physics, which won her the inaugural Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. This is her second novel
Title: Night Film
Author: Marisha Pessl
Genre: Murder Mystery
Publisher: Random House India
Price: INR. 650
(21st January, 2014)