The Night Strangers
By Chris Bohjalian
(Crown, Hardcover, 9780307394996, October 4, 2011, 400pp.)
The Short of It:
One of the most frightening opening scenes I’ve read in a long time. I am still haunted by those images.
The Rest of It:
Chip Linton, an experienced pilot, is forced to make a split decision which results in the death of thirty-nine of his passengers. Although the accident itself was caused by a flock of geese flying into both engines, Chip finds himself reliving the moment over and over again. What could he have done differently? Overwhelmed with grief and wanting a new start, Chip purchases a rambling Victorian and moves his family to New Hampshire. Emily, his wife, is at first pleased with the move. Their ten-year-old twin daughters, Hallie and Garnet aren’t so sure.
This is a ghost story and these ghosts are not subtle. They appear often and know exactly what they want. Because of this, you don’t get the atmospheric creep factor that you do with most ghost stories because you know right away who they are, and what they want. However, there is no escaping the dread that you feel while reading this story. This little town that they’ve moved to has its own secrets and the inhabitants are weird and cult-like and when you begin to understand what they have in mind for those twins, you can’t help but be disturbed by it. It’s unsettling and I was absolutely shocked by the ending.
There is no denying the fact that this book is incredibly hard to put down. Bohjalian’s writing is gripping and the opening sequence took my breath away. I was sitting in my car, out in the middle of parking lot, just me and my Kindle and I swear I held my breath the entire time.
I wanted more of the ghost story and a little less of where the story went. I won’t go into details for those who haven’t read it yet, but Bohjalian had me with the house…nothing else was needed. Give me a creepy house with secrets and a set of strange, yet likable twins and I’m more than happy.
I haven’t read a ghost story in a long time, so I really enjoyed this one even though I had a little quibble with where it went in the end.
Source: Net Galley
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