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Random House LLC
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Night Film: A Novel Kindle Edition
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At the heart of it we have a detective novel, the detective's name is Scott McGrath he's a shamed reporter obsessed with a reclusive shock film director named Cordova (read: Lars von Trier) and failing weekend daddy. You will heard the name Cordova at least a million times in this book as we sail into Moby Dick country. Accompanied by a quirky young woman named Nora who grew up in a nursing home with cross dressers and a love sick drug dealer named Hopper we enter Cordova's world after the director's daughter commits suicide.
It mixes detective novel noir with voodoo, black magick, hearsay and good old paranoia. It's often repetitive, things can drag on, and on, and on. McGrath, who doesn't seem to actually work, never seems to run out of money. In a way you feel like you are not in a book, but in a movie. I am guessing that's the idea.
It wasn't a boring book, but in the end it all felt kind of...weirdly pointless to me. I get what the idea was but it just feels like she had a lot of ideas that just didn't really come together for me.
That said, reading it for Scott, Nora and Hopper make it all worth it mostly. And the loose ends that kind of allow you to think about what really was going on was also nice. The authors use of NYC as not just a local but a character was also well done.
The things that drove me *nuts*:
* Dialogue. I like Scott's voice, and he seems like a likable enough guy with a small sense of humor. But that should be *his* voice and it's not. Literally every character in this story, even if they're stoned or drunk or high, sounds like a slightly pretentious MFA student who hasn't learned not to infodump yet.
* The infodumps. Not just the fact that just about everyone just can't seem to wait to spill their guts, but that they will stop in very unnatural ways and explain things in these big, massive, dense paragraphs. There's no fear that you'll not catch onto an important clue, because it's pretty much given flashing neon lights when introduced, and the next time it comes up, Scott or someone will stop the forward movement of the story and literally repeat eeeeeverydangthing about that from when it first came up. Like one (nonspoilery) example. Hey, did you know that Larkin was Cordova's exclusive costume designer? Don't fear that you're going to forget it, because every time it comes up, the story will stop and remind us. Uh, as a seasoned reader of mysteries, I kind of resent this lack of trust in the reader. Yes, I can put pieces together. That's part of the fun of a mystery. This is like you getting a nice delicious plate of food and then having someone lean over and cut your meat for you like you're four years old. UGH.
* The fakeouts. I won't spoiler the movie but, yeah. Fakeouts. And I won't spoiler the end because I don't need to. You'll know how it ends if you've ever read a mystery before.
* For a female author I guess I expected more out of the female characters than the Bitchy Goddess Ex Wife, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl and the Stand By Your Man.
The stuff I liked:
* There really are some lovely, lyrical passages in here. When she puts her mind to it, she comes up with some heartwringing phrasing.
* The 'wait what the heck is reality' parts.
* It really is a fun read, even though you know where it's going. There are a few surprises but it never really deviates from the road its on, just takes a few scenic detours.
* It does say some really interesting things about living life, horror, artistry, and age and all.
Though my negatives seem bigger, I actually really enjoyed the book. It was a really compelling read; I liked the interactive stuff, though in my day job I look at primary texts to suss out deeper meanings so my idea of 'fun' may not be yours; there's action and adventure and romance and a really lovely balance between 'is it evil incarnate or is it totally mundane', which is my favorite flavor of horror.
If you're the kind of reader that enjoy reading a book with no solution - read on, my friend.
If not, leave this book be. It's not gonna give you s***.
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In many ways this book is like the movie "Angel Heart".Read more
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