Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Night Strangers - Chris Bohjalian

Anyone who says book bloggers don't sell books or have an influence needs to read this post.  Because before I read Jenn's review and Ti's review of this book, I was happily nestled amongst my SIBA books and Jill's Nesbo books, with literally months of uninterrupted fun at the ready.  But...I just couldn't resist this one.  These two reviews were like double dog dares, and I whipped out my Kindle, bought it and started the story that is sure to be deemed for eternity as "the book that turn you off of air travel". 

Synopsis: Chip Linton's life was irreversibly damaged the day a flock of geese flew into the engines of his commercial jet, causing him to attempt a water landing that killed thirty-nine of his passengers.  No Sully Sullenberger this time.  PTSD symptoms in the form of nightmares and phantom pains force he, his wife Emily and twin daughters to move from Pennsylvania to rural New Hampshire to regain their lives and sanity.

Except they don't find sanity, but an evil that begins to invade every aspect of their existence.  The townspeople seem to have a cultish fetish about gardening and have taken an unhealthy interest in the girls.  Their old Victorian home has a bloody past with a small wooden door in the basement, bolted shut.  And Chip is being visited by his dead passengers, who come with a list of requests.

My thoughts:  For those that have heard that the airplane crash scene was brutal (which not only haunts the beginning of the book but is pervasive throughout), they heard right.  Bohjalian did his research because this was some graphic business, and one that will probably never ever quite be exorcised from my mind.  Just, reader beware.

Beyond that bit of unpleasantness, the story was deliciously creepy.  Ghosts, and weird townsfolk and twins and basements with dirt floors.  The supernatural and the real collide, and both gave me the heebie jeebies.  This was the stuff that fueled many a Stephen King novel, and its a good reliable recipe.  And Bohjalian has the writing skills to pull it off.  I'm being intentionally vague here, because you need to let this story invade your skull like it did mine, spoiler-free, but there were scenes, people.  Ones beyond the plane crash, that made the hairs stand up on my arms and made me fear sleep. 

I've seen some people question the ending, it's tone and direction.  I loved it.  It isn't what you would want necessarily, but it is appropriately chilling and twisted and something you will carry around with you for days.

4.5 out of 5 (Half point taken off for making me afraid to fly)    
          

24 comments:

Marie said...

oh man i really want to read this! i can't wait till it's out in paperback. sounds AWESOME.

Julie P. said...

I have this one for my kindle too but my husband took it on his business trip! Bummer. I love Bohjalian!

bermudaonion said...

I love Bohjalian's work, but don't know if I want to read a book that makes me afraid to fly! lol This book is on my wish list.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Ha! Anyone who say bloggers don't influence reads don't read YOUR blog! :--)

I don't remember Jenn's and Ti's reviews well but I remember thinking I must read this and then of course forgot or lost my notes. But now again, I must read this!

Anna said...

Hmm...this book sounds really good, but my husband would kill me if it put me off airplanes for good. I've long been afraid of flying but he persuaded me to give flying a try again because a 1 hour trip to see family is better than an 8 hour drive.

JoAnn said...

I already get a little nervous flying, so it might be better if I just skip this one ;-) Have enjoyed several of Bohjalian's other books though.

Zibilee said...

So excited that Anita is going to lend this one to me! I don't often fly, so I am hoping not to be too traumatized, but I am anxious to get to it and read all about those creepy neighbors and basements! Great review!

Susan said...

I love everything that Chris Bojhalian writes. When I heard about this one I was a bit sceptical. I thought a bit ghost story, and bump in the night. It was a little more than that. Stepford wives meet Stephen King. I enjoyed reading, but I also was trying not to give up to much I my blog. It was tough to omit the weird stuff. I still enjoyed it, even though this is not my genre. If you are interested to compare notes, you can visit my blog, I just posted a few days ago.

reviewsbylola said...

I loved the ending too. It had a great tone and ended the book on a creepy note. I kept thinking throughout the book that I hoped no one would make the mistake of reading this one on an airplane!

Ti said...

Yeah, I was one of the readers who wanted it to go in a different direction, BUT realistically...he went with the one that made the most sense.

There were a couple of scenes beyond the crash that put me on edge. I read almost the entire book sitting in my car, in the dark, waiting for the kids to get out of rehearsal and I remember rolling down my car window once and laughing nervously at the person parked next to me. She probably thought I was a nut.

Melissa said...

I really really want to read this! I am just a little afraid of the beginning. I am very suggestible and get nightmares from gory things :(

♥ Melissa @ Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf

Serena said...

this book is one of my must haves for the Christmas holiday...just gotta get the husband my wish list!

Melissa said...

Of course book bloggers have influence!! I just bought a copy of the The Human Bobby because of you. :)

I was iffy on the last Bohjalian I read (an old one), but will have to check the library for this one!

farmlanebooks said...

This sounds like a great book, but I already have a fear of flying and I suspect I'd never get on another plane if I read this book. Thanks for the warning!

Peppermint Ph.D. said...

I would love to read this...but I can't afford to be nervous about flying right now either :(
sounds creepy!!!

Jenny said...

I had really Ben wanting to read this but honestly, that thing you said about it scaring you to fly... I don't know.. I flew a lot when I was little and never thought twice about it. But then as I became older I've become really anxious about it. I'm fine with flying, but I really don't need something like thy to give me any ideas lol! We'll see... Sounds fantastic otherwise!!

christa @ mental foodie said...

You convinced me to give this one a try! I should prob read it after my trip in December.... luckily there is a 14-person queue on the library reserve list so fingers crossed it'd be after the trip :)

softdrink said...

Thanks for the plane crash warning...I love to travel too much to subject myself to that!

Melody said...

This sounds good! I need to add this onto my wishlist!!

Elisabeth said...

I am a huge fan of Bohjalian, have read all he has written. That being said, I have no interest in reading this book. I do not like creepy scary stories at all. I am disappointed. When there is an author I really enjoy I like to read everything they have written, and I won't be able to do that now.

caite said...

don't you think the book should actually get EXTRA points for making you afraid to fly..because it was so well written?

Jenners said...

So you're saying I should read this … but not while flying on a plane? : )

I've been interested every time I've read a review of this one and, of course, I trust you so I shall put this on the "official" list of books to be read.

Louise said...

Looks good, comes out in the UK in paperback in a couple of weeks time so has gone straight onto my wish list. Although I think I'll avoid it whenever I'm about to fly.

Darlene said...

I had an eGalley of this book but never got around to reading it. Now I'm going to end up buying it. Lol.