Friday, November 18, 2011

The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian

by:  Chris Bohjalian
published by:  Crown Publishers
publish date:   October 4, 2011

In a dusty corner of a basement in a rambling Victorian house in northern New Hampshire, a door has long been sealed shut with 39 six-inch-long carriage bolts.

The home's new owners are Chip and Emily Linton and their twin ten-year-old daughters. Together they hope to rebuild their lives there after Chip, an airline pilot, has to ditch his 70-seat regional jet in Lake Champlain after double engine failure. Unlike the Miracle on the Hudson, however, most of the passengers aboard Flight 1611 die on impact or drown. The body count? Thirty-nine – a coincidence not lost on Chip when he discovers the number of bolts in that basement door. Meanwhile, Emily finds herself wondering about the women in this sparsely populated White Mountain village – self-proclaimed herbalists – and their interest in her fifth-grade daughters. Are the women mad? Or is it her husband, in the wake of the tragedy, whose grip on sanity has become desperately tenuous?

This book was in a word, tense.  I realized this when I was leaning forward, chewing on my thumbnail, gripping my iphone like one would a tennis racket because the audiobook narrator wasn't reading fast enough for me.  It starts off with a plane crash and ends in a way you wish you could change.

The Night Strangers is written in an interesting style.  It has alternating chapters of second and third person.  The second person chapters are told from Chip's point of view.  The third person chapters are told from various viewpoints, but most often Emily or one of the twins.  The dual narrators in the audiobook were brilliant with this.  The reader gets so much information this way, and it was a refreshing change of pace.

I've never read any of Chris Bohjalian's other works so I can't compare it to anything else, but I really liked this book.  The character building was great.  It was very interesting to see everything going on from Chip's perspective.  The reader really understands how tortured he is after the plane crash.  I think my favorite character ended up being Garnet.  I appreciated the little peeks at her feisty attitude.

The Night Strangers will more than likely make my favorites list of 2011.  It was the perfect mixture of creepy and compelling and scary without gory.


Marce said...

Great review, I am adding this to my Wishlist.

It is on a few 2011 nomination lists but I haven't read any reviews.

I love that you were on the edge of your seat.

Megan said...

It sounds like a great read! I love books that keep you on the edge of your seat!

Megan @ Storybook Love Affair