Monday, April 9, 2012

The Night Strangers (Chris Bohjalian)

I was hesitant to pick up The Night Strangers simply because it did not get the greatest reviews. Bohjalian's Midwives was an Oprah Book Club selection, which of course, instantly became a bestseller. He's an interesting author in the sense that he rarely writes the same style of book twice. In The Night Strangers, he takes practically every iconic, classic horror movie and mashes them up..."The Shining", "Rosemary's Baby", "The Wicker Man"...with great success until the ending.

Chip Linton is an airline pilot who is thrown into a horrible situation one day at work. His plane hits a flock of geese, and he is forced to make an emergency landing in know, like the miracle on the Hudson...which Bohjalian compares Chip's landing to ad nauseum. Unlike Sully Sullenberger, however, Chip loses 39 passengers and of course, his life becomes unbearable.

Hoping to get a fresh start, Chip, his wife Emily, and their twin daughters move to New Hampshire into a big, old house. There is a door in the basement, with 39 nails in it, which quickly becomes the center of attention. What's behind that door? What's the history of the house? Why do all of the women in their new town love to be in their greenhouses so much? Most importantly, who can they trust?

The characters in The Night Strangers, not all of whom are living by the way, are well intertwined. While I can understand some of the reviews, which thought the book moved rather slowly, I thought this quality added to the sometimes unbearable suspense. It was quite simply one of the scariest books I've ever read. Read it with all of the lights on. The ending though was too strange for me. However, I truly hope Bohjalian writes a few more books in the horror realm, because he can certainly give King and Koontz a run for their money.