The Night Strangers: A Novel Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged
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"Riveting. . .seamless. . .a hell of a good ghost story."—Justin Cronin, author of The Passage
“The Night Strangers boasts all the trappings of a classic Gothic horror story, reminiscent in places of the spousal secrets in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s ‘Young Goodman Brown,’ the thrills of ‘Rosemary’s Baby,’ and the psychological frights of Daphne du Maurier. . .A perfect book for Halloween. . .That thump thump you hear as you read is only your heart leaping from your chest.”—Keith Donohue, Washington Post
"Shades of The Shining make for a haunting tale. . .A modern-day ghost story worth losing sleep over."—Family Circle
"After losing passengers in a forced landing, a pilot seeks respite by moving his family to New England. But the house is haunted and local witches won't leave them alone. Good 'n' spooky."—Good Housekeeping
"Put a haunted man in a haunted house. . .and you have a Halloween hair-raiser. But it's more than that. Bohjalian, with a dozen well-received novels to his credit, understands trauma: how long it takes to recover from unimaginable pain, and how people who have never experienced it rarely understand."—Yankee Magazine
"A page-turner of uncommon depth. Guilt, egotism, and fear all play parts in the genre-bending novel."—Booklist, Starred Review
"Bohjalian has crafted a genre-defying novel, both a compelling story of a family in trauma and a psychological thriller that is truly frightening. Fans of Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones and Margaret Atwood's Cat's Eye and The Robber Bride will find similar appeal here."—Library Journal, Starred Review
"Compelling. . .a practical magick horror story."—Kirkus Reviews
"A gripping paranormal thriller. . .Bohjalian is a master, and the slow-mounting dread makes this a frightful ride."—Publishers Weekly
“A delicious and haunting tale. . .Bohjalian is a terrific writer and parsimonious in the way he issues information, slowly building an increasing sense of dread and excitement.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
"You will close the book's covers totally satisfied, aware that this masterful storyteller has done it again."—Seattle Times
“Bohjalian uses a clean-edged pen to dice, toss, and serve a gasp-inducing plot that is ghost story-meets psychological thriller. . .The book has a spellbinding clutch. A mélange of horror, thrill, drama, sex, and gore—juxtaposed against the quiet and solitude of a small New England town—it will test your courage and resolve. . .[It] will invade your world.”—Armenian Weekly
"A spellbinding, heart-pounding novel. . .this is one perfect book for Halloween."—Book Page
"Masterfully crafted. . .a suspense-filled ghost story set in rural New Hampshire. . .This is a great read filled with real-life characters, an intricate story line and just enough 'spooky.'"—Grand Rapids Press
"Compelling. . .a ghost story in the tradition of such classics of the genre as 'The Turn of the Screw' and 'The Haunting of Hill House.'"—Tulsa World
" This moody, atmospheric story chills the bones and doesn't let up until the last brutal page. It is a creepy gothic mystery just right for Halloween."—Parkersburg News & Sentinel
"Echoes of Rosemary's Baby and The Shining. . .Read if you dare, but keep an extra light on, and make sure your seat is in the full upright and locked position.”—USA Today
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
CHRIS BOHJALIAN is the critically acclaimed author of fourteen books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Double Bind, Secrets of Eden, and Skeletons at the Feast. His novel, Midwives, was a number one New York Times bestseller and a selection of Oprah’s Book Club. His work has been translated into more than twenty-five languages and two of his novels have become movies (Midwives and Past the Bleachers). He lives in Vermont with his wife and daughter.
From the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
A kind of a poor-man's version of "The Shining" isn't all Mr. Bohjalian aims at; as well he gives us an ancient New England coven of nature witches and warlocks. But it's not enough that everybody and his brother/sister is part of that coven, or that they have to have the blood of traumatized twins, as our protagonist happens to be the dad of, but in case we still don't get it, everyone of them was given/has taken obscure plant names. The author is virtually pinning a sign to their backs saying, "I'm evil." But though he's established (weakly) multiple conflicts in the protagonist, he decides, of a sudden, to make one of the witches a defector to add person vs person (witch vs witch)to the mix.
Most of the characters are brought in and dropped out without significant character development. Each could be typified with a single line of description: the crazy witchy therapist; the dapper old warlock; the obsessed-with-blood villainess. The protagonist's real therapist is dispatched in an all-too-easy car accident which no one cares enough to investigate. Bohjalian must've flipped a coin to see which twin they would take or whether the ending would turn out badly or well.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Chip Linton suffers extreme depression after failing to land his passenger plane on a lake. This failed attempt results in thirty-nine people dying. Bohjalian depicts an incredibly captivating and horrifying crash, and he won me over right then and there thanks to his mastery of both tension and pacing.
The Linton family moves to a new state and a new home in northern New Hampshire. A ghost story ensues, one that is smartly written and enticing. Is it the house that is haunted, or is it Chip himself? Will this haunting cost Chip his marriage, life, or perhaps even the lives of his twin daughters? I honestly couldn't wait to see what happened next. Bohjalian captured the tone of a family in distress; he delivered a suffering father; he made me care about the Lintons.
And then, sadly, Bohjalian deserted this family to focus upon a group of herbalist/witches that need the twin girls for their own nefarious intentions. The Night Strangers, at that point, became a boring, genre-driven work that failed to connect to the reader on any emotional level. The author gave far too much attention to these herbalists, their green houses, and he became too preoccupied with getting each and every herb just right. Frankly, I didn't find the herbalist the least bit interesting and their herbs were of absolutely no concern to me.
I wanted my story focusing upon the Lintons back, but Bohjalian refused. In fact, after striving so hard to make us relate to them, to see ourselves in them, to love them, he turned them into nothing more than tools to provide an insipid, heartless ending that proved to be extraordinarily inconsistent with previously established characterization.
The first half of The Night Strangers was an amazing, creepy, disturbing read that I couldn't put down. The last half of The Night Strangers was an utter contradiction of the first, and I've never felt more cheated and disappointed by an ending in all my years of reading.
~Scott William Foley, author of Andropia
There is a great set-up to this story. A plane has a bird strike right after take-off and the captain, Chip Linton, tries to make an emergency water landing, but unlike the "Miracle on the Hudson", thirty-nine people die. Based on this, Chip, who is traumatized and depressed, moves with his wife Emily and twin daughters Hallie and Garnet to a small northern New Hampshire town to begin a new life in an old Victorian house they have recently purchased. Chip finds an old door in the basement of his new home that is sealed with, coincidentally, thirty-nine bolts. Okay, this sounds like this is going to be great idea for a ghost story, right? Well, not so fast.
Enter the "Herbalists." Now, I'm sure it's difficult for authors to come up with unique and creative ideas for their stories, but this aspect of the book is what truly makes the story weak. These are the lamest "Bad Guys" I have ever read in any book, and how Emily seems to willingly turn her girls over to these people seems like an all too-convenient plot point. Emily is by far the weakest, dumbest character in the story.
All the female herbalists are named after some sort of herb or plant or flower (cute, huh?), and I'm curious as to why Bohjalian decided this couldn't also be true of the male herbalists. Are the women more "sinister" than the men are are? No, not really. The thirty-nine bolts equaling the number of people dying on Chip's flight never ends up being of any importance to the story. Also, there is one scene in this book that I found gratuitous and totally unnecessary Involving Emily and Reseda. I realize that this was supposed to make the reader understand that Reseda has the ability to read minds, but it was totally out of place and never ended up being relevant to the story in any way. It seemed like a cheap ploy to get a little sex in the book.
The best part of the story is Chip's interaction with the "ghosts." This is where the story shines and where I think Bohjalian should have concentrated more of his efforts. I also like how Bohjalian wrote Chip in the second person voice. That worked very well.
Without giving away the ending, I'll just say it was very unsatisfying for me and left some unanswered questions that genuinely do not make sense. This book was ultimately a real disappointment.
The absolute worst part of the story is the climatic ending that falls with an absolute thud as the evil, manipulative, murderous cult members get away with all their misdeeds and are actually befriended by Emily and her dolt of a husband, Chip.
Do NOT, under and circumstances, waste a single penny on this rubbish. It's a tedious, aggravating story with a maddeningly silly ending. I was actually angry that I wasted so much time reading it. Please learn from my mistake and stay away from this book.
This book involves the occult? Witches covens? Ghosts? Demonic possession? Crazed herbalists? Derangement of the mind? Read for your own conclusions of what is going on in Bethel, N.H. and why half the town is living in terror of greenhouses. "Are you a good gardener or a bad gardener?" *evil grin*
Research into multiple subjects had to be vast. In all of Bohjalian books he roots out the subject matters, demanding of his work plausibility and passion. The prose is simply spellbinding.
Here is the potion I would concoct to describe "The Night Strangers." Pinches of Stephen King's(The Shining) John Updike's (Witches of Eastwick) William Peter Benchy's(The Exorcist)Alfred Hitchcock's (Psycho) get stirred into Bohjalian's rich imagination, creating a recipe of terror no one else could create. It is Chris's savory dish if you enjoy blood in your stew.
I dare you to read it.
The protagonist of NIGHT STRANGERS is Chip a fortyish married man formerly employed as a commercial pilot. Chip's last flight became tragic when his plane ran into a flock of birds forcing him in to dramatic water landing that almost worked but because of some unforeseen circumstances ended badly and with the deaths of the majority of his passengers. In the aftermath of the accident Chip battles post traumatic stress syndrome as well as intense scrutiney of his actions. He, his attorney wife Emily and their ten year old twin daughters leave a comfortable home in an upscale Philadelphia suburb to start a new life in a three story Victorian home in Northern New Hampshire. Unfortunately Chip's problems increase after the move. Some of his deceased plane passengers have attached themselves to him and follow along to the new location while making increasingly dangerous demands on Chip. The newly purchased house has a sad history and the family keeps finding bizarre articles left around by the previous owners. And most of the townspeople that befriend the family seem to have an unhealthy obsession with gardening and everything concerning Chip's ten year old daughters.
NIGHT STRANGERS is decently written though I found it quite derivative of other horror stories most noticeably ROSEMARY'S BABY and THE SHINING. Bohjalian employs the second person voice for the portions of the novel told from Chip's mentally mixed up viewpoint and though I often find that type of narrative voice annoying it works in this case particularly in the disturbing ending. NIGHT STRANGERS will likely appeal to fans of spooky psychological suspense but is not particularly original or memorable.
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