Need to Know: The Crazy Characters in the Knotty New Thriller, 'Night Film'

8.6.2013

By Jason Lamphier

A top-shelf whodunit with a gay priest, witchcraft, and a boozy starlet

With its zippy, byzantine plot and myriad suspects, Marisha Pessl’s Night Film is the sort of a top-shelf whodunit that thriller buffs dream of. Seriously, people, this is the Game of Thrones of murder mysteries. There’s the shady gay priest, the funky witchcraft specialist, the boozy former Hollywood starlet who croaks out lines like, “Every one of you, the farting demeanor of the artfully clueless.” Then there’s the enigmatic figure that haunts the entire novel: an underground cult filmmaker whose disturbing body of work would make The Shining look like a Disney cartoon.

At 600-plus pages, Pessl’s follow-up to her acclaimed 2006 bestseller, Special Topics in Calamity Physics, is a bit of a doorstop. But its cranks and kooks spring to life (or in one case, death) so vividly that they practically turn the pages for you.

'Night Film' is available August 20

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