NARRATED BY: Alison Fraser and Mark Bramhall
From the bestselling author of The Double Bind, Skeletons at the Feast, and Secrets of Eden, comes a riveting and dramatic ghost story.
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?
The result is a poignant and powerful ghost story with all the hallmarks readers have come to expect from bestselling novelist Chris Bohjalian: a palpable sense of place, an unerring sense of the demons that drive us, and characters we care about deeply.
The difference this time? Some of those characters are dead.
It seems a little early in the year to be listening to horror novels, but seeing as I’m always on the lookout for something good and something that’s actually scary means I’ll take a book whenever I can get it. Or, in this case, an audiobook.
I originally saw Christa’s review of Chris Bohjalian’s The Night Strangers a few months ago on her blog, Hooked On Books. I immediately made note of it and promptly (i.e. months later) took it out from my library. What I’m most happy about with this book? The fact that I had decided not to read it in print, but to listen to it in audio. The narrators are amazing in this book — their pacing was wonderful and I loved how creepy they made certain sections of the book — especially Mark Bramhall, who sounded extremely creepy throughout the entire book (in fact, I’m interested to see what else he’s narrated!).
Another thing I really enjoyed was the mixed narration, as well as the cross-between with the stories. There’s the story of the airplane crash and how Chip deals with the PTSD, and the story of Chip and Emily’s family. I really enjoyed the atmosphere of the airplane crash — you could almost smell the burning steel and feel the spray of the water as the airplane hits it. I like how Bohjalian made the reader go through the crash over and over again, just as Chip was probably reliving it every day in his mind.
My favourite characters in the book has to be the twins — Hailey and Garnet. They came across as so innocent and naive, not really understanding what was going on in their new neighbourhood, but they knew something was up.
Ultimately, while I really enjoyed parts of the story, I felt that the story of the neighbours, the “herbalists,” was something that’s been done before. I can’t recall really reading any books with the same situation, but I’ve seen plenty of movies where the characters had the same motivation. To me, the creepier part of the book was the other narration, the airplane crash and how Chip deals with it in his PTSD.
If you’re looking for a creepy read, The Night Strangers is one that’s worth picking up. It may not have you hiding under your bed as you read (or listen to) it, but it will make you question your neighbourhood and neighbours, and perhaps the secrets they may keep. Perfect for a night by the fire on a cold, dark fall evening — but not recommended as a book for a long flight!
(Note: After listening to the book on audio, there’s an interview with the author, which was really interesting! He went through some of the tests that airplane pilots go through in the event of a crash, which would’ve still been pretty scary. Worth a listen – there’s a similar interview posted below!)
READ MORE REVIEWS OF THIS BOOK:
WATCH THE AUTHOR TALK ABOUT THE BOOK:
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