So the second book that I finished while on vacation (oh vacation, where are you now? Take me back please) was The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian. Spotted randomly on the shelves at Barnes and Noble, I was intrigued by the plot enough to download the book to my Nook. I’m not usually one to go for the “scary stories” but seeing as how I hadn’t read something of this nature in a while, I decided it would provide an interesting contrast to Girls in White Dresses.
In trying to avoid giving any real spoilers, I thought I’d include the “back of the book” summary that I read before starting the book.
“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.”
Interesting right? I thought so anyway. There were some things that really worked for me, and some things that didn’t, but overall I enjoyed the experience of reading the book. The narration style was one thing that I thought worked. All sections narrated by the Captain are done through the first person, really putting you in the mind of this emotionally unstable man. What I thought didn’t work was some of the connections that Chris Bohjalian tries to make between the plane crash and the “herbalists” that live in the Linton’s new town. Neither add up as making sense together, so the reader is left to believe this is really just a sort of coincidence. If you’re able to get over this, then you can probably enjoy the book. If these holes really bother you (and I can understand why they would) then you’ll probably continue to be frustrated until the very end where I would imagine you’d be very frustrated. Because the ending isn’t necessarily what you’d expect or hope for.
This book read quick. I liked the change up in genre; like I said, it’s not very often I read what would be considered a “scary story.” If this is your usual genre of choice, do you have any recommendations? I wouldn’t mind exploring more novels that spook, especially since Halloween is right around the corner!