Thursday, October 27, 2011
The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian (R.I.P.)
It draws some characteristics from several hallmark novels of witches, paranormal, and frightening books, but I was mostly reminded of Rosemary's Baby, a genuine classic in paranormal suspense. The Night Strangers does not come close.
Although the suspense (that vague, unspecified threat) hangs in the air from the beginning, there are portions that are very slow, especially those dealing with Captain Chip Linton's disastrous final flight. Aftert the first third of the book, the suspense has lost its impact.
I found the second person voice of Chip Linton annoying. Not just the use of second person, but the voice itself was annoying. The family's complete and utter failure to have a normal reaction to their new "friends" in the small town gave me the willies. The attempt to justify their lack of perception by bringing up Chip's trauma and survivor's guilt (over and over) didn't work for me. Chip and his wife were almost scarier to me than the "herbalists" (with an unhealthy interest in the couple's twin daughters) that befriend them .
A great deal of time is spent on the old house the couple buys, and its oddities, but truthfully, except for the door in the basement, none of the other oddities have any purpose or genuine connection to the story. It is as if the author couldn't decide who or what was the real threat in the novel.
I've put off reviewing this because I was so disappointed in it, but one more detail (Spoiler Alert!!!) -- nobody in town noticed that some of the individuals didn't age. I was OK with this for a while, but when at the end, it was revealed that some of the characters were over 100...I just threw up my hands.
Other Opinions: Night Light Reviews (loved it), The Bookish Librarian (loved it), Whimpulsive (liked it),
Scott William Foley (finally someone who had similar thoughts!), and Fancy Terrible (again, similar opinion to mine)
I had a hard time finding anyone who shared my opinion. Most of the reviews were extremely positive.
Fiction. Supernatural. 2011. 400 pages.