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Cynically Speaking

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Review: Night Film and Gone Girl


I am reviewing these two together as they both fall in the genre of 'Psychological' mystery/thriller.  Note:  These two books have nothing else in common.


I am more of a crime/murder/police/PI mystery/thriller (is that enough "/"s for you?  I will try to restrain myself), and the word 'psychological' added does not engender any more desire for me to read the book.


However, Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn, was 'the' read this past summer and Night Film, by Marisha Pessl, was reviewed in the NYT Book Review.  I was intrigued by both.


I read Night Film first and was very impressed.


Let me mention here I exclusively read eBooks.  I have since 2010.  This is not a discussion of ebooks versus paper books, but I was sorely disappointed to discover the additional material and app at the END of the book.  First, this is an ebook for goodness sake's, why do I need an app?  Just add the content to the ebook with highlighted links I can touch and give me the content.  It would have greatly added to the "immersive" experience to have listened to Inez Gallo's Oscar acceptance speech at the appropriate time in the book instead of at the end.  I am very disappointed in the publisher, Random House.  


Night Film uses authentic looking articles and web pages to great effect, and Ms. Pessl keeps the story moving along taking you down the 'rabbit hole'.  A rabbit hole you willingly go down.


I am thinking about changing my rating to 5-stars; but I will not because of the ineptitude of Random House.


  • Note to Authors - be very diligent in your digital rights; take care in the delivery of your content in eBooks.  It is important.


Gone Girl is a very different read.  I have scanned through reviews and Night Film's reviews are consistent overall, with the usual flames from those who probably have no business reading the book in the first place (or just like to flame!).  Gone Girl, however, has very passionate reviews at both end of the spectrum.  From raves to hate.


And that is exactly what Ms. Flynn does to her readers in this book.  It is very disconcerting to have your empathy for a character ripped from you so quickly and completely that is makes it difficult to finish the book.


I also give Gone Girl 4-Stars.  Ms. Flynn's execution is flawless.  I wished Ms. Flynn had spent more time giving depth to some of the supporting characters.  In particular to Nick's twin sister, Go,, or Detective Boney.  But upon further reflection, any supporting character development would have given the reader something to anchor them when the storm hits.  Ms. Flynn structures this book so the reader has no anchor.


I don't particularly like books where I can't like any of the characters.  That's why I did not give Gone Girl 5-stars.


Last Note:  If you have read any of my reviews, you probably notice I do not spend a lot of time on what the plot of the book.  I figure the publishers and other reviewers do a better job than I can ever do summarizing the plot.  I try to express how the book made me feel or what stood out to me.  Hopefully, I occasionally succeed.