Title: The Night Strangers
Author: Chris Bohjalian
Author: Chris Bohjalian
Publication Year: October - 2011
Edition: eBook and ARC
Source: Net Galley and Amazon Vine
Location: New Hampshire
Date Completed: 9/ 9/2011
Rating: 4/5Recommend: yes
In The Night Strangers , The Linton's, Chris and Emily along with their ten-year old twin daughter Hallie and Garnet are looking for a new home and a new start. The couple decides to move from West Chester, PA, after Chip, an airline pilot, crashes a 70 passenger plane over Lake Champlain in Vermont. A flock of geese flew into the engines, causing them to become inoperable. Some 39 passengers died in the crash and only 9 miraculously survived. Ever since that tragedy, Chris has been plagued by nightmares, flashbacks and depression. He is being treated by a therapist for PTSD. He strongly believes that a change of locale is just what he and his family need.
The family finds a 3-story Victorian home in a secluded area of Bethel, New Hampshire. The house has been vacant for a while, but it seems perfect for them, so they buy it. Only after they move in do they find several oddities about the new house. The major one being a basement door, believed to lead to an old coal cellar is bolted shut with 39 carriage bolts--the exact same number as passengers who lost their lived aboard Chris' plane. The former owners, who lived in the house for some 50 years, also had a set a twins (boys) however, one was said to have taken his own life when he was only 12 years-old, and the old woman who had lived there was said to be "a sociopathically skittish old woman". Greenhouses are everywhere in this town, and some of the townspeople are very odd, popping up when least expected.
What's behind the door with the 39 carriage bolts? Why do a few of the townspeople seem overly chummy and fascinated with the Linton's twin daughters? When strange things begin to happen, it becomes apparent, at least to the reader, that their new place in Bethel, New Hampshire is not quite the miracle new start that the family was hoping for.
My thoughts - I have been a huge fan of this author, and have read and loved most of the books he has written. This new novel is a bit of a departure from what he has written previously. I loved the writing, it's very descriptive and atmospheric, and it is told from multiple POV, which included even the family cat at one point, and even that worked well. What didn't sit well with me was the fact intelligent parents like the Linton's, Emily was a lawyer, and Chip, even if he was suffering from depression and PTSD, could act so clueless, allowing their young daughters so much freedom to spend time with such very new, and obviously oddball neighbors. I saw the ending coming, and I'm not really sure how I felt about it either.
I am still happy I read this book, but it wasn't a favorite. I think this book will appeal to readers who enjoy a bit of paranormal fiction or psychological thrillers.