Monday, September 12, 2011

The Night Strangers; Chris Bohjalian

Title: The Night Strangers
Author: Chris Bohjalian
Publication Year: October - 2011
Publisher: Crown
Edition: eBook and ARC
Source: Net Galley and Amazon Vine
Location: New Hampshire
Date Completed: 9/ 9/2011 
Rating: 4/5
Recommend: 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.

24 comments:

  1. I'm a big fan of Bohjalian's work too. I've known a lot of intelligent parents who give their kids a lot of freedom, so that may not bother me.

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  2. Wow, your review is very spooky! I almost feel like I need to read it, to find out about the 39 bolts!

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  3. I've yet to review but I recently read this and, liking a psychological thriller, I did enjoy it. I found it a bit slow through the middle when the focus stayed too long on greenhouse goings-on.
    Certainly different from his other books.

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  4. I like the atmospheric bit part of your review. I will be looking out for this one.

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  5. I love the premise of the book so i think I'll be on the lookout for this one. Thanks for the review.

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  6. I haven't read anything by Bohjalian. I like an occasional creepy book so this could be a good one for me.

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  7. I'm definitely a fan of Bohjalian, but this one sounds like may be too spooky for me! Yikes.

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  8. I haven't read a Bohjalian yet, though I have his Skeletons book here. I guess I will not make this my first book by this author, instead I'll check it out much later.

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  9. I'm a Bohjalian fan, too, but this does sound a bit different. Parts of it are told from the cat's POV, lol?? Glad it ended up working for you.

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  10. I love how creepy this sounds, even if the parents' behavior was a bit far fetched.

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  11. I had thought there was a paranormal bent to this story when it was being described, so I guess I was right. I have to admit that it does sound interesting, but the fact that it required so much of a suspension of disbelief sort of throws up a read flag to me. I am not sure if I will end up reading this one or not, but it was good to get your thoughts on it!

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  12. I am a fan of Bohjalian's work too. I'll keep an eye out for it. I might like it. Good honest review!

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  13. I will be adding this to my list (I can't believe I haven't done this yet). Love the cover too!

    Great review!

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  14. Bohjalian is hit and miss for me, so I am realistic about this one but still excited to read it!

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  15. I've never read any Bohjalian but wanted to -- I'm a bit curious about this one although I find absent parents in lit frustrating. I'll have to keep that in mind.

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  16. I skimmed since I am reading this one now, but I see that overall you liked it. I hope I do.

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  17. i haven't read any of Bohjalian's works before, but now i want to try one of his works.

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  18. I have read one book by Bohjalian, really liked it, and then have never managed to read him again. I really must at some point!

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  19. not sure I have read anything by this author..and I am afraid this good may fall under my rule of not reading books where people act stupid.

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  20. Sounds pleasantly creepy and like it would be a good RIP read.

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  21. I love his books, too, and I know we have similar tastes, so I'm going into this one with a little trepidation now...but still reading!

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  22. I'm a huge fan of Bohjalian's novels and this one sounds great? Glad to know you enjoyed it!

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  23. I'm not a fan of the paranormal genre, but I'm willing to give Bohjalian's book a try.

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  24. Finished it yesterday...it was a little too out there for me...

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