Come and play with us forever and ever – “The Night Strangers” by Chris Bohjalian

October 7, 2012 at 9:41 pm 3 comments

“The Night Strangers” by Chris Bohjalian, Published in 2012

Again kudos to Bohajalian for his writing – like I said in my review of “Midwives” this guy does a lot of research for his characters and really writes admirably. But this novel, that started out so promising, just kind of turned into “The Shining” meets “Practical Magic” meets “Rosemary’s Baby” meets “Locked in Time” (Lois Duncan can scare the crap out of any teen girl) and so it becomes a kind of really unimpressive, discombobulated ghost story.

Chip Linton is a commercial airline pilot based out of Pennsylvania, happily married to Emily with twin 10 year-old daughters Hallie and Garnet. They are a fairly normal family until a flock of birds fly into Chip’s plane shutting down the engines.  He is forced to make a water landing and 39 passengers die, including his co-pilot. After months of battling severe depression and post traumatic stress disorder, the Lintons decide to move to a large Victorian house in the White Mountains to start over.

The house is quirky with a dark history – but promises to be a good family home.  Until the Lintons move in no one notices the door in the dirt floor basement.  It is a small door that has been sealed off with exactly 39 steel bolts.  Chip decides one day to break down the door with an axe that he found hidden in the house. After that he begins to be haunted by Ashley, a young girl, and her father. Both died in the plane crash.  Ashley’s father wants her to have a playmate in eternity and Chip finds that he may have to make the ultimate sacrifice of one of his children to make amends for the crash and Ashley’s untimely death.

Meanwhile, Emily and the girls have been befriended by a local group of women interested in horticulture who have renamed themselves after herbs and flowers. However, as time passes it becomes clear that the women are interested in the twins in a way that is both creepy and very dangerous.

The disappointing part about this book is that there are really no surprises. Bohjalian has cherry picked parts of some of the creepiest stories that you have already read and applies them here.  The book has such a promising and scary start that I was mistakenly optimistic about where it was going.  I cannot however abandon Bohjalian as an author so I will be revisiting more of his books in the future.   Hopefully none will have a small boy staring in the mirror, a finger raised, saying “red rum” that would just be a bit obvious and Stephen King might have something to say about that.

Now I need to find a good, scary book for these chilly October nights. Suggestions anyone?

scary door Stock Photo - 1640441

Other reviews to check out:

From Pen in her Hand 

From Horrific Knits 

From Turning Pages 90


Entry filed under: October 2012 reads. Tags: , , , , , .

Ah love, true love – “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn Another thing to worry about- “The Age of Miracles” by Karen Thompson Walker

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Deb Atwood  |  October 8, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    For good, scary with literary merit, I recommend The Face by Dean Koontz. Anyone who can throw in the word “deconstructionism” into a ghost/horror story gets my vote. (Not all Koontz novels are created equal.)

    • 2. Emily C  |  October 10, 2012 at 9:08 pm

      Great! I will check it out. Thank you for the recommendation.

      • 3. Deb Atwood  |  October 11, 2012 at 10:58 am

        I hope you enjoy it. Please let me know…

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There is some great literature out there, but there is a lot of bad literature as well. We shouldn't all have to read it. These are my recommendations and thoughts about the books I read.


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