I've read quite a few books by Chris Bohjalian, and one of my favorites of his is The Double Bind. I haven't read anything until this point that compared to that book as to how it evoked feeling within me. I was curious as to this book, The Night Strangers, when I read the synopsis because I do enjoy a good ghost story. When you throw in the aspect of psychological trauma and mental thriller, well, I wonder if Chris Bohjalian tailor-made this book for me? I began reading this book right around Halloween and that made it even better for me in that the skies around my house were turning gray and the wind was blowing and the day I finished this book it was a dark and spooky night that was pouring rain. It was one of those nights that gives you the shivers by its very nature and it added to the drama of this book. I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's talk about the plot for a minute. The public fascination with a pilot's heroic landing in the Hudson is at the forefront of every pilot's mind. Some pilots have looked at "Sully's" real life landing as the fantasy job-the chance to show off amazing skill, save the passengers and fly the best planes while gaining fame for being the best at his job. Chris Linton is one of those pilots. He's fantasized and read about everything Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger did since he heard about the landing. What Chris doesn't realize is that he is about to have his chance to pull a Sully. The beginning of the novel takes us into the cockpit of a plane heading for disaster. Chris and his co-pilot Amy are flying a routine flight when they hit a flock of geese who are sucked into their engines, causing a stall-out and forcing Chris to make the decision to land in the local lake. When Chris makes a solid landing, a ferry sends a wave over the plane and capsizes it breaking it into pieces. Thirty-nine passengers die, including his co-pilot, and Chris is deeply traumatized. This trauma seeps into his homelife with his wife, Emily, and twin daughters, Hallie and Garnet. Emily makes the decision to leave her law-firm and move the family to the sleepy little town of Bethel, far from the paparazzi, so Chris can find himself again and the family can have some peace. What Emily doesn't know is that the town of Bethel has secrets of its own. Emily is immediately confronted by a couple of the townspeople who attempt to warn her about the "herbalists" that she spends her time with and the house that she and her family bought. They say little, though, and seem fearful to give her details. Eventually, these interactions will come back to haunt Emily as her family becomes more and more drawn into what is happening in the town greenhouses and a story of a murder that took place in her own home. Will Emily be able to save her family and keep Chris from falling into the madness that threatens to consume him? The book was full of twists, paranormal turns and small truths. There were times that events in the book were incredibly plausible yet so far-fetched that it made me question the line between sanity and insanity and reality and fiction. Could it happen? Yes. Could it be true? Maybe. The ending was shocking to me, to say the least, and never did I feel like I knew with absolute certainty what was happening at any point. I did feel a couple of events were predictable, but only because Chris Bohjalian is a master at putting out the fishing line and then reeling me in. If you like a thriller with a little bit of psychological mischief and little bit of shivering your timbers, grab this book. If you want a book that is entertaining and yet you might need to take a break from it at night, grab this book. If you want a book that is worth the money you spent on it because it will entertain you over the long haul, grab this book. By far, his best work to date. Note: I got this book for free in order to review it. Thank you for allowing me to share my opinions with others.
About This Item
From the bestselling author of The Double Bind, Skeletons at the Feast, and Secrets of Eden, comes a riveting and dramatic ghost story.
In a dusty corner of a basement in a rambling Victorian house in northern New Hampshire, a door has long been sealed shut with 39 six-inch-long carriage bolts.
The home's new owners are Chip and Emily Linton and their twin ten-year-old daughters. Together they hope to rebuild their lives there after Chip, an airline pilot, has to ditch his 70-seat regional jet in Lake Champlain after double engine failure. Unlike the Miracle on the Hudson, however, most of the passengers aboard Flight 1611 die on impact or drown. The body count? Thirty-nine – a coincidence not lost on Chip when he discovers the number of bolts in that basement door. Meanwhile, Emily finds herself wondering about the women in this sparsely populated White Mountain village – self-proclaimed herbalists – and their interest in her fifth-grade daughters. Are the women mad? Or is it her husband, in the wake of the tragedy, whose grip on sanity has become desperately tenuous?
The result is a poignant and powerful ghost story with all the hallmarks readers have come to expect from bestselling novelist Chris Bohjalian: a palpable sense of place, an unerring sense of the demons that drive us, and characters we care about deeply.
The difference this time? Some of those characters are dead.The Night Strangers - Audiobook
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14 hours 7 min
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Ive read quite a few ...
What begins as the sto...
What begins as the story of a pilot dealing with severe PTSD morphs into an atmospheric horror novel. The pilot and his wife, Chip and Emily Linton, move their family to a rambling Victorian house in a small New England town hoping to rebuild their lives after the crash of one of Chip's flights in which nearly all the passengers die. But Chip finds a strange door in the basement sealed with 39 six-inch long carriage bolts. Mysterious enough, but it is also the exact number of passengers who died in the crash. As Chip's mental state deteriorates and he begins seeing ghosts, his wife and children cope with the town's rather odd group of self-proclaimed herbalists. Why are the herbalists so interested in the two girls, and why do they want to give Emily and the girls new names? Truly creepy, right down to the final twist. One of my favorite books of the year.
Please excuse me while...
Please excuse me while I pick up my jaw that dropped to the floor. Ok, now I can begin. Where do I begin? Well, this book isn't the typical ghost/horror book, it starts off slow, but pulls you in to the lives of Chip and Emily Linton, their twins Hallie and Garnet; and those "herbalists" of Bethel, New Hampshire that welcome the Linton family with open arms (or are they?). First off, I'd recommend NOT reading this book while traveling on a plane. I do recommend this book to Chris Bohjalian fans, and they will not be disappointed. As always, Bohjalian drops a bombshell of a plot twist at the end, which is why my jaw dropped to the floor. This book has everything: endearing characters, suspense, ghostly thrills, and just a well-written story to keep you up at night. Highly recommend this one!
I really enjoy Chris B...
I really enjoy Chris Bohjalian's books. Each one takes on a completely different theme and style of writing. This one is a paranormal/ghost story that is more like Alfred Hitchcock than Stephen King. Bohjalian pulls it off very well. Chip Linton is a pilot for a regional airline in the Northeast. Right after take-off, the plane runs into a flock of geese. Both engines are lost and the plane is losing altitude. Chip decides that his best bet is to land in a lake nearby like Captain Sully. Unfortunately, it didn't go well and 39 people die. Chip has PTSD and depression after all of this (understandably). Also dealing the aftermath are is wife Emily and their twin girls Hallie and Garnet. They decide to leave Philadelphia and move to Bethel, a small quiet town. There are a few weird things going on: where does that door in the basement of their new house lead? Why is it closed up with 39 carriage bolts? And why do all these women in town have greenhouses? The story moves pretty smoothly and I found it to be creepy most of the way through. It is a good tense ghost story. The ending sequence seemed to have too much going on but that would be my only complaint. Another excellent read--highly recommended.
By Chris BohjalianCrown...
By Chris Bohjalian Crown Publishers 378 pgs 978-0-307-39499-6 Rating - It'll Do and a Half This is a weird little book. If you are familiar with Chris Bohjalian's work then this will not surprise you. He is a master at New England village life. You understand that his books could not be set anywhere else. There are hamlets in these mainly rural states that remain fairly isolated. This allows all manner of belief and behavior to take hold and hold on. I'm not saying this is a bad thing, I rather like his villages. After reading Mr. Bohjalian you will know what "mud season" is. The author has written about midwifery in the hinterlands, which is not at all like midwifery in, say, Boston. There is water dousing going on (Water Witches), transsexuals learning to stretch certain parts (yes, I know), healers and so on. In Night Strangers we have "herbalists." Remember Sully Sullenberger who landed his plane in the Hudson River? Geese got themselves strung in and around the engines and down went the plane. Mr. Sullenberger accomplished a truly impressive feat. Unfortunately the pilot in Strangers is not so lucky. I say "lucky" because Chip Linton did successfully land his plane in Lake Champlain, but the wash from a boat created a wave that flipped the plane and 39 passengers drowned. Because Chip has been suffering from PTSD, he is taking a few meds and has been unable to work. His wife Emily has decided that what the family needs is a change of scenery and some peace and quiet. So they buy a big old Victorian in a small village in the White Mountains of northern New Hampshire, and move in with their twin daughters Hallie and Garnet. As they unpack they find odd things hidden around the house, most notably a few weapons and a square-shaped door in the basement practically welded shut by 39 6-inch carriage bolts. 39 drowned passengers and 39 bolts, hmmm...... Anyway, a few of the women in town befriend Emily. They all have these elaborate greenhouses, lots and lots of greenhouses, and call themselves "herbalists." These women seem to have some sort of gardening club going on and they use the plants to cook and for herbal remedies and stuff. So far so good. Until the Lintons notice that these women feed them a lot; they bring food to the house and invite them to dinner parties; they have the twin girls learning gardening and recipes after school. Begins with "C" and rhymes with "oven." Meanwhile Chip is decompensating at an alarming rate. We don't know quite whether the ghosts are figments of his imagination, a result of his drug cocktail or if he is having delusions from the PTSD. I don't think it matters where the ghosts came from because perception is reality, yes? The problem with the ghosts is what they want Chip to do for them. Hard to say whether Hallie and Garnet are in more danger from their dad or the herbalists. Begins with "w" and rhymes with "hitch." The end of Strangers is an eye-popping surprise. Maybe not a very satisfying end and by that I don't mean that it should have been a typically happy ending. Neither do I mean that there really wasn't a finale. I just mean that if you are an herbalist you will get to enjoy the story for a long, long time.
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