Saturday, November 10, 2012
Audio Review: The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian
Synopsis: 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.
My Thoughts on the Book: This was a very well written ghost/mystery story. I enjoyed the horror elements with the book, which included the ghosts that haunted Chip and the strange neighbors known as the Herbalists. Bohjalian's writing is very descriptive and atmospheric making the story come alive in my mind. I also liked how the shift of POV was smoothly done. The only other book that I've read by Bohjalian was Midwives and that was a very good book. I was excited for this one and was pleasantly surprised of the genre of this book.
The characters were interesting. I really liked the main characters, though I do admit I was not too happy with the results of the book. I felt for Chip for carrying the tremendous guilt of having innocent people killed in his plane, I felt for Emily trying to be the strong one in the relationship and trying to raise her children without traumatizing them more, and I loved the twins on how they cope with their father's accident and trying to understand the new place they moved at.
What I liked most about the book was its spook factor. The idea of finding a bolted door in the basement with exactly 39 nails, the same as the number of people who died in the plane crash, was eerie. Every time the ghosts appeared, I got chills down my spine. The mystery of the Herbalists also had me at the edge of my seat.
My Thoughts on the Presentation: Alison Fraser and Mark Bramhall did an excellent job in bringing this book to life. I liked the fact that two different readers were reading this story; it helped clarify the constant shift of the POV in the book. Alison was able to portray the voice of all of the women in the story, and Mark was able to capture the anguish of Chip and Ethan's trauma. They did a wonderful job in reading this book.
I give this audio book: