Paranormal Fiction: The Night Strangers, by Chris Bojalian

The Night Strangers

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Question: Throw together a traumatized pilot, a wife desperately trying to hold their family together, a creepy Victorian mansion, and a remote New Hampshire hamlet, and what have you got? Answer: A classic New England horror story. Emily Linton relocates her family to NH for some peace and quiet, following the crash of a jet her husband Chip was piloting. What Emily and Chip encounter is far worse than anything they encountered back in PA. For their Victorian mansion harbors a lot more than dusty old bric-a-brac, and their new village conceals deadly secrets below its charming facade.

Chris Bojalian, who knows well how to navigate his characters through emotional minefields, has crafted a modern day ghost story with all the psychological nuances and menacing Gothic atmosphere of “The Turn of the Screw” by Henry James.

I believe that reading a good book is like watching a movie in your head, and that’s exactly the experience that The Night Strangers provides. These people become real. The emotional punch comes from the torments of Chip’s severe post traumatic stress, and from Emily’s overwhelming fears for her 10 year old twin daughters. The creepiness is provided by a garden club of sorts, a group of eccentric women who are avid herbalists and who befriend the Linton’s. The suspense is created by Bojalian’s masterful timing and prose, and his trust in the power of suggestion, oh so gradually ramping up the tension until the final, shattering, heart stopping chapters.

Not recommended for readers who fear flying, but for anyone else, lock the doors, especially to the cellar, pour a cup of tea (or glass of wine, to steady your nerves), and curl up with a story that’s impossible to put down or forget.


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