(83) Ghosts and Witches

Title: The Night Strangers: A Novel by Chris Bohjalian
Publisher: Crown
400 pages
Genre: Fiction - Paranormal

I received this book as an advanced electronic galley from netgalley.com It is being released on Oct. 4, 2011

Synopsis: Chip and Emily Linton wanted to escape a nightmare. Months before, Chip had ditched the jet he piloted into Lake Champlain after both its engines failed. His decision led to disaster: More than three dozen passengers died and Linton himself had lapsed into a PSTD response that verges on insanity. Now, he, his wife, and twin 10-year-old daughters have escaped, or so they think, to a decrepit Victorian mansion in New Hampshire's sleepy White Mountains. Before long, however, the house and neighborhood around it become scenes of threatening paranormal visitations and the family is thrust into a realm where uncertainty is the only norm.

Review: First let me say that this is not your normal Chris Bohjalian book.  I had mixed feelings about this book. I have read many of Bohjalian's books and loved all of them but this one was only so so.  It wasn't that I don't like creepy ghost stories because I do. There were really two different story lines in this book, one regarding Chip and his demons, and the 2nd the herbalists of Bethel. I loved the story surrounding Chip. The beginning of this book was terrifying and wonderful. The creepiness factor of this story line alone would have been plenty.

I definitely loved the way Bohjanian wrote Chip's character in the first person, making us feel what he felt, the fear the worry and the angst.  Fabulous.  I've never read a book where you felt like you were in the drivers seat the same way this one made you feel.

As for the herbalists of Bethel, I felt this story line jumped the shark a bit.  I don't want to give too much away but there were parts of this story line that just were too over the top. It was those moments that went from scary to "really? I just can't believe that". In many of his other books the "bad" guys were ambiguous but in this one they were a little more concrete and that took something away from the story for me.  Its like a spooky story that scares the hell out of you until you see the monster and it looks like a person in a rubber mask.  It looses the scare factor and leaves you a little cold.

So on the whole I thought this detour from Bohjalian's normal books was good but it could have been better.