Welcome to October, the month of Halloween and horror fiction. We begin with a ghost story by Chris Bohjalian.
Justin Cronin, author of The Passage, wrote a guest review on Amazon.com. Just what is The Night Strangers? “It’s a psychological thriller. It’s a domestic drama, the story of a family coping with the aftermath of dislocation and disaster. It’s a book about a specifically American locale, in this case a small town in a remote corner of New Hampshire. It’s a classic New England ghost story.”
Bohjalian has written other books with teen appeal, including Secrets of Eden (Crown, 2010), The Double Bind (Crown, 2007), and Before You Know Kindness (Shaye Areheart, 2004). I find his unreliable narrators fascinating, and especially enjoy his use of The Great Gatsby in my personal favorite, The Double Bind.
Adult/High School–Horror can begin on the most ordinary of days. For Chip Linton, piloting a routine flight from Philadelphia to Burlington, it began with geese. Geese that covered the plane and choked the engines, forcing an emergency landing on Lake Champlain. If Chip could have guided the plane into a clean landing, the horror would have ended there. But it was not a clean landing. Thirty-nine passengers died, including a young girl and her grief-stricken father, and a woman who had been in Philadelphia for a job interview. Chip would meet these tormented souls again, over and over, in the dark months ahead. He and his wife, along with their 10-year-old twin daughters, try to start again by moving into an old house in isolated North New Hampshire. It’s a strange house with a dark secret in its past, centered on the mysterious door in the basement secured by 39 carriage bolts. Bohjalian, a magician of a storyteller, relates the ensuing months with taut menace. There are the oddly well-meaning neighbors who are excessively interested in the twins. And Chip’s nighttime wanderings, when the ghosts of dead passengers beg him to commit a terrible crime. This is a book for teens who want something scary, something that will keep them reading long into the night. Like Jodi Picoult, Bouhjalian is an author whom readers will continue to follow past the teen years.–Diane Colson, New Port Richey Library, FL