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Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian - Excerpt

Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian - Excerpt

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3.22

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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.

To read more about Night Strangers or Chris Bohjalian please visit Crown Publishing Group at www.crownpublishing.com.
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.

To read more about Night Strangers or Chris Bohjalian please visit Crown Publishing Group at www.crownpublishing.com.

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Publish date: Oct 4, 2011
Added to Scribd: Jun 28, 2011
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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08/21/2013

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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the productof the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons,living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.Copyright © 2011 by Chris Bohjalian All rights reserved.Published in the United States by Crown Publishers, an imprint of the CrownPublishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York. www.crownpublishing.comCROWN and the Crown colophon are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc.Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication DataBohjalian, Christopher A.The night strangers : a novel / Chris Bohjalian.—1st ed.p. cm.1. Air pilots—Fiction. 2. Herbalists—Fiction. 3. Twins—Fiction. 4. Domesticfiction. 5. New Hampshire—Fiction. I. Title.PS3552.O495N54 2011813'.54—dc22 2010045401ISBN 978-0-307-39499-6eISBN 978-0-307-88886-0Printed in the United States of America
 Book design by Lynne Amft Jacket design by Whitney Cookman Jacket photography © Mark Owen/arcangel-images.com
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1First Edition

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raven9167 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Note: I received this book as a giveaway from the Goodreads First Reads program.

Well, this book was not quite what I expected. From the back of the book, I thought this was going to be a variation on the popular "haunted house terrorizes its residents" trope that I typically enjoy. But instead, this novel focused more on the inner (and, in a supernatural sense, the outer) demons that haunt us from traumas we experience and another trope, namely "the neighbors are not who you think they are." I enjoyed Bohjalian's descriptions (though they got lengthy at times...I'm not the type to particularly care about the color of the tights a woman is wearing) and I thought the characters were good, although at times a bit unbelievable. The major strength here was probably the exploration of the characters of Chip and Emily; one attempting to rebuild his life despite a significant horrific event and another trying to support the other while becoming more and more disconcerted by the other's behavior. The writing is top notch as well; while slow going at first, I found myself fairly entranced as the book went on by the way that Bohjalian twisted his plot with his prose and by the general creepiness of the atmosphere he had created.

But the book has two plot lines that don't quite converge successfully, and as I said before the characters' actions were at times incredible. Without getting into spoiler territory, I felt like the parents in particular did not act very parent-like for much of the novel. And then there was the ending. I note from the reviews here that a lot of digital ink has been spilled over the way Bohjalian decided to finish things, and I don't know if I have much to add beyond the fact that I did not like it.

Overall, I rate this four stars because of the fairly decent scares, the good character development in some respects and the creation of a good atmosphere with sufficient detail to make me feel like I was there. But Bohjalian I think should have selected one of the two plot lines to focus on, he could have created A LOT more depth for several of the characters, and he needed to make the ending less gut punching. A satisfying read, but not one I'm likely to revisit.
jammies_4 reviewed this
Rated 1/5
Bleah. For a so-called "ghost story," this was terribly boring. The writing is technically proficient, but the characters are two-dimensional placeholders, which makes for absolutely no tension in the scary plot developments. Those plot developments are telegraphed loudly in advance, and there's no leavening humor or humanity to make a reader care enough to be scared on behalf of any of the cardboard figures populating the novel. Throughout the read I was irritated by the use of second person singular for chapters involving the main character, then ticked when the cat was killed for no apparent reason except to demonstrate which "herbalist" was the Big Bad and finally just bored right out of my little fuzzy socks
jules72653 reviewed this
Rated 3/5
Not Bohjalian's usual stuff. A different ending would have resulted in one more star on my review.
whidbeysue reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Interesting enough but I felt it was very predictable. I also wanted to hit the main characters over the head for not seeing the obvious with their weird group of friends. I would have been running for the hills at the get go.
librarian997 reviewed this
Rated 3/5
Initially I found the book compelling, and the description of the plane crash was unnervingly realistic. The "coven" angle, if that's what it was (it's been a few months since I read the book) didn't interest me; and the ending was really disappointing. I've liked the author's other books that I've read and will continue to read him; this just didn't turn out to be what I expected - and maybe that was the point.
karenherndon reviewed this
Rated 3/5
Well, this was not my kind of novel. It reminded me of a Stephen King novel although I think I liked the actual writing better. That said, the story was good with some nice ending twists and with nothing better in the house to read I guess I have to say it was okay. I won't rave about it though :)
lehack reviewed this
Rated 2/5
I had high hopes for this book. However, I was very disappointed. Was there a character in this book that you could truly like except the children? I felt like I was reading a mash of other books/stories already written. I am sooo glad it was a library book and I hadn't forked over $25.00 for it. This author has written other very good books and I plan to try again, but perhaps at the library.
hemlokgang reviewed this
Rated 3/5
This was a pretty good story if you enjoy the horror genre. There is an unexpected ending, which helped a lot, even if it was disturbing.
bsiemens_2 reviewed this
Rated 5/5
The Night Strangers left me feeling tense. Reading this book is an immersive experience that - I'm sure - will stay with me for months to come. The ending fits most well; it is integrated with the novel and not just a quick clean-up.
pdebolt_1 reviewed this
Rated 2/5
I so wanted to like this book. I am a long-time Bohjalian fan; however, this seemed like a well-written Stephen King novel. Perhaps the supernatural simply isn't my genre, but I was hoping for something of substance from this very accomplished writer. It's amazing that the same author wrote Skeletons At The Feast. I'm hoping he will return to writing books that are memorable for all the right reasons.

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