I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.
I have long had a love/hate relationship with Chris Bohjalian. On the one hand, he is a gifted writer and storyteller. On the other, I often want to throw the books across the room once I have finished them. I found THE DOUBLE BIND particularly disturbing and troublesome. So, it was with great trepidation that I picked up his latest book, THE NIGHT STRANGERS.
Chip Linton is a seasoned airline pilot with a perfect flying record, the perfect wife and the perfect twin girls. When the plane he is piloting crash lands in Lake Champlain due to a mid-air collision with birds, his life is changed forever. As one of the few survivors of the plane, Chip must deal with his survivor's guilt. In an effort to rebuild his life and family, the Lintons buy a large Victorian home in a small White Mountain town. The house seems like a dream come true except for the creepy basement with the door that is bolted closed with 39 bolts. Chip becomes obsessed with the door and what may lie behind it. As Chip struggles with his demons, his wife and daughters are befriended by the local eccentrics, a group of herbalists all named for various herbs and plants. Emily Linton finds herself drawn in by this group even as they show an almost unnatural interest in her twin daughters, Hallie and Garnet. Does something sinister lie within the house itself? Or within the cultlike group of plant enthusiasts?
This book is incredibly creepy without being explicit. For me, it had the feel of ROSEMARY'S BABY or THE WICKER MAN. The story was thoroughly engrossing and I loved how the storyline and its outcome wasn't completely obvious. I am anxiously awaiting others to read the book so we can discuss the ending. This was a great read for fall and a very effective suspense novel for those who don't care for gore but like to be spooked!
BOTTOM LINE: Highly recommended. A terrific read with just the right amount of creepiness. Bohjalian really won me over with this one.