by Marisha Pessl

Reviewer Rating:
5

Review

Sam McGrath is a disgraced journalist out running late one night when he sees a menacing, seemingly supernatural, woman in a memorable red coat.  The next day he learns about her suicide and realizes it was Ashley Cordova, the daughter of the reclusive, avant -garde filmmaker, Cordova, producer of some unforgettable horror films that have generated a secretive and ardent cult following. McGrath’s inaccurate expose of Cordova years ago is what ended his career and no one has seen Cordova for decades. But was it suicide? McGrath has his doubts. Even though Ashley had just escaped from a mental institution, McGrath has knowledge of the weird life she lived at the Peak, Cordova’s inaccessible estate where he shot all of his movies.  McGrath teams up with Hopper, Ashley’s old boyfriend, and Nora, a coat check girl, who was the last person to see Ashley alive, to try and find out what really happened to her.  Their investigations lead them into a world of satanic rituals, witchcraft, and rumors that Ashley was possessed by the devil.  McGrath thinks there has to be a rational explanation, but as things get weirder and weirder he finds himself believing in the unbelievable.  Can they survive their quest to find the elusive Cordova and the secrets behind Ashley’s death?

The book interjects fictionalized photos, police reports, interviews, and newspaper articles that cleverly move the story forward and allow the reader to feel like part of the investigation.  I reached a point where I couldn’t stop reading this creepy tale and I also needed to know if there was a rational explanation for all the weird pieces of the Ashley puzzle.  Definitely miles above your average mystery or horror story.
 

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