Seven years after Special Topics in Calamity Physics, Pessl returns with a novel as twisted and intelligent as that lauded debut. Again, the story centers on a father-daughter relationship, but this time the sinister element is front and center, beginning with the daughter's death. The night films of Stanislas Cordova have a cult following: fans hold underground screenings and claim that to see his work is to leave your old self behind, walk through hell, and be reborn. Ashley Cordova is his enigmatic daughter; she appears in his final film at the age of eight, debuts as a pianist at Carnegie Hall at 12, and apparently commits suicide at 24. Scott McGrath is a reporter who lost his job investigating Stanislas and can't resist his need to uncover the real story of Ashley's death. Though the structure is classic noir, Pessl delivers lifelike horror with glimpses, in the form of faux Web sites, of the secretive Stanislas, his films, and his fans. Things slow down when Scott breaks into Stanislas's estate; sustained terror depends on what is withheld, not what is shown. But Pessl does wonderful work giving the hard-headed Scott reason to question the cause of Ashley's death, and readers will be torn between logic and magic.
Review courtesy of Publishers Weekly
A couple of things: Java Vino hasn't confirmed the reservation yet -- in case the location falls through, My plan is to keep the date the same and we will meet in another location (TBD), or possibly just try to make do on Java Vino's main floor if we have a small group again. If just a few people have RSVP'd I may try to make a date change if everyone is amenable, but for the most part, plan on Nov 5. I'll post an update on this.
As far as purchasing the book -- I recommend getting the hardcover over an eReader version -- reviews seem to indicate some of the pages inside have screenshots of web sites that are unreadable on eInk devices. I'm thinking iPads, Android tablets or the Kindle Fire are exceptions, but can't say for certain. I hate pushing the hardcover version of a new book for members who'd like to keep things less expensive, but Amazon has new/used copies at reasonable prices (under $15). I bought mine from Amazon for $8 with $3.99 shipping from a Georgia bookseller (hoping shipping will be a bit faster).