The Night Strangers
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The Night Strangers

3.17 of 5 stars 3.17  ·  rating details  ·  10,302 ratings  ·  2,145 reviews
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 daug...more
Hardcover, 378 pages
Published October 4th 2011 by Crown
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Imagine if someone set out to write a ghost story that was a combination of The Shining and The Haunting of Hill House, with some forgotten-in-ten-years current events tied in...and then the movies The Wicker Man and The Craft came along and vomited over everything. The result is Chris Bohjalian's The Night Strangers.

I can't even do a The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly-style review, because it's all bad. Instead, I will now present the follow list of reasons this book failed me, in ascending order...more
I feel very ambivalent about Bohjalian's novel in the end, and my feelings about it moved along a giant bell curve while I was reading it. Despite the excellent performances of the two narrators (I listened to an Audible version), I had a lot of trouble getting into it, feeling that it spent an inordinate amount of time re-hashing the minute details of the plane crash that traumatized the sad sack airline pilot. I really wanted to be more sympathetic to his situation, but he didn't become intere...more
DISCLAIMERS: I paid full price for this novel (and heartily regret it.) I read this entire novel (and heartily regret that, too.) This is my first (and probably my last) Bohjalian read. In terms of technical quality and professionalism, the book boasts interesting construction, but I still dislike it.

In a nutshell, the beginning took forever for this story to get anywhere, the middle featured some genuine chills and disturbing moments and the conclusion punched me hard in the belly and roused ra...more

Imagine yourself a pilot of a passenger aircraft, a trip you have made hundreds of times something that you become so used to doing. On one occasion you are the captain of a particular plane and not far from landing to your destination, mid-air suddenly a flock of Geese hit your turbines and all driving power is lost of the aircraft. It nose dives and time is everything with no possibility of landing the plane safely on solid ground the only place to land is the stretch of sea beneath you. What...more
Chip Linton, wife Emily and twin daughters Garnet and Hallie are recent transplants to the little town of Bethel, New Hampshire. Chip is recovering from PTSD after piloting a small commercial plane that crashed into Lake Champlain. Thirty-nine souls were lost in the crash, with 9 surviving. Unable to stomach the thought of flying again, Chip has his hands full dealing with survivor guilt and phantom pains.

Happily, the family is welcomed with open arms to the small community. Of particular notic...more
Never having read Bohjalian before, this was not what I'd expected! At first I found the Jodi Piccoult-meets-Stephen King vibe a little uneven, or queasy, although that didn't stop me from turning pages into the night. By the end, I had to know what was going to happen. The story, which involves a haunted & traumatized pilot who survives a dramatic crash landing, a creepy Victorian house with secrets of its own, a set of young twin sisters, a cohort of small town, New England herbalists, wel...more
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 si...more
Oct 16, 2011 Carol rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Carol by: Author & Publisher's reviews
Shelves: fiction
Someone suggested to me that Chris Bohjalian's Night Strangers is a mystery, No, no, no, my pretty. It is horror, it is psychological terror, it is evil, it is creepy, it is raw and it is the perfect book to read as Halloween approaches. I'm not afraid, after all, I keep telling myself, this is only a book. So why are my nerves so taught. I'm as tense as a wound spring and I find myself gripping the book for dear life.

Bohjalian is a masterful storyteller, one who makes his characters so real, yo...more
Suggestions to the author:

-You do realize that your title kind of has nothing to do with your story, right?

-You had two storylines running through this book (that seemed to be estranged) and I think it would have been better to choose one and write it better. Lazy.

-As difficult as it is to make a story about a haunting completely non-scary, somehow you managed. So, bravo!

-Really? REALLY?!? You hate your readers so much you gave them that ending? I don't require happy endings, but come on.

-It's a...more
While Chris Bohjalian isn't quite in my upper pantheon of favorite authors, he's rapidly working his way up the list. And his latest novel "The Night Strangers" just may be the book that puts him over the top.

It's interesting to read this novel while attempting to watch the new FX series "American Horror Story." On the surface, the two would appear to share the common theme of a haunted house story. And while I've only seen one episode of "Horror Story" so far, I'd have to say that Bohjalian's n...more
I was unfortunately unable to get into this one. I read almost half of this book and the plot was going so slowly that it failed to keep me interested. Plus, the local 'shamans' that kept talking about needing the blood of a twin that had been traumatized in order to complete the ritual? Sorry, you lost me with that.
In my history, never before has a book been "going to get" 3 or 4 stars until the last, say, three pages or so. And then it gets 1. Seriously. I guess I am not the kind of person that should read these kind of books; Gothic horror stories as some people describe them. Yes the writing was fantastic. Yes, the 400 some pages I did like were addictive and wet your appetite for more on the subject. (Yes, I was planning out which book by this author to read next.) Yes, a great many people seem to thin...more
Aug 25, 2011 Becky rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Becky by: Pam
I received this from and it wasn't going to be my "next-read" book but by the chatter among a few of my online book buddies...I decided to give it a whirl.

I have not read a book like this for quite a while, probably a couple of years at least. The book started out slowly for me not picking up until about 1/2 way through. It seemed as if Bohjalian was taking his time to tell the story. It seemed that one day took many chapters.

The story centers on a pilot and his family. A "normal"...more
I was intrigued from the minute I read the synopsis for The Night Strangers before it was even released, so I downloaded it from Audible as soon as it was available. I am happy to say that it exceeded my expectations. I thought it would be a basic haunted house story about a troubled family, but it turned out to be more like The Stepford Wives. Bethel, New Hampshire is not the kind of town I'd want to move to--ever. Bohjalian's prose is absolutely wonderful. I loved how he switched from 2nd pers...more
Who could ever forget the sight of that plane floating in the Hudson River, passengers spread out on the wings like ants on a log... Such an absurdly comic image, yet touching and triumphant at the same time. Everyone on board, a survivor.

Things did not turn out so well for pilot Chip Linton. His attempt to land a jet on Lake Champlain resulted in the deaths of 39 people, and has left him a haunted man. He will live the rest of his life knowing that he is no "Sully" Sullenberger. To escape the...more
I've been reading Bohjalian's books for years now, and they are always well worth the time to curl up and enjoy them. But with this new one, for the first time ever, he managed to kind of creep me out. This one is about a plane crash, which broke the spirit of the surviving captain, and a coven of witches with a need for twins. The captain has twin 10 year old daughters. There's a bit of Stephen King's "Shining" influencing the plot as well. Mix all of that in a cauldron with a bunch of the "her...more

I had observed while reading this book that it is totally atypical of Chris Bohjalian’s writing. I could liken it to Stephen King meeting with Ira Levin's The Stepford Wives! I am bewildered how this author, who penned, Skeletons at the Feast , The Sandcastle Girls , Midwives and many others could present us with a book of this ilk.

After stating the aforementioned, one wonders how I could continue to read this. Generally, I do not find such books appealing. However...more
I had no expectations for this book, and it somehow still managed to disappoint me. I picked it up on a whim at a book sale because I remembered hearing about it; I just didn't remember what I'd heard about it. I probably should have paid better attention.

It starts out with a plane crash, which acts almost as a promise of the cool stuff to come. That promise is a lie. Because then it gets boring. Really, really boring. For a really long time. Like most of the book. Oh my god, the plot - if you...more
Why is it that every book I read lately is, at best, a 3 star? It’s like I’m trapped in a Cosmic Latte sitting room and my only form of entertainment is deciphering vanity plates. Seriously. I need to be roused! Vivified! Medicated! Perked! I need… pizzazz (That's right, I said it.)

Chris Bohjalian is to Vermont what Jodi Picoult is to New Hampshire. What Robert James Waller is to Iowa and so forth. I mean, look at the man…


I’ve read a few of his books… Midwives and The Double Bind --- t...more
Jul 29, 2012 Charles rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Enemies. Someone who wants to be mad at a book. People with too much time on their hands.
Shelves: fiction, horror
Disappointing. Bohjalian's characters largely fall out as two-dimensional. The pilot, arguably the main character, appears unconvincing and unrealistic. At the outset, he seems to be a thoroughly practical man and a competent pilot. A terrible plane crash results in PTSD (and something more sinister...), but the transition from father/husband/pilot to creepy, psychotic threat is too jarring to be believable. One redeeming point is Bohjalian's second-person narration, which drops the reader into...more
Sheila DeChantal
It's hard to believe now that in my early 20's horror/thrillers were my favorite genre. Then, I read everything that Stephen King and Dean Koontz put out there. As years went on, I went away from King, still enjoy a good Koontz, but have really moved on to a tamer, Harlan Coben for my fix. However, occasionally I have a craving (much like I do for 80's music), where I want to dab a bit into the spooky genre, hoping to bring back the old thrills I used to get reading them.

This fact, along with my...more

Just in time for Halloween comes a story that will scare the socks right off of you! Chris Bohjalian has written a novel that could very easily stand up to works by Stephen King and Dean Koontz. Within it's pages, The Night Strangers holds a run down gothic home that is full of secret passages, hidden weapons, and even a dead body. The little hamlet of Bethel is something right out of your own nightmares, where on the surface everything is quaint and lovel...more
I would like to say I loved it, as I've loved a number of Chris Bohjalian's books (The Double Bind, Before You Know Kindness, Midwives), but this felt like a rush job that wasn't thought out well and had an extra melodramatic creepy ending to try and justify it.

There's lots of meditation on the misery of the pilot whose plane goes down and the guilt with which he has to live, the longing he still has for flying which he'll never do again, which some readers will probably find lovely and sad, bu...more
Man. I will never read this author's books again. He's a fine writer, but his endings are just horrific. This book was really frustrating b/c the suspense went on and on (as did his plane crash bits, the author was apparently inordinately pleased w/ his piloting knowledge)and then the ending was just upsetting. It's not that the suspense was a bad thing, nor was the length of the ending, it's just the epilogue REALLY makes me mad. Also:
- his conversations between the kids was awkward and not re...more
Crystal Craig
interesting writing style, creepy, a little repetitive

I'll start with saying, I've wanted to discover the writings of Chris Bohjalian (I always mispronounce the surname) for about a year now. The opportunity finally presented itself when "The Night Strangers" was voted for book of the month in my book club, Sweeter Reads.

The novel started out a little on the slow side for me. It wasn't that the plot was lacking or the characters not interesting, I think what tossed me for a loop was the writing...more
Kelly Hager
Chip, Emily and their twin daughters Hallie and Garnet move to a small New England town after Chip's plane crashes. Chip's a pilot, and he's (understandably) not handling the crash well. This would be hard enough for any family, except their new house is kind of creepy (a door in the basement is bolted shut; Emily finds a knife and an ax, both hidden) and their new neighbors are nice enough but also...well, creepy. Really creepy. And they're fascinated with the twins. Oh, and hey, know what's fu...more
This author seems to be pretty popular, I was interested to try him and what better way to start than with a this book of his, the author's venture into the spooky territory. Don't know if chosing this in audio was a better choice than reading in in paper, but the actors did a good job, particularly the female reader, Alison Fraser, she was phenomenal, great range, my favorite female audio book person so far. The story itself was one of those the family moves into a strange old victorian house i...more
I can't say that I *didn't* like this book, because I did read the whole thing, and it did keep me reading until the end. But I will say that it ANNOYED me, for a couple different reasons. One, the novel deals with a group of "herbalists" who are really "witches." I actually did some extensive research in graduate school on representations of witchcraft -- from Salem through the modern Wicca movement -- and I hated the way this novel fell back on tired stereotypes. The author is careful to say t...more
I was excited to pick up Bohjalian's latest novel, The Night Strangers. I have enjoyed his writing previously. The premise was a bit of a departure from his other work and I was skeptical but intrigued. The story reads like a mad cross between a Stephen King novel, the Stepford Wives, and the Witches of Eastwick. I have seen this comparison drawn in other reviews and I couldn't agree more. The story opens with Captain Linton piloting a doomed flight. Geese have flown into the flight path and tak...more
Scott Foley
The Night Strangers begins with a bang and draws the reader into a story that cannot be denied. Unfortunately, everything that works in the first half of the book is abandoned to an inferior sub plot and finally ends in one of the most dissatisfying conclusions that I've ever read.

Chip Linton suffers extreme depression after failing to land his passenger plane on a lake. This failed attempt results in thirty-nine people dying. Bohjalian depicts an incredibly captivating and horrifying crash, and...more
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Moreover 6 56 Apr 19, 2014 08:01AM  
What did you think of the ending? 33 310 Apr 19, 2014 07:58AM  
Read It Forward: THE NIGHT STRANGERS by Chris Bohjalian 14 68 Mar 22, 2012 02:47PM  
  • Those Across the River
  • Ghost on Black Mountain
  • The Dead Path
  • The Unseen
  • The Cypress House
  • Floating Staircase
  • Ghosts by Gaslight: Stories of Steampunk and Supernatural Suspense
  • Northwest Corner
  • Haunted Legends
  • Manchester House
  • Seed
  • House Arrest: A Novel
  • Isis
  • The Dwelling
  • The Sleepwalkers
  • The White Devil
  • The Painted Darkness
  • Hitchers
Chris Bohjalian is the author of seventeen books, including Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands, arriving July 8, 2014 from Doubleday.

His other books include such New York Times bestsellers as The Light in the Ruins, The Sandcastle Girls, The Night Strangers, Secrets of Eden, Skeletons at the Feast, The Double Bind, Before Your Know Kindness, and Midwives.

Chris's awards include the ANCA Arts and Letters...more
More about Chris Bohjalian...
Midwives The Double Bind The Sandcastle Girls Skeletons at the Feast The Light in the Ruins

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“My mother used to talk about passages and, once in a while, about ordeals. We all have them; we are all shaped by them. She thought the key was to find the healing in the hurt.” 13 likes
“He defined himself almost wholly in the negative: It was not who he was, it was who he was not.” 11 likes
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