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The Night Strangers

3.16  ·  Rating details ·  14,364 Ratings  ·  2,728 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-
Paperback, 389 pages
Published April 24th 2012 by Broadway Books (first published October 11th 2011)
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Dec 08, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crap-tastic, ugh
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
Oct 09, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
B the BookAddict
Sep 17, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to B the BookAddict by: Goodreads recommendations

I don't read creepy; my imagination is fertile enough on it's own, thank you very much. So The Night Strangers threw me more than a just little. I actually had this novel listed for the New Life section of my Spring Challenge; a new life beginning in a new town, excellent I thought. But this is not the sort of new life I would like. One of the many Bohjalian books I have read and he's a writer who never cease to please. His prose always excels and the themes are well researched. Bohjalian is not
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was utterly terrifying. Really, really just the most frightening thing in the world... if, like me, you are a nervous flier. Apart from that, there is not a single scary incident in the rest of the book.

In the first pages of the book you will be told that flight 1611, flown by Chip Linton, crashes into Lake Champlain. You will be told this time and time again. You will read it ad infinitum, ad nauseam on every other page. FLIGHT 1611 CRASHED INTO LAKE CHAMPLAIN. You are beaten over the head

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
Nov 17, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, mystery
This Halloween season, I went big with my seasons-readings. I chose It, Stephen King’s massive horror opus. One thousand pages of kids-verses-evil. It is a big undertaking to read, even with an effortless storyteller like King.

Surprisingly, when I finished, I realized there was still some October left. So I decided to pick a second spook-story to round out the fall. I wanted a palate cleanser, something different from the grand guignol excesses of It. I wanted a simple Gothic ghost story, a boo
Oct 21, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, paranormal
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
Aug 30, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

I would give this book two & a half stars if that were an option because it wasn't terrible...but it was terribly drawn out and at times terribly boring. I agree with other reviews that the "witch" element was stereotypical and the constant references to flying got boring after a while. I also thought it felt a little too much like The Shining. It probably doesn't help that I found Midwives spectacular, so my expectations were high.
OK, I've given this 75 pages, and I just can't bring myself to continue. So far, it's been a whole lot of repetition about how the main character was piloting a plane that crashed and ended up killing 39 people. I get that that would be traumatic, and that he'd have PTSD afterward, but there's literally been NOTHING else to this book, except for the very opening section which describes the house and the basement. Everything else has been about the crash and PTSD. Every character, every discussio ...more
Oct 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 01, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Steven Walle
Aug 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Night Strangers was a great book. I would recommend it to all. The story starts out with a small family of four in West Chester PA. The Father, the Mother, and two twin girls of ten years. The Father flies his air plain into lake Champlain and kills thirtynine passengers. The family moves to a small town in New Hampture and meets up with a haunted house and some herbalists who practice the art of witch craft.
The Father is haunted by the ghosts of three of the people who were killed on the p
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
Sep 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, my-media-mall
Pilot Chip Linton is no Sully Sullenberger, which he finds out the hard way when trying to land his commercial jet on Lake Champlain. 39 people die and Chip falls apart emotionally. He, his wife, and twin ten-year old girls move from their once idyllic life in Pennsylvania to Northern New Hampshire, to escape the well-meaning albeit annoying questions from their acquaintances, and hopefully to a fresh start and some anonymity.

So in NH there are some strange things going on, just to set up all th
Aug 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Don't ask me why, but I always thought that Bohjalian was the writer of stories for women. Imagine my surprise when the first one I read (Secrets of Eden) was a bit of a mystery. Then I chose "The Night Strangers" and became involved in a macabre story of hidden evil. What a delight!

I loved that he told this story from different viewpoints....and that the, shall I say hero?, of Chip was told in the 3rd person. It seemed even creepier when you felt that he was always talking to himself. The oth
Aug 15, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 03, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What a letdown of what started off as an interesting ghost story. Instead this book combined two separate plots that never really merged well and for some reason only known to the evil book gods, the author chose to have one of the characters "speak" in second person present tense while everyone else was in third person. Ghosts, hauntings, a haunted house, and witches could maybe have been interesting, but this book as a whole was a massive fail to me. Maybe a better ending could have saved it, ...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.
Oct 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, read-in-2011
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
Jan 13, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 01, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, fiction, thriller
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
Jun 14, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf, book-club
I read 50% then my book club filled me in on the rest. A bit interesting in the beginning but really slow. The ending didn't really shock me when they told me. It was a strange and crazy book. Not my usual read which is part of why I didn't like it. That's the fun of book club though is to get out of my comfort zone and sometimes I do end up loving something I would have never read on my own. This one was paranormal and kind of along what I read but the writing style was weird and slow. I can se ...more
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paranormal
I really enjoyed this book and am surprised at its relatively low rating. A ghost story, complete with tragedy & witchcraft. It definitely gave me goosebumps a time or two.....
Oct 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 and 1/2 stars. A creepy, slowly-developing horror story. The plot has elements of the books Harvest Home and The Shining. There is a feeling of dread that slowly builds, until it's relentless in the final third of the book. You feel like something bad is going to happen, but you're not sure exactly what that will be. There are also psychological elements here, since the father is recovering from PTSD after surviving the crash of a commercial plane he was piloting. Those willing to invest some ...more
Oct 11, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary, mmxi, local
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
Aug 25, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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"
Jul 11, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, suspense

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
Oct 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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What did you think of the ending? 35 379 Oct 07, 2016 08:22AM  
Hamburg Book Club: Quick reminder for October's meeting 1 8 Oct 16, 2014 12:56PM  
Moreover 6 62 Apr 19, 2014 08:01AM  
Read It Forward: THE NIGHT STRANGERS by Chris Bohjalian 14 75 Mar 22, 2012 02:47PM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: The Night Strangers 1 3 Jan 24, 2012 08:59AM  
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Follow Chris Bohjalian on Goodreads to see what's on the nightstand!

Chris is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of 20 books. Chris's work has been translated into over 30 languages and three times become movies ("Midwives," "Secrets of Eden," and "Past the Bleachers.")

"The Flight Attendant" lands March 13, 2018.

Chris's books have been chosen as Best Books of the Year by the Washington Post,
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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.” 16 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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