Stanislas Cordova is an enigmatic, celebrated movie director. His films reach into the minds and psyches of those who watch them, leaving them forever changed. In fact, his movies have such unsettling aftereffects that they are banned from general release. The films are shown at secret screenings, with only a select few fans as their audience. But the talk of what is seen is always present and always leaves those hearing about it uneasy.
Scott McGrath is a respected investigative reporter. When he becomes obsessed with Cordova and makes a public accusation about him that he cannot prove, his career is tarnished; he sees that he was caught in a trap where the rumor was fed to him. There
have always been rumors of dark deeds that are the basis for Cordova's movie success. Unfortunately, McGrath takes the bait of a rumor he has no proof about, and now
he has no job and his marriage is over.
Then the news hits. Cordova's daughter, Ashley, is found dead, an apparent suicide at age 24. Ashley grew up with her reclusive father, tucked away on his upstate New York estate where he spends all his time, even making his films there. Ashley is a child prodigy,
whose piano debut at twelve stunned the musical world. She gave it all up at sixteen as she was poised for a world tour and became as reclusive as her father. Now she is dead.
Scott McGrath feels the same tug as he did before--the need to discover what would make Ashley do this deed. Can the fault be laid at her father's door? As he starts to investigate, he encounters two unlikely helpers. Hopper met Ashley at sixteen and fell in love with her, although he hasn't seen her for years. Nora came to New York to be an actress and moves in with Scott to help him in his research. Together, they start to uncover layer after layer of secrecy and intrigue. Can they solve the mystery of what went wrong and if it is related to Cordova's career?
Marisha Pessl's heart-stopping thriller compels the reader to enter the mysterious world of Stanislas Cordova. As each layer of intrigue is uncovered, what the reader believes has happened is twisted and, when seen in a new light, leaves them reeling at the realization of how wrong their earlier interpretation was. This book will be remembered long after the last page is read. It is recommended for readers of literary fiction and mystery readers.