Book Review | The Nightmare Man by J. H. Markert

Monday, October 31, 2022

Summary: Blackwood mansion looms, surrounded by nightmare pines, atop the hill over the small town of New Haven. Ben Bookman, bestselling novelist and heir to the Blackwood estate, spent a weekend at the ancestral home to finish writing his latest horror novel, The Scarecrow. Now, on the eve of the book’s release, the terrible story within begins to unfold in real life.

Detective Mills arrives at the scene of a gruesome murder: a family butchered and bundled inside cocoons stitched from corn husks, and hung from the rafters of a barn, eerily mirroring the opening of Bookman’s latest novel. When another family is killed in a similar manner, Mills, along with his daughter, rookie detective Samantha Blue, is determined to find the link to the book — and the killer — before the story reaches its chilling climax.

As the series of “Scarecrow crimes” continues to mirror the book, Ben quickly becomes the prime suspect. He can’t remember much from the night he finished writing the novel, but he knows he wrote it in The Atrium, his grandfather’s forbidden room full of numbered books. Thousands of books. Books without words.

As Ben digs deep into Blackwood’s history he learns he may have triggered a release of something trapped long ago — and it won’t stop with the horrors buried within the pages of his book.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

My Thoughts: I wanted to read as many horror and thriller books as I could in October. I was grateful Netgalley approved me for this book, because it was definitely a good horror read and gave me some Stephen King vibes.

I didn’t like Ben at first. He could have avoided a lot of the trouble he faced if he just opened up to those who loved him, especially his sister and his wife. Keeping it to himself just made him seem guilty.

I also liked that in addition to being a horror book, this was also a mystery that had some twists. Twists that I kind of guessed, but so did not see coming at all. I like how the author did the nightmares, how they went away and came back, how they became real…all of it.

I liked how this story played out…having someone copying the kills in Ben’s books. While not an original idea, it was done very well in this book, especially since the first copycat murder took place before the book was released.

The ending was really good, too. It all came together so well. If you’re into horror reads, definitely recommend. I hope there is a second book.

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