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.
Hi and welcome to my review of The Nightmare Man!
I was offered to read The Nightmare Man and since both the cover and the blurb set my spidey-senses all atingle, I gladly accepted. Unfortunately, I soon found the execution gelled a whole lot less with me than the premise.
To be fair to the book, I did struggle with brain fog at the time of my reading it, but I found the story and its plethora of characters hard to focus on. One of the characters is described as discombobulated a couple of times, and all I could think was: well, Winny, that makes two of us. I had a look at other reviews, just to judge whether it was me or the book, and there are a few early readers who found it as chaotic as I did, so brain fog aside, I really do think that it’s not all me and the story is at least a little bit convoluted.
I will say that I kept being triggered to continue and find out what was really going on, I never stopped caring and I never considered a DNF. There are a few really scary scenes in there and let me just state for the record that I was extremely happy I was reading it at a time of year when there were no moths to be seen and the corn field adjacent to my garden had already been plowed.
The Nightmare Man was a mixed bag for me. While I loved the premise and many of the horror scenes, there was just something in the writing and the execution that didn’t work for me. If you’re interested in this book, do give it a try and be sure to let me know your thoughts after!
The Nightmare Man is out on 10 January 2023.
Thanks to Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for the eARC. All opinions are my own.