The Nightmare Man
Rating: 5 out of 5
"Scarecrows scare. That's what they do."
Blackwood mansion looms atop the hill over the small town of Crooked Tree. Been Bookman, bestselling novelist and heir to the estate, spent a weekend at the manor to finish writing his horror novel, The Scarecrow. Now on the eve of his book's release, the story 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, mirroring the opening of Bookman's latest novel. When another family is killed, Mills and his rookie detective daughter, Samantha Blue, are 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", Ben quickly becomes the prime suspect. He can't remember much from the night he finished writing the novel, but 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.
Okay so this book was intense from the moment I picked it up. I have been in a bit of a slump since Babel but I consumed this book in no time. It was delightfully creepy, with the right level of gruesome, and had me scared to look out my window at night in case a scarecrow happened to be outside! I didn't want to put this book down at all. I NEEDED to know what was coming next. I wanted to know the answers to all the questions the book gave me. The author does a marvelous job of creating this immersive story with just enough creep factor to keep you on the edge of your seat. I think the best part was the various layers in the story which the author managed to tie up perfectly.
The book had so many layers we had nightmares playing an important role, we had murders coming from a book, we had an author who was haunted by his past, a cop with a troubled past, a family full of secrets, missing children, and fear. The book was told in short chapters that would tell events in the present and then suddenly give us a brief glimpse into events in the past. Each chapter left you wanting to know more and it wasn't until the end that things really came together and made sense. I had my suspicions as the novel progressed but I wasn't sure I was right, and I think that's why I truly loved this novel. Also, that ending was cruel.... that can't be the end of things.