The Nightmare Man by J. H. Markert was my first five star read of 2023. As a writer, I think this one scared me more than most horror books because the idea that your horror story could come to life scared the crap out of me. This scary story is for those who fear their own nightmares.
For parents, if you could find a way to save your children from having recurring nightmares, you would help them, right?
What appears to be a miracle for children to have their nightmares removed turns into a real-life nightmare for them as adults when their nightmares start hunting them. More and more people are found dead, and they all have one thing in common.
This debut made me such a huge fan of this author. Finding the next master of horror is a difficult task in and of itself. To find a story that just scares the crap out of you and it be delivered so well…I mean, how can you not become a fan?
Blackwood mansion looms, surrounded by nightmare pines, atop the hill over the small town of Crooked Tree. 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.