The Nightmare Man is a book filled with folklore come dangerously to life. Folklore that was told to one of our main characters, Ben Bookman, by his grandfather when he was a child. Nightmares that he put into the books he writes, including his latest release, The Scarecrow. A book he wrote in three days at his family home, the Blackwood mansion, in his grandpa’s strange room called The Atrium. The room is filled with books with no titles, only numbers, and no words in them.
After The Scarecrow‘s release, the murders in the book begin happening in real life. Detective Mills can’t help but suspect Ben since the first murder occurred before the book was officially released. Also because he remembers Ben from a past case he worked on. The disappearance of Ben’s younger brother, nearly 30 years ago. Mills solves every strange case thrown his way, and nearly every criminal in Crooked Tree are very strange, but the disappearances of several children haunt him, including the youngest Bookman boy.
What, if any, are the connections to Ben’s experience writing in that strange room and the devastating events playing out in Crooked Tree? And are the murders the only thing connected to the Blackwood mansion and the history within it? There are many mysterious ties throughout the town that have begun to tangle that Detective Mills must carefully work out.
You will devour these pages as the puzzle pieces click together one by one until the horrifying picture shows itself in full for us to ogle at. The final piece is shocking enough on its own but put together with the rest brings a new meaning to the picture as a whole. J.H. Markert really knows how to build a nightmarish world and make it seem real. I was pulled into that world from the very beginning of the story and stayed absorbed through to the last page. This was truly a dark treat so, if that’s your thing, I highly recommend you give The Nightmare Man a try.