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Van's Pick: The Nightmare Man by J.H. Markert

A chilling horror novel illustrates the fine line between humanity and monstrosity.

The author has written an excellent first book. He is also a screenwriter, producer, and tennis pro. The novel begins at Blackwood mansion, a brooding, dark home located on top of a hill near the town of New Haven. Ben Bookman, a horror writer, had grown up in the house and decides to return to gain inspiration for his newest horror novel. He falls asleep in his deceased grandfather’s old room the Atrium filled with numbered books without any words in them. He awakens and begins writing his newest novel.

Detective Mills and his daughter are soon called to investigate a horrendous murder where a family is killed and placed in stitched cocoons made from corn husks. These are hung from the rafters of a barn. This murder mirrors the murder from one of Ben’s books and then a second incident happens also mirroring one of the author’s plots. Ben must investigate what is happening opening up the dark history of Blackwood that will not be soon forgotten.

The novel will definitely keep the reader absorbed throughout. There are a lot of ideas presented all at once and it does get a little confusing. Also, the novel has a number of flashbacks that detract from the original narrative. I also found the ending to be a little rushed and a little disappointing. Despite the problems, the author does a commendable job for his first work and the characters are interesting and the story fast paced and terrifying. I am anxious to see the author’s next work. I give it 3 out of 5 stars only because of the problems mentioned.

- Van, Reference Librarian


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