Saturday, June 13, 2009

Review + GIVEAWAY: Worst Nightmares by Shane Briant

Tags: horror, thriller, murder, serial killer

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Summary

Dermot Nolan is living a writer’s nightmare. The Booker Prize-winning author has not had an idea for a new novel in over a year, and his financial backers and even his loved ones are beginning to get on his case about it. Then what could possibly be his godsend arrives: a crudely handwritten manuscript stuffed in his mailbox. The author, an Arthur K. Arnold, claims that it is his diary, and that all of the murders, done by a man known as the “Dream Healer,” described in the manuscript have actually occurred.

At first, Dermot dismisses the graphic writing as a sick man’s fiction. But even when research causes him to doubt his original conviction—could these murders actually have taken place?—Dermot still goes ahead and publishes the manuscript under his name. The novel is a hit, and Dermot becomes a wealthy celebrity—but when new evidence hints that these murders had indeed taken place, suspicion closes upon Dermot as a possible serial killer. Can he find out who is behind this framing before his own worst nightmares are lived out?

Review

I don’t read much horror-thriller, but I did enjoy WORST NIGHTMARES—if “enjoy” is the word to describe a novel that’s so vivid, so gruesome, and so well thought-out that I found myself shuddering while reading. The chapters often alternate between Dermot’s third-person point of view and the point of view of the Dream Healer, so that you’re never settled: you’re either in the mind of a merciless, albeit creative, serial killer, or else you’re witness to Dermot’s mental breakdown and self-doubts.

There are not that many characters in WORST NIGHTMARES, but those who are present are quite well-drawn for a thriller novel. Of course, its genre practically demands that more attention be paid to the plot than to the characters, but even so, Dermot and his wife Neela’s reactions to an unusual and volatile situation are believable and justified. All of the decisions they make—both bad and good—are the result of a very real, very human thought process.

The one major thing I found lacking in this novel was its predictability. Maybe it was just me, but I had my hunch as to who the mastermind behind the killings was about a third of the way through, and, in some of the slower moments, the desire to verify the accuracy of my hunch (I was right) was what kept me going. I’m not a fan of predictability, but if that doesn’t bother you much, and if you allow your mind to shut off just enough to overlook a few other minor flaws—questionable relationship dynamics, occasionally slow pacing, and loose ends—then the issues I had with this book won’t bother you all that much.

All in all, WORST NIGHTMARES is a good read in a genre that’s become increasingly tough to stand out in. It’s not a book I’d have picked up on my own, but fans of horror and thriller novels need to read this Shane Briant standout in order to truly understand it.

Similar Authors
Stephen King
Thomas Harris (The Silence of the Lambs)
Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code)

Writing: 4/5
Characters: 3/5
Plot: 4/5

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Thank you, Imran and Vanguard Press, for sending me this book for review!

-

Interested? Sound like your type of book? Want something to make your toes curl in the middle of the night? The fantastic Imran from Meryl Moss Media Relations has kindly provided me with two copies of WORST NIGHTMARES--and they can be yours!

To enter, leave a comment below with the name of your favorite horror or thriller read (if you don't like those genres, explain why).

Extra entries:
+1 for following me (and letting me know below)
+1 for linking to me somewhere

Sorry, US and Canada only (these are BIG books!). This contest will end on Tuesday, June 30.

64 comments:

  1. My favorite thriller would be The Da Vinci code by Dan Brown. I thought it was fun trying to decipher everything right along with the characters.

    I'm a follower too.

    jac8604(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  2. mine would be any of the agatha christie books it is hard to pick one i find them captivating thanks for the giveaway minsthins at optonline dot net

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love Stephen King..The Stand is my favorite .

    madamerkf at aol dot com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anything by Stephen King. The Dark Tower series is my favorite.

    I am a follower

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

    ReplyDelete
  5. Usually I'm a big Stephen King and Dean Koontz fan, but right now I am loving a book by Brian Keene.

    nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

    ReplyDelete
  6. I follow

    nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

    ReplyDelete
  7. I just finished Afraid. It was hard to get into but was definitely scary!!
    I only tackle horror/thrillers once in awhile.

    +2 follower

    mj.coward{at]gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. IT is the most terrifying book I have ever read.
    throuthehaze at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  9. follower
    throuthehaze at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  10. I like The Stand by Stephen King. It is one of my all time favorite books.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Uh oh this sounds fabulous. I want to read it too. Don't count me in though : )

    ReplyDelete
  12. my fave thriller reads would be the Alex Cross books by james Patterson

    I am a follower

    msboatgal at aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. I just finished reading "The Witching Hour" by Anne Rice and it is now my favorite "horror"!


    texas_heartland84[at]yahoo[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  14. Please inlcude me in your giveaway.
    Thanks
    Carlene
    iluvreading(at)verizon.net

    ReplyDelete
  15. I am a follower.
    Thanks
    Carlene
    iluvreading(at)verizon.net

    ReplyDelete
  16. I don't know why but I love reading murder mysteries. I primarily read murder mysteries for light reading or novels that would be considered "dramas" if made into film for heavier reading. I read a lot of Patterson, Mary Higgens Clark, Harlan Coben, would love to read this.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Mary
    zenrei57 (at) hotmail (dot) com

    I'd have to pick just about anything by Preston & Child (either writing as a team or individually)
    One of my (other) all-time favs was Salem's Lot by Stephen King and also, The Mist

    ReplyDelete
  18. the stand by stephen king
    pksanddancer(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  19. follow
    pksanddancer(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  20. I have so many favorite Mystery/Horror/Thriller authors, King, Patterson, Koontz, Rice, Johnathan Kellerman and Cornwell, I can't pick just one. I would say It was probably the one that kept me up at night, truly creepy, chilling read.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I liked Stephen King's Carrie.
    Thanks for the giveaway!
    Kimspam66(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  22. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris was one of my favorites


    "Canadian Contests, Freebies, Coupons, Deals, Games and Fun:
    CoolCanucks.ca"


    bluebelle0367(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  23. I follow


    "Canadian Contests, Freebies, Coupons, Deals, Games and Fun:
    CoolCanucks.ca"


    bluebelle0367(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  24. Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Jonathan Kellerman, Stephen White, and John Sanford to name a few.
    digicat{AT}sbcglobal{DOT}net

    ReplyDelete
  25. I follow on Blogger
    digicat{AT}sbcglobal{DOT}net

    ReplyDelete
  26. I am currently reading "The Terror" By Dan Simmons and it may be one of my new favorite. I love the horror and thriller genre. Thanks for the chance

    jason(at)allworldautomotive(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  27. I would love to read this.
    My favorite is Stephen King's IT.
    Thanks

    darkfyre1(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  28. Enter me! I'm a follower.
    I'm not usually a fan of scary stories but I'd be willing to give this one a chance.
    bball11kt@sbcglobal.net

    ReplyDelete
  29. I'd love to enter! I love Nicholas Sparks~!
    cnhand84 at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  30. I like all of the Jonathan Kellerman novels with Alex Delaware with Private Eyes being my favorite.
    Thanks!
    1bmore @ gmail . com

    ReplyDelete
  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  32. the best thriller is the bone collector fron Jeffrey Dever scary!

    ReplyDelete
  33. My favorite thriller read is probably Tell No One by Harlan Coben, he's an amazing writer, so face paced.

    barbrafl737 (at) yahoo (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
  34. That is a very tough question but I think I will pick "Ghost Story" by Peter Straub, with "The Shining" by Stephen King a close second. Thanks!
    freebs59@sbcglobal.net

    ReplyDelete
  35. I am currently reading Angels and Demons by Dan Brown. It has it's twists.

    ReplyDelete
  36. I like Steven King books.

    Thanks for the contest!

    hillary1128@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  37. Hmm I havent read any thriller books before but I love thriller movies so this would be a good first for me

    And I follow

    Mandy,
    bratdownstairs@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  38. I guess I would have to choose Stephen King as he is the master of them all and I bet others on this thread have chosen him also. Thanks for the chance to win.

    espressogurl at hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  39. Follower. (rubymoon/Ally/Blogger)

    contact: espressogurl at hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  40. I don't have a favorite horror book, but I do love the Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz.
    jwx4 at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  41. I blogged it:

    http://cerebralgirl.blogspot.com/2009/06/book-giveaways-in-blogworld-06-20-09.html

    ReplyDelete
  42. I like Stephen King's The Stand.

    I'm a follower

    elaing8(at)netscape(dot)net

    ReplyDelete
  43. My favorite horror read would be Afraid by Jack Kilborn.

    I'm a follower.

    lovinfitch(at)aol(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  44. My favourite horror read is "The Dead" by Mark E. Rogers. "Worst Nightmares" looks like a good read, please enter me into this drawing.

    Thanks for hosting this giveaway.
    jake.lsewhere[at]gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  45. I've also blogged about this giveaway here.

    Thanks,
    jake.lsewhere[at]gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  46. I like Stephen King books. Would love to read your giveaway book.
    pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

    ReplyDelete
  47. Pet cemetary-stephen King is my fav. I didn't sleep much when I was reading it. thanks! jacquecurl1@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  48. oops! forgot to put I am a new follower. jacquecurl1@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  49. Count me in for this contest. Two of my all-time favorites in horror are "Cell" by Stephen King and "I Am Legend" by Richard Matheson. Very good chills to be had in each of those titles.

    +1 I have been a follower of this blog for a little while now.

    +1 I have placed a link to this contest on my own blog in the top-right corner. (http://waggingthefox.blogspot.com/)

    rabidfox(at)ymail.com

    ReplyDelete
  50. CAPE FEAR was my favorite horror/thriller to read. This genre is my favorite.

    ssummmer(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  51. I am a follower

    ssummmer(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  52. What a great giveaway!

    Im a follwer!

    Liz

    liztapioka14 [at] yahoo [dot] com

    ReplyDelete
  53. I'm also a big Stephen King fan so I would say "The Shining" was the scariest book to me.

    waitmantwillie AT hotmail DOT com

    ReplyDelete
  54. I am a follower.

    waitmantwillie[at]hotmail[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  55. It's such a hard choice I'm just going to say anything by Stephen King.
    flayla14(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  56. My favorite is so typical - Dracula by Bram Stoker. It's a classic and I just love it.

    leavemespeechless@redwall.net

    ReplyDelete
  57. I loved afraid by Jack Kilborn.

    I'm a follower.

    lovinfitch(at)aol(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  58. Stephen King and James Patterson books

    I am a follower

    4Sage@optonline.net

    ReplyDelete
  59. I thought It by Stephen King was pretty creepy. I follow you, and I posted this contest on my sidebar (towerofbooks.wordpress.com)

    towerofbooks(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  60. My favorite horror/thriller is "The Mist" by Stephen King.

    Please count me in - Thanks!
    megalon22 at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  61. Our favorite thriller would have to be Angels and Demons (we don't read too many thrillers). This one sounds interesting. We're followers.

    Beth & Nathan
    bnbookblog@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete

Hello! I'm so excited to read what you have to say. Due to high amounts of spam, I'm forced to disabled anonymous comments for the time being. Sorry for any inconvenience this causes, and I hope you can understand and still appreciate the content here!

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