THE NIGHTMARE GIRL | Jonathan Janz
02.14.2019 | Flame Tree Press
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
What would you do if you found yourself at a gas station witnessing a young mother abusing her child? Would you step in to stop her? Joe Crawford finds himself in this very situation. His decision to interfere and stop the mother sets off a chain reaction of events that will turn his life upside-down.
There is more to the story of this mother than what lies on the surface. She comes from an ancient fire cult that isn’t afraid to murder those that stand in their way or object to their actions. The cult leaders have summoned their most deadly hunters and sent them on the prowl for Joe and his family. They are out for blood and revenge.
Over the past year I have been working to expand my reading basis further into the horror genre. As I take baby steps in finding what works for my reading tastes, I am constantly taking notes of well-loved authors in the horror community. Jonathan Janz has become one of those names that I seem to spot everywhere I turn. Janz has been on my radar for several months, but I haven’t known exactly what book to pick up first. Thanks to my Night Worms subscription, I didn’t have to choose, as THE NIGHTMARE GIRL was featured in the March box from this service.
The first thing I noticed about Janz is his fluid and engrossing writing style. He quickly laid the basis for this story with the altercation at the gas station and then seamlessly let the chain of events unfold. I loved how everything was so connected. You could see how each of Joe’s choices led to the resulting action, either by himself or the cult. Every bit of the story feels simultaneously methodically plotted, but also natural and easy-to-believe. The fact that the event that launches this book is a very real situation that could happen to anyone and that Joe is your average guy, truly amplifies the readers ability to relate to this story.
The characters that make up the case of THE NIGHTMARE GIRL are delightfully well written. As I already mentioned, Joe lends himself to the relatability of the story. His family and police chief, Daryl Copeland, also fall in that category. In fact, Copeland ended up being my absolute favorite character of the novel! Who doesn’t love a hardened cop who spends his free time with a romance novel? In addition to the characters you will fall in love with, Janz provides a litany of those who will make you cringe. The entire cult basically creeped me out to no end. Just wait until you meet this group!
As the story progresses tension starts to ooze from the pages and the reader is left on the edge of their seat wondering what will happen and who will survive. The final few chapters were almost like watching a movie hit its peak. There is gore and violence, but it’s fitting for the story and the cult Joe finds himself pitted against. It is at the end of the day a classic horror story and a little guts need to be spilled! Janz also artfully weaves a supernatural element into the history of this cult, which makes them undeniably a fascinating group. If you’re looking to up the scares in your TBR, I highly recommend giving this one a go!
Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.