Book Review: Nightmare Man by Alan Ryker

18297261Title: Nightmare Man

Author: Alan Ryker

Genre: Horror, Dark Fiction

Age Group: Adult

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Jessie is not living the life he imagined. He spends his days working a job he hates. He spends his nights tormented by night terrors.

He once had goals and dreams. Now he’s just trying to get by.

Unfortunately for Jessie and his family, while he’s given up on his dreams, his nightmares haven’t given up on him. And right now one is crossing over into the waking world.

The plot for Nightmare Man holds the middle between being familiar and being original. The concept of being haunted by lost dreams and opportunities, and having nightmares about it, is probably familiar to everyone. But Jessie, our main character, takes it a step further. Not only is he doing a job he loathes, he also spends his nights being tormented by a shadow man. Every night, the creature is born in his nightmares, time and time again, and haunted him till the night is over. As the nightmares get more serious, and he even begins to sleepwalk, Jessie realizes it can’t go further like that.

He enlists in an experimental program to help people with sleeping issues. But instead of getting better, the nightmares only seem to get worse. When his young son notices the nightmare man standing in his bedroom, Jessie knows he’ll  have to confront this nightmare being before it’s too late.

Jessie is your average Joe. There’s nothing spectacular or even remotely interesting about him – which makes him the best main character for this kind of book. He works a stressful, dull job, and has long given up his dream of becoming a comic book artist. He’s a well-rounded character with (broken) dreams and aspirations, fears and things he’d wish he’d done differently. And at its core, that’s what this book is about. Not a supernatural creature ready to cause havoc, but about ordinary people, and about what happens when they look at themselves for too long and figure out where their lives went wrong.

This novella was an interesting read. It didn’t scare me, but it caused me to think about humanity in general, and about how often we blame others for choices we made ourselves, and how easy parents blame children for their own lost dreams. The writing was good, and the plot, although not entirely original, definitely held my interest.


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