The best thing I got from reading this book was finding out that there’s a follow up arriving soon! This is part one of The Messy Man series, so with other books on the horizon, I’m excited. So as you can probably guess, I liked this one. A lot.
Stories about creepy haunted houses can get a little repetitive and cliché, but this was not the case with The Nightmare Room.
The novel starts with a boy of seven wetting the bed and then punished for this by being locked in the basement by his less than caring father. Only in the basement there’s a strange, evil entity that sends more fear into the little guy than his bastard of a father ever could.
And then we meet Peter and Hannah. This young couple are still coming to terms with the tragic death of their son, Michael. When Peter’s mother and father are moved into a nursing home due to their failing health, the family move back to Peter’s old town to try and start afresh. It’s just what they need, apparently.
Because of details and red tape they are unable to move into Peter’s family home but are instead offered the opportunity to do so in an old farmhouse that Peter’s dad owned, for some reason.
Hannah seems pleased with the new place and immediately gets herself sorted in the town by getting a job in the local bar for the college kids, working alongside one of Peter’s old school friends. Her husband, however, is rather less excited by the prospect of living there. There’s something definitely ‘off’ with the house, as though his presence there has awoken something terrifying.
Well, it has, and that’s not a spoiler by the way. The house begins to dredge up Peter’s past, throwing his mind into insanity. An audiobook narrator by trade (the first novel I’ve read with a character having this job), Peter sets up his studio in the basement. The reader will be shouting that this is definitely not the best place to be doing this, but Peter can’t hear them (duh!).
The first half or so is a slow burn, only showing glimpses of the terrors to come. You just know it’s building to something very unnerving. Big props for the author for this. And even when the story is not out to completely blow your mind with horrors, the interactions and realistic characters don’t allow you to dwell on this. I really liked Peter, and especially Hannah, who’s doing her best to keep things happy after their terrible ordeal.
But come the second half, the scares are notched up, oh and then some! Peter begins to see and hear a strange man walking around, a creepy bird attacks him in the house and then in his dreams. It’s all going downhill fast for our Pete, but he can’t tell Hannah, not after everything she’s been through, she’d never understand. Or would she?
This book was a really great intro to what I hope will be an ongoing series. The situations Peter finds himself in are genuinely scary, and a little head-fucky, very reminiscent of the logic in Twin Peaks. And that, is all I’m going to say on that matter.
I was really impressed with this novel and encourage fans of horror (even if you think the haunted house setting is tired) to check this one out.
Categories: book review