on August 30th 2016
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
THE HUNT FOR A SERIAL KILLER Evelyn Talbot knows that a psychopath can look perfectly normal. She was only sixteen when her own boyfriend Jasper imprisoned and tortured her—and left her for dead. Now an eminent psychiatrist who specializes in the criminal mind, Evelyn is the force behind Hanover House, a maximum-security facility located in a small Alaskan town. Her job puts her at odds with Sergeant Amarok, who is convinced that Hanover is a threat to his community…even as his attraction to beautiful Evelyn threatens to tear his world apart. BEGINS WITH AN ESCAPE FROM HER PAST Then, just as the bitter Alaskan winter cuts both town and prison off from the outside world, the mutilated body of a local woman turns up. For Amarok, this is the final proof he needs: Hanover has to go. Evelyn, though, has reason to fear that the crime is a personal message to her—the first sign that the killer who haunts her dreams has found her again. . .and that the life she has so carefully rebuilt will never be the same…
¬¬Reviewed by Monique¬¬
Twenty years ago, when she was sixteen, Evelyn Talbot was raped and tortured for three days by her boyfriend Jasper Moore. He slit her throat, left her for dead, but Evelyn survived and she swore she would learn everything she could about psychopathic killers, because Jasper has also killed three of her friends, and she knew he would kill more and try to kill her again and succeed, because Jasper had escaped. Now a psychiatrist, Dr. Evelyn Talbot has moved from Boston to the small Alaskan town of Hilltop where she is one of the administrators of Hanover House, a facility which doubles as maximum security prison as well as treatment and research centre for 37 of America’s serial killers, amongst the 240 inmates. Evelyn has never completely recovered from her terrible ordeal when it comes to trusting men, and she is fully dedicated to her profession. The only almost-relationship she has ever had with a man was the previous summer with Sergeant Amarok, a State Trouper; it ended badly because of Evelyn’s personal issues, but Amarok hasn’t said his last word.
HER DARKEST NIGHTMARE is one of the most fantastic thrillers I have ever read, and I’ve read a lot! Ms. Novak has done exceedingly extensive research, which makes the book so realistic, I felt I was reading about real people. Every chapter begins with chilling quotes from real serial killers, which makes it all seem the more authentic. The title is also exceptionally well chosen: Evelyn’s life has been in lived in darkness, the Alaskan winter is so dark, the killers are darkness personified.
I truthfully find it difficult to review such a perfect thriller. I must confess I had guessed the killer’s identity, it is but a trifle compared to all that happens in HER DARKEST NIGHTMARE, and in a way not that important when looking at the whole picture. The story is multilayered and very intricately, and faultlessly plotted, every page as exciting as the next, there is not one tiny little lull in the action. Evelyn is one of the most interesting characters to feature in a book, I felt for her, I loved her determination to survive and keep Hanover House going, in spite of the locals’ dislike of the facility. Even Amarok, the lone police officer, doesn’t like the idea even though it keeps Evelyn in Hilltop. I must admit I was a bit disappointed that Amarok is merely the Inuktitut word for wolf, and that the Sergeant’s name is really Benjamin Murphy, a Caucasian. But what a hero he is, and so believable: he is younger than Evelyn, he knows about her emotional turmoil and her past, and yet he won’t allow her to dismiss him so easily. He knows they could have something solid, but that it will take time, and he is willing to wait as long as it takes.
The romance between Amarok and Evelyn is difficult, but perfect; the story is beyond riveting, the characters exemplary in the context, every one of them fascinating, although some are understandably revolting, the writing is flawless, the pace ideal throughout, and may I repeat myself: the research done by Brenda Novak is astonishing and makes, in my opinion, HER DARKEST NIGHTMARE the best thriller ever about serial killers. HER DARKEST NIGHTMARE is not a light read, but it is a book that everyone who enjoys a truly fabulous thriller will need, not want but need. I could not recommend HER DARKEST NIGHTMARE any higher; a definite must-read. And best of all, this is the start of a series, and I cannot wait for the next book, of which we get a glimpse at the end. Truly extraordinary! Do not miss HER DARKEST NIGHTMARE!
I voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Readers Copy of this book.