Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Book Review | The Nightmare Girl by Jonathan Janz

The Nightmare Girl is a horror novel by Jonathan Janz.

When Joe Crawford confronts a young mother abusing her toddler in a gas station parking lot, he doesn't know the little boy will end up in a foster home. He doesn't know that the young mother will soon burn herself alive in grief and rage, nor does he know that the dead woman belonged to an ancient and monstrous fire cult who will stop at nothing to get revenge. After the young mom's suicide, Joe and his family are plagued by inexplicable events. One night Joe smells ashes in his daughter's nursery. A kindly old couple whose house Joe renovated is found butchered ritualistically. Pushed to his limit, Joe becomes friends with the local police chief Daryl Copeland, who decides to accompany Joe to the cult's isolated compound, where the chief is murdered and Joe is taken hostage. Joe awakens in the huge three-story house he has been renovating for a beautiful client and her husband. His lovely client turns out to be the leader of the fire cult. Joe and the little boy he saved at the beginning of the novel are the planned sacrifices of the cult's midsummer ceremony. Joe's wife and some local policemen save Joe, but in a wild shootout the house is set ablaze and the little boy is taken hostage upstairs. Joe is left to do battle alone against the cult.

Wow. Oh my God.

I'm such a fan of Jonathan Janz. His books are over-the-top, unsettling, and so much fun. I thought I knew what to expect when picking up a Janz novel, but I'm realizing I was wrong. We will be blessed with quite a few releases from Janz this year, and I'm excited to see where each book will take me. There was more than one scene in The Nightmare Girl that left me gasping and horrified. For me, humans are often the scariest of creatures.

While reading The Nightmare Girl, I was reminded of Janz's The Siren and the Specter as well as Joe Lansdale's Cold in July. I was pleased to see Lansdale mentioned in the acknowledgments at the end of The Nightmare Girl. Lansdale's influence on Janz's work is apparent, and I highly recommend them both.

If you haven't read Janz before, The Nightmare Girl is the perfect place to start. It was originally published before Samhain Publishing went under and has now been re-released through Flame Tree Press. If you enjoyed Janz's The Siren and the Specter, I think you will really dig this one as well.


Review copy provided by publisher


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  1. I need to read both Landsdale and Janz. I am signed up for a blog tour of Janz's April release through Flame Tree so I guess I'll be doing that soon enough. Glad you liked this one so much. And yes, humans are the scariest "creatures" out there.

  2. I don't think I've read either Lansdale or Janz - but perhaps I should start given your glowing review.
    Will have to go and check them both out. I'm sure I have a Lansdale book on my kindle...yes, The Thicket - have you read it?

  3. I really want to read this one!


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