Perfect Nightmare
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Perfect Nightmare

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  2,665 ratings  ·  163 reviews
From New York Times bestselling author Saul comes a pulse-pounding tour de force in which a woman's search for her missing daughter leads her into the twisted world of a madman's obsession. Postponed from 2/06
Paperback, 365 pages
Published April 25th 2006 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2005)
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The Blackstone Chronicles by John SaulSuffer the Children by John SaulThe Manhattan Hunt Club by John SaulBlack Creek Crossing by John SaulComes the Blind Fury by John Saul
Best John Saul Books
20th out of 34 books — 59 voters
Table 21 by T. Rafael CiminoWolfsbane by Andrea CremerClockwork Prince by Cassandra ClareSilence by Becca FitzpatrickThis Side of the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
wanna read 2011-12
31st out of 37 books — 18 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kasia S.
Perfect Nightmare was my first John Saul book and it was fast, intense and extremely dark as simple words rang truth in my ears like bells and they were terrifying and depressing but made for a really good horror book. There were no super natural monsters, no vampires and witches but a soul of a man so dark and rotten that it chilled me to the bone as I read this book in two days, as it was a very fast and smooth read. I must admit that the story left me feeling down and sad because it was so re...more
John Saul Perfect Nightmare


When Lindsey Marshall mysteriously vanishes from her bedroom during the night, her mother, Kara, fears the worst. Their neighbor Patrick Shields can easily relate to Kara's grief - he is still dealing with the pain of losing his wife and two children in a devastating fire. But heartache isn't all that draws Patrick and Kara together. He, too, sense the hand of a malevolent stranger in this tragedy. And as more people go missing, Patrick's suspicion, like Kara's, b...more
Hmm. This was alright. Alright in the sense that I cared enough to have something to say about it.

I don’t think that the writing was great, or even good. But it was enough to not put me off completely. The concept of a killer that stalks his victims through the real estate ads was clever.

But the “chilling” parts were just stupid. That the subjects could smell their attacker. It was just over the top, didn’t cause goosebumps, just reminded me that it was a silly paperback.

Also, the reasoning for...more
Mickey DeCicco
This guy is so fucking creepy. This book gave me more chills up my spine than Black Creek crossing; he's starting to equal H.P. Lovecraft as the rare author that can scare me. I swear I didn't want to turn the lights out the other night. Realtors and those selling their homes should read this first ;) Being in the market for a new house, this book hits particularly close to home. Because this story is grounded totally in reality, the horror is even more intense than his other works with supernat...more
Mark Soone
This was a pleasant surprise, as I have heard of Saul for at least 20 years and tried and failed to get drawn into several of his books through the years. Finally though I came acroos this at just the right time, and while I would likely rate it 3.5 stars 4 will suffice...were it not for the ending, which was a little lackustre to me it would have been a solid 4 anyway.

A teen girl, discovers her family must move prior to her senior year of high school and thus ends her hopes of graduating w/ fri...more
I haven't read a John Saul book for many years. I used to be quite a fan so I was quite looking forward to something more contemporary and up to date. This is a pretty scary novel. Certainly if you have children and are of a sensitive disposition you should avoid. The subject matter is grim and it does make for quite an uncomfortable read. The author conveys creepiness and suspense builds well as you would expect from an experienced writer. The book is well written but a little formulaic. Unfort...more
"Perfect Nightmare" by John Saul starts with a nifty premise. A kidnapper targets victims by stalking open houses and homes for sale on the internet. Great idea, and one that hasn't been done yet, to my knowledge, or done to death (no pun intended). The main and core characters are likable, sympathetic and realistic. You can relate to them and you care about what you just know is going to happen.
But starting about midway through the book, I felt that Saul began to lose his focus. Maybe it was t...more
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Laura Ruetz
I really enjoyed parts of this and others, I did not. The good parts - this book works on a few levels - 1, the fear of a a family member being taken and 2 - the creepy feeling you get when somebody has been in your house. The fear that during an open house that people are in your things, touching and taking them, or worse, laying in wait, is written so well that you really identify with the building feeling of terror. The bad is that this book is predictable. About halfway through it is easy to...more
J Mcdowell
High level suspense about a parent's worst fear. Classic John Saul and very good storytelling. . . but if you have kids, you might want to try another one of his books. I've never been disappointed by anything he has written.
This dark, intense book rang true and terrifying making it true horror.
There is nothing supernatural in these pages, only the dark soul of a man that has the power to turn your blood to ice.
Be careful the next time you open your house to perfect strangers. Sometimes, they come back, and sometimes, they never leave.

Having read several of John Saul's other books, I really wanted to like this one. It was an original take. Parts of it were just weird enough to get under your skin, but when I got to Chapter 20 and found myself at the start of a completely different back-story, it was over for me. The thrust of the plot to that point was not strong enough for me to hang in there.

So far,...more
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Oana Kovacs
Finally one close-to-realism book of John Saul.
Melissa Levine
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Mary Cushnie-Mansour
John Saul delves into the dark world of a psychopath obsessed with collecting young girls, and also, as we venture further into the book, a young woman. The perpetrator blends into the scenery, seemlessly; and, with methodical care, he plans each of his kidnappings right down to the last detail.
Enter the Marshall family ... They find they must finally sell thier home and move to the city where Mr. Marshall's job is. The travelling back and forth to the city is getting too much, and they can no l...more
Perfect Nightmare's story could have been a story from Criminal Minds or CSI without all the FBI agents/Police/Forensic Scientists. That being said, it was really creepy. The story was entertaining enough and the characters were quite believable--except for Lindsay, the main teenager.

Okay, I know the perfect student/teenager/cheerleader could exist somewhere in this twisted world, but Lindsay was way too perfect for me. Couldn't she have had a boyfriend at least? Someone in line to be the next h...more
Deana M
This was my first John Saul book and I am hooked. I started reading this book at night and it got me a little creeped out. I am so glad my bed is on the floor with no room to store anything and that my closet is jam packed with stuff. The Marshall's are looking to sell their home because Steve Marshall works in NYC and they cannot afford to have both their home and his apartment. They put their house on the market and soon they have an open house. While the open house is going on, the Marshall's...more
Sarah Angoluan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 15, 2013 Linda rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Linda by: My daughter
I really enjoyed reading this book. I usually read all my books on an ereader but this one I got from my daughter and is a hardcover. It was a wonderful book with all the twists, turns, nail biting, edge of your seat, who done its ever. I expect nothing less from Saul than a wonderful book.
In this one you really do get caught up in the lives of Kara, her husband and their daughter who goes missing. Just vanishes into thin air along with two other people.
All the kids from school come together t...more
‘Perfect Nightmare’ is a chilling thriller about a deranged kidnapper/killer who takes his female victims after hiding in their homes (like under the bed) during real estate open houses, and then when the open house is over he just waits. Oooooooooooooooo. The book is a good mystery and very creepy too; well maybe more than creepy because it’s pretty sick in parts. It also had some tedious and overly melodramatic parts where I wished the author would just get on with the story. I liked the ‘surp...more
After reading and loving in some twisted way Suffer The Children, I had to read more of John Sauls books and The Perfect Nightmare was what I chose. This story definetely was The Perfect Nightmare filled with twists, suspense and drama. This story is every home sellars worst nightmare where the real estate agent was all kinds of messed up however this is what John Saul does best. Hooked and capture the readers attention.
If you open your house to strangers, who knows who might come in. And what they might be after. Or whom. ponder the unthinkable and surrender to your darkest dread, Every parent's nightmare becomes reality for Kara Marshall when her daughter, Lindsay, vanishes from her bedroom during the night. The police suspect that the girl is just another moody teenage runaway, angry over leaving behind her school and friends because her family is moving. But Lindsay's recent eerie claim — that someone invad...more
This was really scary, especially for any parent. The only thing I did not like about it was all of the sexual abuse that had happened and the rapes. I'm not big on rapes. I believe, from my own experiences, that rapes are a woman's worst nightmare. But other than that, I could not put the book down. John Saul is awesome at grabbing a person and holding them down to a book until it's finished. I really do like his books!
Even though it was a quick read, I didn't like it.I felt like the story was all over the place, I couldn't connect with any of the characters. The ending I felt was rushed and not very well explained. This is the second John Saul book I have read, and has left me feeling this way, I guess his writing style is not for me.
What a horribly good read! This book really had me from the first word until the last. A rare combination of thrilling and depressing. This was a goodreads recommendation, I never would have read it otherwise, but I am pretty glad I did.
There were things that I didn't like. Poor Steve! Poor Shannon! Poor everybody! I wanted to feel bad for the sicko, but I just couldn't, not as a grown man. I really don't understand why what was done to Steve was done. It didn't seem like something that was ben...more
It starts off somewhat slow, but once it gets going, Perfect Nightmare is an intense, suspenseful thrill.

Many people don't like John Saul much; even many horror fans pan his work as contrived tripe. I don't agree (except for Creature, which was so predictable that I stopped reading after 100 pages). Saul is not profound, nor is he going to write the next literary masterpiece. However, his writing weaves taught thrillers, some supernatural, and others, like this book, frightening because we all k...more
Sherry Digirolamo
I wanted to give this book 3.5 stars. Easy to read, scary and rather easy to figure out who the bad guy was. Very suspenseful, and I wish I hadn't read it late at night. If you like John Saul books, you'll like this one. Not his best book, but it was good.
Sep 04, 2008 Charli rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anybody who likes a good horror novel.
Shelves: read-in-2008
I finished Perfect Nightmare: A Novel by John Saul about a week ago. It was an excellent read, as are the majority of John Saul’s offerings. I’m not sure, but I don’t think I’ve ever read a bad book by this man.

Perfect Nightmare involves what is every parent’s perfect nightmare - the abduction of their child. Couple this with the fact that in the midst of all this the parents were attempting to sell their home and move to a new city, and you have what can only be described as an absolute nightma...more
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How is it going? 3 21 Oct 31, 2013 03:42PM  
The Manhattan Hun...: Perfect Nightmare (Group Read - Oct/Nov 2012) 3 10 Oct 24, 2012 07:32AM  
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John Saul was born in Pasadena, California on February 25, 1942, and grew up in Whittier where he graduated from Whittier High School in 1959. He attended several colleges—Antioch, in Ohio, Cerritos, in Norwalk, California, Montana State University and San Francisco State College, variously majoring in anthropology, liberal arts, and theater, but never obtaining a degree.
After leaving college, he...more
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“If you open your house to strangers, who knows who might come in. And what they might be after. Or whom.” 11 likes
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