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Perfect Nightmare

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  3,462 Ratings  ·  203 Reviews
If you open your house to strangers, who knows who might come in. And what they might be after. Or whom. Now, ponder the unthinkable and surrender to your darkest dread, as sinister storyteller extraordinaire John Saul weaves a heart-stopping tale of lurking terror and twisted intent.

Every parent’s nightmare becomes reality for Kara Marshall when her daughter, Lindsay, van
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ebook, 0 pages
Published August 23rd 2005 by Ballantine Books (first published 2005)
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Bubba Whitney Read at your own risk; you may find yourself sleeping with the lights on! #1=Bird Box" by Josh Malerman; #2="A Head Full of Ghosts" by Paul Tremblay;…moreRead at your own risk; you may find yourself sleeping with the lights on! #1=Bird Box" by Josh Malerman; #2="A Head Full of Ghosts" by Paul Tremblay; #3="Penpal" by Dathan Auerbach. These are chiller/thrillers, not the gory horror. Gore does nothing for me. You'll enjoy these books. I am extremely picky, and nothing really "scares" me. These books did a good job.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Bark's Book Nonsense
Somehow I ended up with an abridged copy of this audiobook. I don't like abridged because I always feel like I'm missing something super important, usually characterization, but this abridgement wasn’t too bad.

This story is about a psycho attempting to create a family by abducting women through open houses. It has tones of that horrible triple abduction story in Cleveland, where the monster kept three women imprisoned for his own selfish needs for over a decade. Truly a horrible, nightmarish tru
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Kasia
Apr 07, 2012 Kasia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Tory
Sep 02, 2007 Tory rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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Mickey DeCicco
Jun 11, 2009 Mickey DeCicco rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
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
Melissa Levine
Jul 26, 2015 Melissa Levine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mark Soone
Apr 27, 2014 Mark Soone rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Lori
Jun 18, 2009 Lori rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
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Angela
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kim
Aug 03, 2014 Kim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Alex Jimenez
Sep 11, 2016 Alex Jimenez rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
John Saul can't write. He can tell a long-winded story full of cliches and predictable plot devices, but he can't write. I've only ever read one book by Saul before this one, back when I was twelve, and I thought it was okay but that's probably because I was twelve. Saul doesn't know how to write teenage girls, everything that is meant to be witty fails, the flat characters grated into my head until I was ready to quit halfway through, the killer ended up being a jip, and there's an abundance of ...more
Amy
Sep 25, 2008 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can always count on John Saul to creep me out with a good story. While Perfect Nightmare isn't one of my favorites, I haven't yet read a book of his that I didn't like. The premise of this story is extremely unsettling - a traumatic event in a young boy's life results in his becoming a pedophile as an adult, except he doesn't know he's a pedophile. He abducts his victims by sneaking into their homes during an Open House completely undetected. Unmasking the monster in this tale wasn't too diffi ...more
Ashley James
Jun 13, 2015 Ashley James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to give this book four stars, as a horror book I think it was the scariest I have read to date. I found myself wanting to check on my children during reading this at night which was a first for me whilst reading. So going by the fear factor I had to bump it up to five stars. I don't know if this book will have the same impact on people without children, however for me as a parent it was definitely the most tense ive felt at times during a book.
Paige Dearth
Jan 09, 2014 Paige Dearth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Been reading Saul for years. Loved this book...fast paced and exciting. Only one part towards the end there was a bit too much detail, but it didn't hurt the story and it picked up again quickly. I would ,recommend this to anyone who likes to read thriller/horrors.

-Paige
J Mcdowell
Mar 17, 2010 J Mcdowell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Kate S
Oct 31, 2015 Kate S rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
A creepy end to my creepy season reading. Looking forward to some more of John Saul's work next October.
Brittany
Jul 01, 2011 Brittany rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oana Kovacs
Finally one close-to-realism book of John Saul.
Sah Angoluan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sheila
Oct 12, 2016 Sheila rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'll never think of a realtor's open house the same again.

This creepy book had me guessing all the way through.
Betsy
Loved the plot and writing. Totally enthralled. 5 stars
Linda
Mar 15, 2013 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  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
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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
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Tiffany
Sep 07, 2015 Tiffany rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review was originally posted on my literary blog at booklyoak.blogspot.com

Perfect Nightmare is my first real horror novel, and it sure did take me for a ride; abductions, rapes, deaths, murder, even a creepy talking head. The real scary part is that I enjoyed every second of this page-turning thriller.


Perfect Nightmare begins innocently enough with a high school cheerleader and a seemingly normal family who has to sell their house and move into the city. The first half of the book effectiv
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Charlene
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
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Deana M
Nov 08, 2012 Deana M rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ashley
Nov 17, 2015 Ashley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Saul’s Perfect Nightmare is an intense, creepy novel about a dark, sadistic man who is kidnapping girls/women from their homes after open houses. Perfect Nightmare borders on a mystery (why is this man kidnapping these women/girls, who is it?), a thriller (fast-paced), and horror. It is the perfect horror book for non-horror fans. There were slight supernatural elements like a “mother’s intuition” and bordered on gory with vivid images that made me feel like I was watching a scary movie. Th ...more
Walt
Mar 03, 2008 Walt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Brian
Feb 08, 2008 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Charli
Sep 04, 2008 Charli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
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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.” 21 likes
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