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The Nightmare Room

(The Messy Man #1)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  1,567 ratings  ·  293 reviews
A boy in a basement, a man in a booth and a darkness that threatens to swallow them both...

New York audiobook narrator Peter Larson and his wife Hannah head to his hometown of Maple City to help Peter's ailing father and to put a recent tragedy behind them. Though the small, Midwestern town seems the idyllic place to start afresh, Peter and Hannah will soon learn that evi
Kindle Edition, 276 pages
Published January 25th 2018 by Harmful Monkey Press (first published January 23rd 2018)
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Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,567 ratings  ·  293 reviews

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Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
4.5 Stars
This is my new favorite haunted house story!
Video Review:

From the first sentence, I was immediately pulled into this immersive narrative. The story had so much emotional depth, exploring themes of tragedy and grief through well developed characters. The scenes involving the audiobook recording in the basement were fascinating and unsettling to read. As an audiobook narrator, the author was able to bring first-hand experience to his story.

Well-written and w
Dan Schwent
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, 2018-books
When Pete Larson's father's health begins failing him, Pete and his wife Hannah head back to Pete's home town. They move into an old farmhouse his father owns and stir up some old demons, both figuratively and literally...

Chris Sorensen hit me up to read an ARC of this and I took the bait after reading the teaser.

The Nightmare Room is the story of both a haunted house and a haunted man. The house is haunted by the spectre of a grey man and the child he is tormenting. Pete and Hannah are haunted
Sadie Hartmann
May 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to the author for a free copy in exchange for an honest review!

I wasn't expecting to be so emotionally invested in this story but just a few chapters in and I knew this was going to be a risky horror novel. I say that because my favorite element of horror is the risk. I love to fall in love with the characters so that when they are faced with challenges, in this case, an inherited farm house, ailing parents and grief from a previous loss--there is a lot of risk because we like our prot
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this one so fast. It felt as if the pages were just turning themselves. This novel is totally my jam. It's a haunted house story with so much more than just scares. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of creepy moments in The Nightmare Room, but the story also has a lot of heart. By the end of the novel you really care about these characters.

Audiobook narrator Peter Larson and his wife Hannah need a fresh start, so the two of them pick up and move back to Pete's hometown of Maple City to
Cameron Chaney
Oct 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, adult, horror, series, 2019
You can see my video review HERE, but here is a look at my written thoughts:

Haunted house stories, as predictable as they often are, never fail to show me a spooky good time on a dark and stormy night. Cliches and all, I enjoy their Gothic sensibilities and the way they reflect the divide between belief and skepticism, life and death, and how those things collide by the end of the story. But every so often, a book will come along and use that basic structure only to build onto it, making it some
Bark  |  Ladies Of Horror Fiction
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
The Nightmare Room lives up to its title. It is a slowly building creepfest fueled by nightmares for the first half then picks up speed in its later half.

Peter and Hannah need a new start after a devastating loss and move back to Peter’s hometown to help with his ailing parents and to heal themselves. They move into a property that Peter’s dad purchased that is huge, old and in disrepair. Hannah loves the idea of the old home but Peter’s not so sure.

"Hannah had gotten it wrong. This was not the
Bark  |  Ladies Of Horror Fiction
I liked this book so much I read it twice! This time around I listened to the unabridged audiobook read by the author who just so happens to be a professional narrator himself. Since he's a pro and the material is his, his voice hits all the right notes. He's engaging, pleasant and unnervingly menacing when he needs to be and I recommend it highly! 4 1/2 Stars

Here's my review of the story:

The Nightmare Room lives up to its title. It is a slowly building creepfest fueled by nightmares for the fi
Andrew Fowlow
Jul 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is not your average ghost story. The Nightmare Room is a complex tale of haunting spirits and demonic possession. Chris Sorensen did an exceptional job of writing the cast of characters in his story. From the protagonist to the eccentric bartender, they are all captivating and relatable on many levels. The author definitely knows how to instill a slow creep while winding up the tension. I enjoyed every moment and every scene in this book. The story really sets itself apart with the seamless ...more
THE NIGHTMARE ROOM, by Chris Sorensen, is Book One of "The Messy Man" series. This was my first introduction to Chris' work as an author. When the failing health of his father--who is relocated into a nursing home--necessitates Peter Larson coming back to his hometown of Maple City in order to get affairs in order, he decides it's the perfect opportunity for he and his wife Hannah to move there and get a "fresh start". What they didn't expect was to find that his father had an old home--in addit ...more
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
**Edit - already read this, but starting the audiobook on 7/10**

"But the door...It's breathing."

I LOVE THE NIGHTMARE ROOM. I read this as a buddy read with my friend Mindi, and this book was so good. It's unsettling and creepy, and I enjoyed the story the entire way through. There were even a couple times when I was looking around to see if someone was behind me. I think the suspense was done really well in this novel, and I was totally invested in this story. I finished it in about 24 hours be
Holly (Holly Hearts Books)
Even though I found this to be not very scary at all, I still enjoyed it for what it was. The Coyote Ugly scene in the middle of the spooky part really took me out of it. 😂
i really enjoyed this one! i listened to the audio book, which the author reads himself. He did such a great job! I was not surprised at all to find out he's a professional narrator.
So we are told this is a ghost story. It is but so much more than just that. There is surprises along the way that are just OMG moments. Near the end i got worried. the author does something that really messes with my head sometimes but he pulled it off great and it wasn't complicated like it can sometimes be. I wo
Sci-Fi & Scary
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
My co-host is officially reviewing The Nightmare Room for the site. I forgot we'd accepted it for official review, and picked it up from KU because I'd seen so many good reviews on it. So, technically, Chris Sorenson will be getting two reviews from us! But mine is the one not submitted by the author for review consideration.

This was a dang good book. It feels like its been forever since I read a book that creeped me out as effectively as The Nightmare Room did. The story sucks you in at once ev
The Grim Reader
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
One man's trash is another man's treasure. I've seen many a rave about The Nightmare Room and so I was excited to finally dig into it. I'm sorry to say, this book did nothing for me. I know ghost stories aren't the sort that set the pulse racing, but man, this was far too pedestrian for my liking. It isn't a big book either, under 300 pages, but honestly, very little happens for the first half of the story and I found myself drifting away as I lethargically turned the pages. Wake me up when it's ...more
Michael Hicks
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, bought
A narrator of more than 200 audiobooks and author of the middle-grade book, The Mad Scientists of New Jersey, Chris Sorensen make his horror novel debut with Book 1 in The Messy Man series, The Nightmare Room.

After moving back to his hometown to care for his sick father, Pete and Hannah Larson move into an old farmhouse with more than its fair share of problems. The stairs going to the second floor are slightly crooked, the third step to the basement poses a hazard, and rowdy teenagers have been
THE NIGHTMARE ROOM starts off as a great haunted house tale but then evolves into something else altogether. I loved it!

Peter and his wife Hannah return to Peter's hometown after a family tragedy. A fresh start in Maple City is just what they needed. Moving into an old farmhouse, disturbing things begin to happen, (as they often do in these types of tales), and from there, hang on tight because it's a crazy ride!

Fast paced with characters I could really root for, I found it difficult to put this
Jul 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2018
The Nightmare Room is such a great haunting tale. I have been mostly reading crime fiction lately and this paranormal horror novel was a fresh change of genres for me. I am a lover of great cover art and this one was really creepy and fit the story perfectly.

The author's writing style hooked me right from the beginning and kept me interested throughout. The dialog was realistic between characters. The story progressed smoothly and I thought I had figured out the ending but I was surprised (and w
Frank Errington
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Review copy

At its heart, The Nightmare Room (The Messy Man Series Book 1) is a ghost story and a very good one to boot.

Here's a killer opening line for you...

"The boy woke to the sound of his screams."

The back story is that of an abused child, but part of the mystery is the child's identity.

"He hesitated...but why? He'd already made this run two times this week. Both Monday and Thursday, he's awakened screaming, bringing down the Old Man's wrath, and sending him here. To the penalty box. To time
This one didn't really work for me, which is probably why it took me so long to finish it. The writing is good, the audio is OK, but the story line didn't work well for me and while there were a few surprises I didn't see coming, there were also a number of cliches that took me out of the narrative. ...more
Red Lace Reviews
After a personal tragedy strikes Peter and Hannah Larson, they find themselves picking up their lives and moving house. Said house isn't what it seems - something lurks within, seeming to originate from the dark and gloomy basement. As the presence continues to focus upon the two, its determination only grows, causing obvious and damaging rifts between husband and wife. It appears to already know Peter in some intimate way, and shocking, deeply hidden secrets soon come to light.

(WARNING: This re
Sherry Fundin
I love it…Don’t go in the basement. LOL Bad things happen in the basements of horror novels and I must admit, at least through words, I want to be one of the first to venture into the dark, dank depths of the abyss.

Once you read The Nightmare Room, you will realize how appropriate the tag line is to the story.

As soon as Peter Larson returned to his home town, Maple City, I knew…it’s on. The scenario made me think of Steven King and I am eager to see if Chris Sorensen can meet my expectations.

Stephanie (That's What She Read)
It has been a while since I've sped through a book that fast! Chris Sorensen is a gifted storyteller because this was absolutely gripping. This seems like a normal haunted house story starting with the couple that move into an old house for a new beginning after a tragedy. There was more than that. I liked the hope in this story, that and the setting. There was something unsettling about a soundproof booth in the basement that is genuinely creepy. Recommend to fans of haunted house stories! ...more
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
This was a very fast read.

The obvious reason for this is that it was under 300 pages, but I also ripped through this because his characters were very well developed and the story moved along
at a very tight pace.

This is the second haunted house story I read this year, the first being the fantastic Kill Creek, and this one was quite good.
Like Scott Thomas, Chris Sorenson has put his unique spin on the haunted house idea. At one point I muttered "wow, how clever..." at a certain development.

There i
Alex (The Bookubus)
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
Peter and Hannah, who have lost their young son, pick up and move to Peter's home town. The house they move into has some dark secrets in its past which begin to haunt the couple.

This story started off quite promising. It's a classic premise and I was intrigued to see where it went. Unfortunately the more I read the less I enjoyed it. I found myself getting bored, the characters became annoying so I didn't care what happened to them, the emotional aspects of the story didn't have the impact the
Audra (ouija.reads)
I read The Nightmare Room and its sequel The Hungry Ones in a two-day crazy haze of nightmare-fueled goodness. Sorensen is taking the haunted house trope to the next level, and I couldn’t be more here for it if I tried. Lucky for me, he is winding out the series with a third book, coming soon!

The set-up seems like a common one: a young couple battling a recent tragedy move back to the husband’s hometown and into an old house. Of course, as horror readers, we know that an old house is certainly n
Michelle {Book Hangovers}
Jan 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
What a great book!!! So happy this was my first read of the new year.
And it’s a series! Yessss!!! Can’t wait to read them all.

I love books that scare the crap out of me and this one definitely did!
Okay, well that's that. ...more
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-read, scary
4.5 Stars! Now this was a scary good story. This is Chris Sorensen's first novel and the fact that he makes his living by narrating books makes the success of this book awe inspiring. The story just works, and while it is a horror story complete with a demon, it is also a love story, a friend story, and a family story. The parts where Sorensen writes the father with dementia are so realistic it took me back to similar visits we've had to cope with in our family.

I read/listened to this book and
Glenn Rolfe
Dec 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great characters, fantastic story, and a very interesting demon. Sorensen's THE NIGHTMARE ROOM is one of the best horror books of 2018!

I give it 5 stars!
Carla (Carla's Book Bits)
I've been excited to read The Nightmare Room for a long time, considering its reputation and the hype.

3 star books are always so hard to explain, because my opinion varies with each 3 star book. Sometimes I can rate a book 3 stars and be confident in recommending it, and sometimes I can rate a book 3 stars and not see it in any light but disappointment. Unfortunately, this time, I'm looking at The Nightmare Room with a bit of wasted potential. I feel like this book had a lot going for it
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Chris Sorensen spends many days and nights locked away inside his own nightmare room. He is the narrator of over 200 audiobooks (including the award-winning The Missing series by Margaret Peterson Haddix) and the recipient of three AudioFile Earphone Awards. Over the past fifteen years, the Butte Theater and Thin Air Theatre Company in Cripple Creek, Colorado have produced dozens of his plays incl ...more

Other books in the series

The Messy Man (3 books)
  • The Hungry Ones (The Messy Man #2)
  • The Messy Man (The Messy Man #3)

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