Steph Su's Reviews > Worst Nightmares

Worst Nightmares by Shane Briant
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's review
May 23, 2009

liked it

I don’t read much horror-thriller, but I did enjoy WORST NIGHTMARES—if “enjoy” is the word to describe a novel that’s so vivid, so gruesome, and so well thought-out that I found myself shuddering while reading. The chapters often alternate between Dermot’s third-person point of view and the point of view of the Dream Healer, so that you’re never settled: you’re either in the mind of a merciless, albeit creative, serial killer, or else you’re witness to Dermot’s mental breakdown and self-doubts.

There are not that many characters in WORST NIGHTMARES, but those who are present are quite well-drawn for a thriller novel. Of course, its genre practically demands that more attention be paid to the plot than to the characters, but even so, Dermot and his wife Neela’s reactions to an unusual and volatile situation believable and justified. All of the decisions they make—both bad and good—are the result of a very real, very human thought process.

The one major thing I found lacking in this novel was its predictability. Maybe it was just me, but I had my hunch as to who the mastermind behind the killings was about a third of the way through, and, in some of the slower moments, the desire to verify the accuracy of my hunch (I was right) was what kept me going. I’m not a fan of predictability, but if that doesn’t bother you much, and if you allow your mind to shut off just enough to overlook a few other minor flaws—questionable relationship dynamics, occasionally slow pacing, and loose ends—then the issues I had with this book won’t bother you all that much.

All in all, WORST NIGHTMARES is a good read in a genre that’s become increasingly tough to stand out in. It’s not a book I’d have picked up on my own, but fans of horror and thriller novels need to read this Shane Briant standout in order to truly understand it.

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