The Nightmare Man: A Novel (Paperback)
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T. Kingfisher meets Cassandra Khaw in a chilling horror novel that illustrates the fine line between humanity and monstrosity.
Blackwood mansion looms, surrounded by nightmare pines, atop the hill over the small town of Crooked Tree. Ben Bookman, bestselling novelist and heir to the Blackwood estate, spent a weekend at the ancestral home to finish writing his latest horror novel, The Scarecrow. Now, on the eve of the book’s release, the terrible story within begins to unfold in real life.
Detective Mills arrives at the scene of a gruesome murder: a family butchered and bundled inside cocoons stitched from corn husks, and hung from the rafters of a barn, eerily mirroring the opening of Bookman’s latest novel. When another family is killed in a similar manner, Mills, along with his daughter, rookie detective Samantha Blue, is determined to find the link to the book—and the killer—before the story reaches its chilling climax.
As the series of “Scarecrow crimes” continues to mirror the book, Ben quickly becomes the prime suspect. He can’t remember much from the night he finished writing the novel, but he knows he wrote it in The Atrium, his grandfather’s forbidden room full of numbered books. Thousands of books. Books without words.
As Ben digs deep into Blackwood’s history he learns he may have triggered a release of something trapped long ago—and it won’t stop with the horrors buried within the pages of his book.
About the Author
J. H. Markert is a producer, screenwriter, husband, and father of two from Louisville, Kentucky, where he was also a tennis pro for 25 years, before hanging up the racquets for good in 2020. He graduated with a degree in History from the University of Louisville in 1997 and has been writing ever since.
Praise for The Nightmare Man:
“[A] celebration of the genre . . . Fans of old school horror will want to check this out.”
“Markert maintains a tense pace throughout. Fans of dark murder mysteries with an edge will enjoy this one, as will those who like Cassandra Khaw and Stephen King's short stories (like "1408").”
“[For] fans who love Dean Koontz . . . a literary thrill ride and a supernaturally satisfying guilty pleasure.”
“Fans of Paul Tremblay, T. Kingfisher, and Stephen King will enjoy Markert’s fast-paced, old-school horror, brimming with edgy tension and evil.”
—Library Journal, audiobook review
“An interesting twist on the classic . . . highly recommend.”
—Manhattan Book Review, 5-star review
“With powerful characterization surrounding a central mystery, The Nightmare Man is an entertaining read for horror and suspense fans.”
“With an expansive cast of characters and an eerie backdrop of grotesque murders, the plot of this debut horror novel doesn’t hold back.”
“Nicely blends horror, thriller, suspense, and mystery.”
“Full of mystery, suspense, and twists, right up to the very end.”
—Red Carpet Crash
“A clear heir to Stephen King, Peter Straub and Richard Matheson, J.H. Markert is an absolute architect in this dizzying, dazzling and utterly spooky descent into the mouth of madness. Equal parts thriller, detective novel and atmospheric folk horror extravaganza, The Nightmare Man is stunningly clever, richly layered and perfectly paced, with revelations and scares that kept this Constant Reader up well into the night. You'll never think about a bad dream the same way again.”
—Peter Farris, award-winning author of Last Call for the Living
“A thrilling, fast-paced horror tale that’s part police drama/part slasher flick . . . One of the best works of horror I’ve read in quite a long time.”
—Jason Offutt, author of The Girl in the Corn
“It's rare to find horror this original . . . a dark and captivating mystery populated with wonderfully realized characters, fraying relationships, and family secrets. The line dividing horror and thriller has been beautifully crossed. Markert knows how to work a twist and keep the reader guessing.”
—A. M. Shine, author of The Watchers
“An atmospheric and character-driven novel that reads like the brainchild of Michael Connelly and Stephen King . . . This terrifying story will make readers wonder if they should ever fall asleep again.”
—Richard Cox, author of House of the Rising Sun
“Tense, taut, and terrifying.”
—J. Todd Scott, author of The Flock
“A witch’s brew of horror. The setting steeps the reader in shadow, the mystery is beautifully layered, and the tension ratchets tighter with every turn of the page . . . A gloriously creepy scarefest!”
—Jonathan Janz, author of The Siren and the Specter
“A masterful, atmospheric horror novel that has delicious/terrifying shades of The Silence of the Lambs and The Exorcist.”
—Josh Winning, author of The Shadow Glass