Sunday, 30 October 2016

Her Darkest Nightmare by Brenda Novak

Dr Evelyn Talbot was held captive by her psychopathic boyfriend Jasper, when she was sixteen. He raped and tortured her for three days. He also did the same to her three best friends, the only difference - Evelyn lived to tell her horrific story, her three friends didn't. Jasper was never caught, and Evelyn went on to study psychiatry and became among the top in her field.

Evelyn went on to establish Hanover House, a mental health facility for psychopaths, the first of its kind. Here at Hanover House, buried in the heart of Alaska, Evelyn hopes to study a prison full of psychopaths, to discover what makes them tick, why they do the terrible things they do, and how to stop them. But then a woman is found horribly mutilated and the hunt for a murderer is on.

The first half of this book was slow for me. There was a lot of romance, and racy love scenes which are not what I look for in a book. Evelyn annoyed me because she was so beautiful, every man good or bad wanted to take her to bed. The state trooper was impossibly handsome, and all the women drooled over him. Once I managed to get past this though, and the more the plot deepened and the excitement built, I really began to enjoy this book, and really tried to figure out who the murderer was, and believe me, there are a lot of red herrings here.

I loved the setting. Alaska in the middle of a bitter winter. Where the roads are impassable unless you drive a snowplough, and where there is only one law officer, despite a prison full of psychopaths just outside the town. This all added to a really creepy atmosphere.

At the beginning of every chapter we are presented with a quote from a real, true life serial killer, in which they explained or attempted to explain, how they felt, why they did what they did, essentially, what makes them tick. I really didn't like those quotes, and I wish they had been left out. Why should they be given a platform to tell us how or why they did what they did and how it made them feel. I don't want to know. I found their words deeply disturbing.

On the whole this was a good book. It came at things from a different angle to the usual thriller. This is the first in a series with Dr Evelyn Talbot at the helm. Before this book there is an e-novella, Hanover House and it might be a good idea to read it first if you can. I hadn't realized this and wondered why the characters would hint back to previous events the summer before which had obviously been covered in the novella, and I would have liked to have read it first.

Thank you to the publisher Headline via bookbridgr for my paperback copy of this book.

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