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Her Darkest Nightmare Cover

Her Darkest Nightmare

By Brenda Novak

St. Martin’s Press
$7.99
ISBN 978-1250076564
Published 08/30/2016

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Killer Nashville Reader’s Choice Award

Her Darkest Nightmare

Killer Nashville review by Danny Lindsey

Brenda Novak’s latest work, Her Darkest Nightmare is as unpredictable as the winter storms that blast throughout the Alaskan landscape which forms the setting for her story.

At 16, Evelyn Talbot’s first love betrayed, raped, tortured and left her for dead after murdering three of her friends in front of her. After 20 years, psychiatrist Dr. Evelyn Talbot has dedicated her practice to delving into the minds of the nation’s worst pathological personalities. She has arranged for them to be transferred to a newly constructed maximum security prison located in Hilltop, Alaska. The townsfolk have mixed emotions—jobs are scarce, but prisons are scary. When body parts begin to show up, the prison is the first place peoples’ thoughts turn.

Amarok, the lone state trooper assigned to Hilltop, is young and an inexperienced investigator of crimes more serious than the occasional drunk or poacher. But, he is certain that none of the Hilltop residents are capable of murder. Dr. Talbot sees three possibilities—either her teenage torturer has found her again, one of her subjects found a way to come and go from his maximum-security cell, or a member of her staff has begun to emulate the pathology of the inmates. It is not until the second murder that it becomes obvious the true target is Dr. Talbot. She and Amarok agree to join forces to track down the killer, but find themselves embroiled in an escalating relationship which at times threatens to derail the investigation.

Just as one storm after another pushes through Hilltop, one plot twist after another leaves the reader wondering whether it will take until the spring thaw to separate the good, the bad, the ugly, and the horrible. The novel is full of twists, turns, false starts, and red herrings that leave the reader breathless, and heart pounding. Readers will recognize elements of such thrillers as Silence of the Lambs and Fatal Attraction as Novak cements her standing with such names as Dugoni, Rule, and Gerritson as a leader in the genre.

 

 

Danny Lindsey keeps trying to retire. After a 20-year Army career and a 25-year second one in the private sector, he’s finally settled down. His current gig is as the Veteran Employment Services manager for a Huntsville, A.L.  based non-profit, Still Serving Veterans. Both full careers were characterized by numerous writing assignments, from war plans to operating policies and procedures, then on to white papers, analyses of alternatives and competitive contract and grant proposals. Now his writing consists of blogs for the website www.ssv.org, podcasts for the local NPR affiliate, and a half dozen Pulitzer-worthy, albeit unpublished novels.