Review: Her Darkest Nightmare – Brenda Novak

Posted 6 September, 2016 by Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms in Reviews / 19 Comments

*I received a free copy of Her Darkest Nightmare from St. Martin's Paperback via BEA16. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *

Warning: This book includes mature content such as: sexual content, and/or drug and/or alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review: Her Darkest Nightmare – Brenda NovakHer Darkest Nightmare by Brenda Novak
Series: The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles #1
Published by St. Martin's Paperback on 30 August 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Psychological Thriller, Suspense
Pages: 432
Format: ARC
Source: BEA16
3.5 Stars

Evelyn Talbot knows that a psychopath can look perfectly normal. She was only sixteen when her own boyfriend Jasper imprisoned and tortured her—and left her for dead. Now an eminent psychiatrist who specializes in the criminal mind, Evelyn is the force behind Hanover House, a maximum-security facility located in a small Alaskan town. Her job puts her at odds with Sergeant Amarok, who is convinced that Hanover is a threat to his community…even as his attraction to beautiful Evelyn threatens to tear his world apart.
Then, just as the bitter Alaskan winter cuts both town and prison off from the outside world, the mutilated body of a local woman turns up. For Amarok, this is the final proof he needs: Hanover has to go. Evelyn, though, has reason to fear that the crime is a personal message to her—the first sign that the killer who haunts her dreams has found her again. . .and that the life she has so carefully rebuilt will never be the same…

Adult - (un)Conventional Bookviews Contemporary - (un)Conventional Bookviews

Her Darkest Nightmare has a lot of tension, the psychological aspect of this thriller is very well done. There were, however, several instances where I had to consciously suspend disbelief in order to follow Evelyn.

Review - (un)Conventional Bookviews

Her Darkest Nightmare happens about six months after the ending of Hanover House, and the prison / psych ward has opened and is almost at capacity. With one of the doctors out sick, and another one having left because of the long winter in Alaska, Evelyn has a smaller team to deal with, which means there’s more work for all of them. Because Evelyn has brought in a new inmate – without discussing it with her colleagues first – the sense of mistrust was very strong from the beginning. Both on Evelyn’s behalf, and on behalf of one of the other doctors there.

Between the dark days, snow storms and a gruesome murder, Her Darkest Nightmare pushes the feelings of unease, and it is very easy to understand why Evelyn is so on edge. When one of the inmates keeps telling her that not all the psychopaths at Hanover House are in the locked-up area, she has one more thing to worry about. And of course, all of her fears bring her back to Jasper and those fateful days when she was sixteen.

Even with all the darkness and fear in Her Darkest Nightmare, there is space for the romance and relationship between Evelyn and Amarok to develop. It made me breathe easier to see that she had someone to lean on, even if she thought she didn’t really need to. Amarok was her rock through all that happened, but he also managed to show her that he trusted her, and made sure not to smother her with his concern. He is definitely wise beyond his years.

Written in third person perspective, past tense, with dialogues as well as narration, the story unfolds at a nice pace, and the suspense is very well done. I think the reason why I didn’t give Her Darkest Nightmare four or more stars is because I found Evelyn to be a bit repetitive at times. And I definitely would have liked to see more of one specific character…

Fave Quotes - (un)Conventional Bookviews

Maybe she was dead. She’d been expecting death, been thinking that, unlike most people, she wouldn’t live long enough to graduate from high school.

“Weather report says we’ve got another storm coming in. So they caught an earlier flight. You didn’t get the message?”

She couldn’t fall if she didn’t try. Fear was costing her a great deal of what others enjoyed in life. 

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms

About Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms

Linda is an English as foreign language teacher and has a Master's degree in English Language and Literature. She's an avid reader, blogger, compulsive one-clicker and a genre omnivore. Ever since she learnt how to read she has been seen with a book or two in her hands everywhere she goes.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 6,926 other subscribers

19 responses to “Review: Her Darkest Nightmare – Brenda Novak

  1. Again with the difficulty in suspending disbelief? Hmm…it sounds like a pretty good story otherwise. It does seem like there is a lot going on in this installment. I’m glad there’s some good suspense but also time for some romance. 😉 Actually, I’m happy Evelyn and Amarok’s relationship strengthened and that she had him to lean on even if she didn’t want to admit she needed him. I *must* make time for this series! *BIG HUGS*

    Bookworm Brandee recently posted: #COYER Summer Vacation Wrap-up
  2. I’ve never read anything by Brenda Novak but I’ve always wanted try them. This sounds good and really my type of read. I like the sound of this book giving uneasy feelings and the tension and psychological aspect. I still need to read Hanover House though.

    czai recently posted: REVIEW | Mortom
  3. I have yet to read Hanover House but this series is reminding me of that movie based on Edgar Allan Poe’s work, Stonehearst Asylum. I have to try the prequel and see if I like it enough to pick up the series. It sounds like my kind of dark read so fingers-crossed I like it.

  4. I haven’t read a book with a situation like this- a woman studying serial killers. I’m intrigued. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it, Lexxie!

  5. I honestly have no trouble with suspension of disbelief if it serves the story well, which unfortunately doesn’t seem to be the case here. I have a soft spot for psychological thrillers with a side of romance that develops smoothly.

Thanks for commenting - chat soon!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.