Her Darkest Nightmare by Brenda Novak | An Intense Psychological Mystery Novel

September 23, 2016 | Posted by Genesis in Book Reviews | 18 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Her Darkest Nightmare by Brenda Novak | An Intense Psychological Mystery NovelHer Darkest Nightmare
by Brenda Novak
Series: The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles #1
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Publication Date: August 30th 2016 by St. Martin's Press
Format: eARC
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks
3.5 Stars
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

THE HUNT FOR A SERIAL KILLER
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.

BEGINS WITH AN ESCAPE FROM HER PAST
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…

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

late chat with gen

When I read the prequel, Hanover House, last year and really loved it, I was so eager for Her Darkest Nightmare!

Evelyn is a psychiatrist who has dedicated her life to studying psychopath’s behavior since her ex-boyfriend was one and left her for dead. She runs Hanover House in Hilltop, Alaska, a place that has over more than 100 inmates who have psychopathic behavior. It’s been three months since HH has been opened and now, Evelyn faces a nightmare when a dismembered body appears.

She had to keep some distance between her emotions and what she encountered every day or she would never survive this job.

To be honest, I had no idea what to fully expect. Hanover House was such a thrilling read. I felt so creeped out by everything! Sadly, it wasn’t the case with Her Darkest Nightmare. While the hunt for the killer was thrilling, it still was lacking something. I loved the hunt and trying to figure out who the heck was the killer, if it really was Evelyn’s ex or if there was someone else. My mind was reeling with the possibilities of who it could be. I never guessed right. I was completely blind-sided and I loved that! I questioned so many people in this novel and I was wrong on all of them. Novak did a great job with the element of surprise on this one.

Something that I loved of Hanover House was the point of view from the killer. It gave so much depth to the story and it added to the creepy feel of it. In Her Darkest Nightmare, the killer’s point of view appeared less than five times. I was definitely missing it. Even with the killer’s POV, I still couldn’t guess who it was!

“These aren’t people who hear voices that tell them to kill or don’t know the difference between good and evil. They simply have no real understanding of emotion, can’t truly connect with other humans. They do whatever benefits them, whatever interests them, and they feel perfectly justified. The real problem is that psychopaths are more common than most people think.”

Evelyn had some character development in this novel. She has been so tormented by her past that she can’t enjoy life anymore, not even the company of a man. When Amarok met Evelyn, he disliked her for bringing HH to his town, but after meeting her, he was hung up on her. He knew all the nightmares that Evelyn had faced so he gave her space. We finally see this couple worming their way into a relationship very slowly. Amarok is always there for Evelyn no matter what. When Evelyn is ready to take a new step in their relationship, Amarok lets her go at her own pace. It was so sweet to read how much he cared for her. I can’t wait to see more of them in the next novel.

What I didn’t like was Evelyn’s back-and-forth thing with Amarok when it came to his age since he was seven years younger. I wish she had surpassed that early in the story, but it wasn’t until much later that she kind of gave it a rest.

There’s an inmate in this story that I actually liked a lot. Don’t ask me how or why since he’s a psychopath, but I had really liked his appearance in the prequel so having him back in this story had me excited. I really don’t know why I like him. I think it’s because he makes the story much more interesting, and I’m sure he will be even better in the next installment!

Overall, Her Darkest Nightmare was an intense psychological mystery novel that I enjoyed quite a lot. The way it ended had me gasping out loud and so very excited for the next novel and what it will bring.

About Brenda Novak

It was a shocking experience that jump-started Brenda Novak’s bestselling author career.

However, writing was the last profession she expected to undertake. In fact, Brenda swears she didn’t have a creative bone in her body. In school, math and science were her best subjects, and when it came time to pick a major in college, she chose business.

Abandoning her academic scholarship to Brigham Young University at the age of 20 in order to get married and start a family, Brenda dabbled in commercial real estate, then became a loan officer.

Brenda sold her first book, and the rest is history. Many of her novels have won or placed in contests such as the National Reader’s Choice, the Bookseller’s Best, the Write Touch, the Award of Excellence and the Beacon Award for Published Authors.

Brenda and her husband, Ted, live in Sacramento and are the proud parents of five children—three girls and two boys. She juggles her writing career with her children’s softball and soccer games, field trips, carpool runs and homework sessions.

When she’s not spending time with her family or writing, Brenda is usually working on her annual fundraiser for diabetes research—an on-line auction held at her website May 1st – May 31st. Her youngest son, Thad, has diabetes, and Brenda is determined to help him and others like him. She also enjoys traveling, watching sporting events and biking–she rides an amazing 20 miles every day!

Genesis
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Genesis

Book Blogger at Latte Nights Reviews
Genesis is a 22-year-old girl who lives in Puerto Rico, an island in the Caribbean. She's obsessed with Instagram (@lattenightsbooks) and coffee shops. When she's not reading or on social media, she can be found eating, at the beach, being with her boyfriend and/or hanging out with friends.
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  • Great review! This book sounds like something I might really enjoy. =D

    Should I read the prequel, Hanover House first, though?

    • You should totally read Hanover House first. It tells you a lot about the characters and the story, especially Evelyn’s past.
      Thank you!

  • I LOVE when a cover looks totally creepy and you can already tell it’s going to be a scary type of read. This cover is definitely one that would catch my eye. It just SCREAMS creepy!! Glad you enjoyed this one. I like reading creepier books this time of year, so I’ll have to remember this one the next time I’m looking for a thriller. 🙂

  • We had all the same feelings on this one!!! Great review!

  • My friend just read this book and I think she enjoyed it a little more than you did. I’m intrigued though by both of your reviews of this one so it’s still going on my TBB list. Thanks for the review, Gen!

  • Eva

    Sorry that this didin’t live up to the other book but glad that this was still a great mystery! I am going to check out Hanover House now so great review!

  • oh man, asylums are the scariest places to be, i swear. but sorry this didn’t hit the spot. boo. good luck with your next read!

  • I haven’t read Hanover House yet but I should do that soon…I can’t wait to read this one…sounds like such a great concept! Hopefully the next book will be better and live up to the prequel more.

  • LostinLit Becca

    This sounds very intriguing! Its a bummer that it wasn’t as good as the prequel, but I like that you still enjoyed it! I hope that the next book is awesome for you Gen!

  • Sorry to hear that this one didn’t deliver the same punch as Hanover House did, Gen. But it still sounds like it was plenty enjoyable. And the fact that you never guessed the killer… I love when that happens! The kind where you are practically suspecting *everyone* – like, even the most improbably people – and you’re still wrong. It’s like I want to give the author a standing ovation. LOL I’ve never read anything by Novak but I’ve seen her books a lot so maybe I need to give her a try. Great review!