Savage Species suggested it, Exorcist Road seconded it, and The Nightmare Girl confirmed it: Jonathan Janz is a major new talent within the horror genre, and any fan of said genre that has not yet read him is missing out. Badly.
The Nightmare Girl gets right to it as everyday family man, Joe, intervenes to stop a mother wailing on her child in a public setting. This Good Samaritan act soon has significant consequences for Joe and his family, as the everyday man is forced to extreme lengths to ensure the safety of his family from the cult that now has its eye set on them all. Sounds pretty straight forward, right? And it is, but the devil is in the details and Janz slowly builds the tension through the first two-thirds of his novel, creating a palpable sense of dread that oozes off the pages. The emphasis here is on slow, but this is by no means a bad thing. Janz sets up Joe, his family, and the characters that encircle them, so that when things suddenly lurch into high gear, the reader can't be sure what is going to happen.
Essentially, The Nightmare Girl is a novel with two settings: slow burn and bat-shit crazy. And when the crazy starts, it becomes one hell of a ride that is all but impossible to put aside. The carnage Janz describes almost coats the reader with residue splatter, such is its graphic intensity and sheer relentlessness.
So do yourself a favour and get on board The Nightmare Girl as soon as its released in the New Year. Not only does it garner a huge recommendation, but it will likely feature on my about to be constructed Top 10 Horror Reads of the year list.
4.5 Sharp Celtic Swords for The Nightmare Girl.
The preceding was based on an eARC obtained through Netgalley, courtesy of Samhain Publishing.