Review: The Nightmare Room by Chris Sorensen

The Nightmare Room by Chris Sorensen
Harmful Monkey Press (January 2018)
274 pages; $10.99 paperback, $2.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

At it’s heart, The Nightmare Room (The Messy Man Series Book 1) is a ghost story and a very good one to boot. Here’s a killer opening line for you…

The boy woke to the sound of his screams.

The backstory is that of an abused child, but part of the mystery is the child’s identity.

He hesitated…but why? He’d already made this run two times this week. Both Monday and Thursday, he’s awakened screaming, bringing down the Old Man’s wrath, and sending him here. To the penalty box. To time out. To the Night—

Peter and Hannah Larson are moving back to Peter’s hometown. With his mother passed and his father moving into a nursing home, the plan was to take up residence in the family homestead, but when they arrive they find that the property has been promised to the home to help pay for his father’s care. But there is an older property owned by Peter’s father.

…this was every house in every horror movie he’d ever seen.

Peter makes his living reading audio books and after he sets up his sound booth in the basement of the property, the fun begins.

‘I saw something,’ he said, laughing maniacally inside because he hadn’t seen something, he had seen many many things, each more horrifying than the last.  ‘Inside, I saw something.’

Suitably creepy, with plenty of “Oh, WOW!” moments. The author has a knack for cliffhangers that make you want to start reading the next chapter immediately. I loved the way Sorensen developed and moved his characters through the story. One character, Ellen, a sort of psychic/paranormal investigator, was absolutely wonderful, as was Peter’s childhood friend, Riggs, owner/manager of the local watering hole.

A comfortable if not comforting read. Little touches make reading this book a pleasure, but at the same time the author is creating a sense of unease.

Although I was a bit thrown by the ending, I’m hoping for some clarification in book 2 of The Messy Man series.

Chris Sorensen is a relatively new author, although he’s been telling other’s stories as an audio book reader for years now.  His own work is well worth reading. I finished reading this book the same week I saw Winchester in the theater. Of the two ghost stories, I much preferred The Nightmare Room.


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