Monday, September 12, 2016

Review: Her Darkest Nightmare (The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles #1) by Brenda Novak

Book Blurb:

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…

My Review:

In Her Darkest Nightmare by Brenda Novak, the remote Alaska setting is perfect for this intense and frightening read!  Evelyn Talbot has a very interesting career.  With a past that drives her, she studies psychopaths.  The most dangerous offenders in a maximum security prison called Hanover House in Alaska.  Her career is her life, and a brief relationship with Sergeant Amarok earlier was over before it really started.  Their career's collided, their beliefs separate them.  But as winter storms approach, so does danger...and murder.  Amarok is convinced the recent murders are tied to Hanover House, but Evelyn thinks they are a lot more personal and directed at her.  Soon the two of them are spending a lot of time together, and through conflict, tension, fear, insecurity and hope, they become closer...but can a killer be stopped before Evelyn's world falls apart again?

Her Darkest Nightmare is a riveting, scary, suspenseful read with a touch of romance and relationship angst.  I liked the mix of the two in Her Darkest Nightmare, how the relationship and the suspense tie together, how they are both so uncertain.  In many ways Evelyn has overcome her past, but in other ways it still holds her back from her future, especially any personal relationships.  Despite her attraction to Amarok, she resists.  Amarok is so obviously interested in Evelyn, even if he wishes she'd never come to his town.  That way he'd never know what he couldn't have.  The push and pull between Evelyn and Amarok is believable in their situation, although some parts of Evelyn's resistance are a bit too angsty in my opinion for a character of her maturity and experience.  

There are a lot of twists and turns in this well researched plot, and Brenda Novak kept me guessing.  The pace was great and I was easily absorbed in this world.  I'd recommend Her Darkest Nightmare to readers who like thrilling romantic suspense.

4/5 stars

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