Her Darkest Nightmare by Brenda Novak

August 25th, 2016 Kimberly Review 39 Comments

25th Aug
Her Darkest Nightmare by Brenda Novak
Her Darkest Nightmare
by Brenda Novak
Series: Evelyn Talbot Chronicles #1
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
Heat Level: One FlameOne FlameHalf a Flame

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…

SUSPENSE ROMANCE Small-town thriller

Her Darkest Nightmare by Brenda Novak is the first novel in the Evelyn Talbot Chronicles. Novak delivers a romantic suspense filled with danger set against the backdrop of Hilltop Alaska a town outside of Anchorage. Suspense, murder and a little heat made Her Darkest Nightmare a page-turner.

In January, I read Hanover House which gave us both the history of our heroine and introduced us to Hanover House. A maximum-security prison spearheaded by Evelyn (Eve) Talbot a psychiatrist who specializes in the criminal mind. She has brought the worst serial killers in the US to this prison. Her hope is to gain insight into their minds. While it is not wholly necessary to read the prequel, it does share Evelyn’s unique background and a budding romance with local law enforcement officer Sergeant Amarok. Personally it’s worth the effort.

Winter is in full force when the mutilated body of a local woman is discovered. With tensions already uncomfortable between residents and Hanover House, folks are quick to suspect a prisoner. With all prisoners accounted for Novak begins a twisted mystery, with a side dish of romance, and shares tension within Hanover House.

Novak gave the reader plenty of suspense while lending some believability to this chilling tale. I cannot speak to the police procedure as I imagine these remote locations differ, but I would have liked aid from the larger police force in Anchorage. While it created more intimacy and kept the story contained I prefer realism. Red herrings and plausible suspects kept me guessing. Side stories added twists and complications.

Hanover House continues to have a strong presence, as we were privy to prison workings, research and interviews with inmates. Novak’s portrayal of these killers is downright chilling. Salacious and illegal activities within the prison walls added additional tension but also affected the overall pacing of the story. While these threads were interesting, I struggled with the periods of inactivity and craved more action. Thankfully, threads were developed and Novak tied them into the main mystery.

The romance continues to be enjoyable and we see progression with Eve and Amarok. Eve is still stubborn but I loved seeing her begin to depend on someone else and admired her courage when dealing with her peers and patients. Novak brought fuzzy moments and a little heat to the romance. I love Amarok’s approach to Eve and look forward to seeing their relationship strengthen.

For those who read Hanover House, Jasper is still very much in the picture and we did get a few updates. Her Darkest Nightmare delivered an intense mystery with likeable characters. I look forward to the next novel and recommend the series to fans of romantic suspense, and crime thrillers involving serial killers.



[bctt tweet=”Suspense, Murder, and danger in Alaska! Her Darkest Nightmare by Brenda Novak” username=”kimbacaffeinate”]

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

39 Responses to “Her Darkest Nightmare by Brenda Novak”

  1. Lorna

    Yes, I need more action in a romantic suspense book as well-especially if serial killers are involved! And you are right, things have to make sense and a bigger police dept would have probably been involved-if not the state police. Interesting premise though-glad you are enjoying these 🙂

  2. AngelErin

    Oo this sounds fantastic and right up my alley! I’m glad you enjoyed it. I’ll have to be sure to add it on Goodreads. 🙂

  3. Karen Blue

    I am so glad to see you liked this book too! I liked the way Evelyn and Amarok are developing. I am wasn’t really sure who those snippets were of but Jasper is the most likely candidate, so you are probably right. Great review!

  4. Kim

    I loved this review! will be adding both of those to my need to read list! I love your site too by the way, it looks amazing!

  5. Kay

    This looks good! I have been in the mood to read some mystery/thriller type books lately, and I prefer them with a little romance.

  6. Leona

    I’ve always loved Brenda Novak’s mysteries. She does a good job of reeling me every time but the romance almost always doesn’t do it for me.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      This is a younger guy. It is sweet, and I liked his approach. She is very damaged so I like the way its being handled and maybe a younger man doesn’t feel as threatening.

  7. Heidi

    I have read a few books by this author, and one niggle I have are her endings, they always feel abrupt and there are loose ends. Was that the case here?

  8. Sophia Rose

    This reminds me of another romantic suspense series I’ve read from that’s set in Alaska with a killer. And that’s a good comparison for me. I vaguely remember your earlier review and thinking it sounded good. I haven’t read any Brenda Novak, but maybe I’ll start here for some thrills and chills.

  9. Mary Kirkland

    It’s been a while since I’ve read one of her books. Looks like it’s time to get back into her books. Thanks for the great review.

  10. Melanie Simmons

    Sounds like a fairly good read. I’ve never read Brenda Novak. I’ll have to look at giving her a try. I don’t know anything about Hilltop in particular, but I know that the Alaska State Troopers help police a lot of the smaller towns and villages in Alaska. I’ve watched the show on NatGo a lot. My mom, who lives in Anchorage, has done ride-alongs with the troopers. They’ve told her that the show is pretty accurate portal of their day.

  11. Kristin

    Hmmm, you seem pretty “middle of road” about this series. Was it the lulls in action? For some reason, I had it stuck in my head that you really liked the prequel novella. But man, this series is totally written for you… your cup of coffee, per se?? I hope the 2nd book picks up a bit for you!! Novak is an author you normally read, right? 😀

    • kimbacaffeinate

      As stated in my review periods of inactivity or “lulls” kept it from being 4 cup but I certainly enjoyed it and plan to continue.

  12. Tracy Terry

    Privy to prison workings, research and interviews with inmates …. ooh this does sound good and especially as I’m overdue a good serial killer novel.

  13. kindlemom1

    This sounds like it would be a good one to read around the holidays because of the winter setting. Great review for this Kim!

  14. Silvia

    It doesn’t sound bad at all! I heard lots of great things about her writing, but still have to try any of her books. I noted this down because, you know, I might decide to go with it 😉