Worst Nightmares by Shane Briant
Published in 2009 by Vanguard Press and written by “actor-turned author” Shane Briant, psychological horror novel Worst Nightmares follows the story of fictional up-and-coming author Dermot Nolan. As his career begins to skyrocket and his publishing advances begin to fade away, Nolan faces the greatest fear of any author - writer’s block. With the pressures of providing the next best-selling novel to his publishing house, he stumbles across a mysterious hand-written manuscript, detailing the grisly and disturbing exploits of someone who identifies himself only as the Dream Healer. With no one laying any claim to the manuscript and his editor demanding samples of his latest work, Nolan decides to use the manuscript as his muse as he adapts it into a novel. The further Nolan explores the sinister writings of the “Dream Healer,” however, the closer he comes to the truth – and his own worst nightmares.
Worst Nightmares Excerpt
The Dream Healer smiled. This nightmare, like the insect, had legs.
The girl’s pupils dilated at her extreme thoughts. “I can feel it scratching inside my head. And the noise… You know what I mean? It’s awesome. Gross!”
The Dream Healer could imagine. So very easily.
The girl paused, closing her eyes. Her remembered sensations were beginning to scare her. The memory had stalled her breath. It was as if she was remembering reality, not a nightmare.
“Tell me more,” the Dream Healer encouraged quietly, like a hypnotist. (Briant, 2009, 2)
Worst Nightmares Review
Gruesome, gory, and spellbinding from the earliest moments, Worst Nightmares dares the reader to go with its narrative pace at a truly breakneck speed. At a length of over three-hundred and forty pages, Briant is relentless in grabbing the reader and throwing him down a proverbial staircase of narrative intrigue. The reader stands up, complete with bruises and cuts, and wants more. The book is, in no way, a pleasant read – the Dream Healer is, shall we say, innovative with his healing techniques, and Briant’s skilled storytelling takes his reader into the heart of hard-to-face brutal torture and murder – but the story is gripping and still manages to disturb, great attributes for any good horror book.
If Worst Nightmares suffers, it’s in the finer points of Briant revealing too much too early. The intrigue surrounding the identity of the Dream Healer and the motivations surrounding the antagonist’s actions came as no great surprise. The ending, however, much like the rest of the book, throws a final little punch that’s sure to leave the reader breathless.
Author Shane Briant
Before becoming a novelist, English-born Shane Briant was an accomplished actor of both stage and screen, and is still active in New Zealand films and cinema. Worst Nightmares is followed by the 2011 sequel The Dreamhealer.