cover image Nightmare City

Nightmare City

Andrew Klavan. Thomas Nelson, $14.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-59554-797-2

Suspense writer Klavan (If We Survive) switches to horror in a fast-paced and eerie tale that shows an awareness of the genre’s conventions and a willingness to play with readers’ expectations. High school journalist Tom Harding wakes up to find his house deserted, his SoCal neighborhood abandoned, and mysterious creatures after him. He has occasional contact with his too-good-to-be-true girlfriend, his newspaper editor, and a mysterious man who seems to control the monsters. He also sees visions of his brother, a deceased military hero, and a medical TV show with a strangely familiar patient. Interspersed with Tom’s struggle to escape, flashbacks explore the steroid scandal he reported on and the anger many school officials and athletes felt toward him. Readers will soon catch on to the cause of Tom’s predicament, but Klavan wisely shifts gears, focusing on Tom’s need for survival and his struggle to both discover and tell the truth. As the two plotlines converge, Klavan’s background in thrillers comes to the forefront, and the mysterious clues lead to elegant, intense chase sequences and a well-crafted mystery. Ages 12–up. Agent: Robert Gottlieb, Trident Media Group. (Nov.)