(Nightmareland Chronicles, Book #4)
By Daniel Barnett
Available January 2021
You know, at this point, I feel like it’s safe to say Daniel Barnett is the new Stephen King. His writing is complex, yet approachable. His characters are driven and complete with rich backgrounds and dramatic stories to reveal. His settings are expansive, living things that draw you in just as much as the monsters that fill them. And, yes, the Nightmareland series also brings to mind The Stand constantly for me (which is a great thing).
In The Flashlighters, our main trio – John, Mariah, and Marcos – is stuck traveling miles and miles of lonely highway to the north. They have Salt Lake in mind. There’s a plane there that could possibly take them to Maine for John’s daughter. But they run into some trouble on the road, leaving them without a working vehicle. Soon, they meet a band of characters that take them back to a small town you can’t find on the maps. There, Father Ammon leads a collection of drifters and sleepers with the display of an unexplainable power.
The opening sequence in this book was tremendous! I want to give some detail, but probably shouldn’t. It’s best you go into it as a blank slate. Just know, it’s a nightmarish and exciting scene to kick things off.
The introduction of Father Ammon and his community is a turn I’m glad Barnett has taken. Bringing in a collection of unknown characters with various degrees of baggage opens up the series for a slew of new possibilities, especially once you’ve learned Father Ammon’s secret. Again, there is more I wish to discuss here, but that would spoil the discoveries you pick up along the way of The Flashlighters. It’s probably best to keep it simple and just let you know that this entire novella is compelling from start to finish. Barnett is a mastermind, clearly, and his work continues to get better every step of the way.
Highlights: Possibly the best entry yet … nothing flawed … expands upon the Nightmareland universe further … engaging throughout … a great cast of characters that has just gotten even bigger … endless possibilities
FFO: Apocalyptic stories that are deep and full of diversions … interesting casts of characters and settings … dreadful and nightmarish events … large worlds
Takeaway: Four books into the Nightmareland Chronicles and Barnett continues to impress and, at times, somehow best himself. That’s hard to do when your titles are already getting top scores.
Would I read this author again? Yes
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