Friday 25 January 2019


When family man Joe Crawford confronts a young mother abusing her toddler, he has no idea of the chain reaction he’s setting in motion. How could he suspect the young mother is part of an ancient fire cult, a sinister group of killers that will destroy anyone who threatens one of its members? 

When the little boy is placed in a foster home, the fanatics begin their mission of terror. Soon the cult leaders will summon their deadliest hunters—and a ferocious supernatural evil—to make Joe pay for what he’s done. They want Joe’s blood and the blood of his family. And they want their child back.

This is another Flame Tree Press ARC that hooked me in as soon as I started. I found the beginning of this story to be so true to life, it was easy to keep reading.

Joe Crawford is one of the good guys. He loves his wife, cherishes his daughter and runs his own business. He's so honest, he ends up losing most of his estimates to competitors who undercut him with lower (and inaccurate) rates, every time.

The day he's in a gas station with his family and witnesses a young mother hitting her toddler, he does something about it. And gets attacked in the process, becomes the target of a crazy cult that blames him for what happens to the mother because of her abusive ways.

As his work life collides with the nightmare of his new reality, all hell breaks loose and Joe stands to lose everything he loves. Or at least, watch it go up in flames...

Yikes! This story starts out slow, sets up what could be a very real-life scenario and leads the reader down a twisty and strange path. Until the disturbing truths reveal themselves one bit at a time, before accelerating at full throttle.

Seriously. Don't get fooled into thinking that the slow burn pace at the beginning of the book is going to continue until the end. Because when the story reaches a particularly horrid scene, the action and gore doesn't stop. And some pretty awful stuff happens to good people.

I really liked Joe. He's an everyday-kinda guy who isn't perfect, but he always does the right thing. He has integrity and a lot of heart. Actually, these two qualities are the reasons he gets himself so deep in trouble with the hidden crazies in town. His need to protect his family, as well as the vulnerable, pushes him to do just about anything in order to help.

Copeland was also a great character. He's not your average cop, and is as clever as hell. Plus, he's really funny. He had some pretty good one-liners that cracked me up. And Michelle was a great character, too. I especially liked how she's portrayed as so much more than just a wife-mother. She's a real person with real thoughts, honest reactions and true strength.

As for the Waltz women, because they were truly despicable, it was easy to hate their lowlife asses. And I found the cult angle intriguing.

The Nightmare Girl is a creepy contemporary story about a family who, by doing the right thing, gets caught up with an old secret cult. At times it's scary as hell, and at others reflects familiar everyday issues. It's like falling down the rabbit hole and into so many terrible, surreal things that you doubt your sanity every step of the way. 

And proves that no good deed goes unpunished.

I really enjoyed this story, and the last chapter was super creepy. I've got a few more Janz books to check out, so I'm looking forward to it.

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