After a particularly frightening interaction with the nightmare man, Jessie agrees with his wife that he needs professional help. He makes an appointment with a psychologist and a sleep disorder specialist who is part of a clinical trial measuring the effectiveness of a new medication. Jessie enrolls, but the medication seems to make things worse. The intrusive actions of the nightmare man escalate and begin to threaten the life of Jessie’s eight year old son, who is prone to his own sleep disturbances.
I found Nightmare Man to be outstanding. I thought the night terror angle was well developed and the descriptions of the actual sleep disturbance from Jessie’s perspective seem incredibly believable. The character efforts and courses of action make logical sense and there is not a false note in the narrative. The strain of the marriage is very accurately described, and Jessie’s perusal of a solution made very clear sense. The story was gripping and unusual, and I was literally could not put it down. Once I got into the flow very early in the story, I was helplessly caught up in the imaginative prose of Alan Ryker, and I wasn’t able to free myself until after I reached the end. A truly gifted horror writer.