Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Stealing Doesn't Pay, or A Literary Couple Gets Their Just Desserts

What in the heck do I mean by that? Well, I've just finished Shane Briant's debut horror/thriller, Worst Nightmares, in which a bestselling author and his wife conspire to steal a dead man's story as their own. Yep, you can imagine where that's headed given the genre and my title. 

Author Dermot Nolan has a bad case of writer's block made worse by the fact that he's already run through his million dollar advance and has no way of repaying it. When an old man leaves a manuscript in his possession, Shane is immediately annoyed. His initial read of the thing leaves him completely disgusted given the subject matter -- a killer who targets his victims through a website that claims to help people overcome their worst nightmares. Nolan's wife reads the manuscript and can see that it would be a big commercial hit if they can make it theirs. Things are looking up for the Nolans when the man in question falls to his death with Dermot looking on. Hidden in the back of the book are the names and locations of the killer's victims and Dermot decides that in order to find out if the manuscript is for real, he should check it out. He neglects to tell his wife what he finds, however, and they move ahead with publishing the book, under Dermot's name. Well of course someone else is in the know and things can't possibly end well for the Nolans. 

Other than the fact that it's hard to feel too sorry for the main character (up until the end, that is), given his deception, this is a pretty darn good debut! Course, it makes it easier to swallow what happens to Dermot and his wife along the way since they have been so naughty, something I applaud Briant for -- creating realistic characters that elicit such a response from a reader. But the kicker is the end, when all is revealed and the Nolans' fates are being determined. Shocker of an ending, I'll tell you that much. 

Worst Nightmares hits shelves on Tuesday, May 12 so be on the lookout. It's kind of what would happen if Saw met the publishing industry, only a little less gory.


Icedream said...

Hi, sorry I'm so behind on my visiting :( Your review sounded great, I added this book to my Friday Finds post and quoted one of your sentences I loved- and of course gave you credit and I hope you don't mind. If you do I will edit it immediatly, no problem. :D

Becky LeJeune said...

Hey there. I don't mind at all. Thanks!