Night Terrors by Jonathan Janz

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Night Terrors is the first book in Janz’s Savage Species series. It’s an interesting concept to have a serial novel. I was intrigued by the premise and there are some fantastic book covers. I believe the series will be available as a complete book in the future. It’s a great marketing idea to give away the first segment to get the reader hooked. My only hesitation with picking up this title is that I’d read a previous book by Janz, The Sorrows, and I’d  hated it. In fact, I never finished it. It takes a lot for me not to finish a book. It wasn’t that the writing was bad. It was just that the story was deathly boring. Anyway, the author got a second chance with me with Night Terrors.

The book kicks off in fantastic fashion. The opening is brutal, disturbing and, I hope, sets the tone for the series. After the powerful start he establishes the setting: a newly opened state park and camping resort, Peaceful Valley. Spoiler alert- it’s not so peaceful. The characterisation is really good. We are introduced to a wide range of characters from newspaper reporters Emma, Jesse and Colleen, to housewife Charly and her basketball coach asshole husband, Eric. Of course, what campsite would be complete without the standard partying college students, so we find them there too. The diverse cast of characters, their personalities and back stories provide a firm basis for the story. You can identify with them and you end up caring what happens to them. The story unfolds with a kidnapping followed by a party that descends into a massacre. The visitors to the park are not alone. There is some graphic gore as the proverbial hits the fan.

By the end of the book, things are very much still in the development stage leading into the next installment. I really liked the setup and the characters. When the action started I didn’t find it as gripping. I find a more subtle approach is creepier than an all out bloody mess. I don’t find myself chomping at the bit to read the next installment, The Children, but maybe I’ll read it in the future. I won’t give this a score out of 10 as that would be unfair – better to judge on the basis of all the installments as a whole.

Back Cover Blurb:

Peaceful Valley is about to become a slaughterhouse!

For the first time ever, Samhain Publishing will serialize a terrifying original novel, Savage Species, in five installments, with new installments coming every two weeks. Here, as a special introduction to the fear that awaits you in Savage Species, is the first section, Night Terrors, absolutely free!

Jesse thinks he’s caught a break when he, the girl of his dreams, and her friend are assigned by their newspaper to cover the opening weekend of the Peaceful Valley Nature Preserve, a sprawling, isolated state park. But the construction of the park has stirred an evil that has lain dormant for nearly a century, and the three young people—as well as every man, woman, and child unlucky enough to be attending the grand opening—are about to encounter the most horrific creatures to ever walk the earth. A species so ferocious that Peaceful Valley is about to be plunged into a nightmare of bloodshed and damnation.