I strive to find originality when I’m looking for horror fiction, which is one of the reasons I am constantly drawn to D. Nathan Hilliard’s work. Hilliard has a knack for coming up with fascinating ideas, and then combining them with horrific and terrifying elements. To say his works are entertaining is a huge understatement; I would venture so far as to say he is one of the most engrossing authors in the genre today.
His latest release, NIGHTWALK, continues this tradition of excellence. Although the premise might sound simple, the story is a dynamic web of character interactions and physical horrors. If you’ve never read one of Hilliard’s novels before, this book is the perfect entry point to begin. And if you’re already a fan, get ready for an intense ride into Hell.
If you are not familiar with NIGHTWALK, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of the author:
Welcome to Coventry Woods…
…a tranquil, middle class neighborhood where trees turn the streets into shady tunnels, soccer moms jog on secluded paths, and backyard barbecues are weekend staples. It’s a quiet, urban example of the American dream. Here businessmen are neighbors with radio DJs, young doctors buy their first houses, and author Mark Garrett has been settling in with his lovely new wife and stepdaughter.
But tonight Coventry Woods is going to come with something Mark never bargained on.
The pits of hell have yawned wide and poured their contents into the midnight streets and homes. Everything has gone insane. Shots and screams ring out in the night, while death stalks the darkness in forms this earth has never before seen. Even worse, the only hope of escape is by foot.
Now Mark, along with his stepdaughter and his back-fence neighbor, must flee the neighborhood while attempting to help anybody they meet. And it won’t be easy. They will be walking a gauntlet of unearthly predators, as they strive toward a goal they aren’t even sure still exists…the outside world.
I have to admit Hilliard’s book SPIDERSTALK still holds the title of My Favorite D. Nathan Hilliard Book, however NIGHTWALK is running a close second. I love the Lovecraftian influence of the creature design, as well as the constant air of dread that hangs over the whole story.
NIGHTWALK is written well and moves smoothly at a nice clip. The beginning puts the reader right into the action very quickly, with no unnecessary exposition or fanfare. Once the story gets going, it never lets up…much like the intensity.
The characters are believable and fleshed out well. I like how no stereotypes appear in the story. Instead, the reader is treated to realistic individuals one might find in any and every neighborhood in America. I spotted a couple from mine immediately. This helps create a bond between them and the reader, which in turn makes for a more immersive story.
And speaking of the story, it is a terrifying ride into the unknown. I particularly enjoy how Hilliard takes his character’s familiar surroundings and turns them into a dangerous element. What was once comfortable is now strange and scary. This aspect boosts the tension exponentially in the book.
NIGHTWALK is a huge win for me, and it’s another top-notch feather in Hilliard’s proverbial cap. I highly recommend this book, as I do everything else the man has written. If you’re looking for high octane horror with horrifying monsters (both nonhuman and human alike) and heart-stopping terror, give this one a look. It is available now in a variety of formats.