Review: Waking Nightmares

By Christopher Golden

Simon & Schuster, out now

Peter Octavian battles chaos in Massachusetts…

The fifth of Golden’s novels to feature his soulful (now former) vampire Peter Octavian had better not be the last, given the cliffhanger on which he ends the book. It’s just the final twist in a story that constantly ups the ante for all the characters involved, and provides shock after shock as chaos threatens to engulf not just the town in which it’s mostly set, but also all of the characters.

Reading the Octavian novels in order gives an overview of Golden’s progression as a writer. Waking Nightmares flows with the fluidity of a master of his craft, with not a word wasted. No doubt stylistically his use of sentence structure can be analysed and explained, but the effect is to draw the reader along into the nightmare.

And what a nightmare it is, as an ancient evil threatens to be reborn, and bring about a world without structure. Even someone as powerful as Octavian needs allies, and Golden brings back some old faces, as well as creating the vampire Charlotte, who suffers as her inbuilt desires and her  wish to be better pull against each other, providing added tension in the final sequences.

Verdict: A thrilling horror tale.  8/10

Paul Simpson

Click here to order Waking Nightmares from


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