3.5/5 stars. I might have given it a 4, only it was frustrating in some aspects.
I was drawn to this book by the concept of dreams and nightmares, which is something that usually catches my interest, and I indeed found the method of killing quite interesting as well as thrilling. Troubling as this may be, seeing the killer in action, the way he picked at his victims and toyed with them, the way he thought, was just as interesting. The chilling feeling I got out of those scenes was reinforced by the descriptions, which were detailed enough to allow me to easily picture places and dreamscape. The ‘bad guy’ is clearly pretty deranged here; there was something almost touching to the reason behind his killing spree—a tiny spark that could’ve died quickly, that might even have seemed laughable to many people, yet blossomed instead into something terrifying, served by means beyond normal human scope. (The nursery rhymes quoted at the beginning of each chapter made me feel this even more strongly: they’re definitely reminiscent of something child-like, with an added creepy edge.)
All the characters had their part to play in the plot, with more or less spotlight, of course. Although it took me some time to get a real liking to Yardley and Williams, they are interesting personae, with spunk and potential, along with willpower and resiliency (how many people would’ve gone on trying to put an end to such an eluding case?). There were a few moments when I was confused at whose point of view I was following (in instances where “IT” and “the man” appeared); otherwise, the dates, places and POVs were clear and evident.
Overall, I had a good time reading this story, and wanted to know how it went from beginning to end (the epilogue was chilly, by the way—it screams for a catastrophe in the making, really). However, I remained frustrated at some things that I wished would have been more elaborated on. For instance, Celeste and her family (there’s something mysterious here, and I was hoping to learn more); the exact mechanism of the killer’s abilities; or Anthony’s motives and involvement, that were partly explained only, in my opinion. I think I’d have enjoyed the novel more if those loose ends had been tied. Last but not least, I managed to guess who the killer was fairly early; once I had it in my head, my hypothesis kept on being validated regularly. I’d have wanted that mystery to last longer.
(reviewed 6 days after purchase)