The Ballador House is set in the remote reaches of Scotland and it has some very unique characteristics. Anyone that stays there is guaranteed to have nightmares. This guarantee has transformed the Ballador House into a must-stay destination for some very unusual clientele that happen to be into that kind of thing. Not the kind of people that the elderly multi-millionaire, Victor Taversham, would be seen associating with. But that all changed after his wife, Josephine, booked a stay there right before she went into the bathroom and blew her brains out. A distraught Victor is desperately seeking for answers on why his wife decided to take her life and why would the last thing that she was to ever do be reserving a room at this bazaar inn if she didn’t plan on ever going? So Victor decides to keep the reservation to see if he can discover any clues to his wife’s mysterious suicide. As promised, the Ballador House delivers the nightmares and they pack a punch. Can Victor sort out what is real and what is dream so that he can find out what the connection the house has with Josephine? Or does the house have plans for Victor?
Prince of Nightmares is a wonderful, surreal marriage of Clive Barker’s Hellraiser, The Shining, and Thirteen Ghosts. While it shares shades of color from these three tales, it ends up standing on its own two feet and delivers on its own merit. Many times you’ll wonder if what you’re reading is a dream or is it real. McNee makes you pay attention similar to the way Barker’s stories do and, like Barker, brings out the red stuff in the final act. A description of a mutilation that includes the breaking of bones to twist a body into a pretzel will linger in your subconscious long after you finish the story. I enjoyed the slow burn while trying to discover what was really going on. McNee has a good writing style that flows well. The characters, while colorful, did have a tendency to not be fully fleshed out and I would’ve liked to have learned more of the backstory. That’s the only thing that made me give it a 4 1/2 instead of a 5. Still a very worthwhile tale that is worth the price of admission.
4 1/2 surreal nightmares out of 5
This ARC was supplied by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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