Reviewed by Jennifer Bogart
Nightmare by Robin Parrish
"Coming from a background in the occult, I tend to be wary of stories that glamorize communication with spirits, or that could develop a fascination with the subject. While I won’t say that Parrish has gone that far, he’s definitely treading on the line, and I’m definitely not comfortable with that."
Maia Peters has had an unusual upbringing. As the child of two prominent paranormal investigators her life has been filled with first-hand experiences of ghost-sightings, but she’s hoping to put that behind her as she moves on with her chosen course of study in college. She is dragged back into familiar territory when Jordin Cole, a wealthy student at her college enlists her help in exploring the paranormal for herself first-hand.
When Jordin appears to Maia as a spectre at a new amusement park, Maia realizes that something has gone dreadfully wrong and embarks on an investigation alongside Jordin’s fiancé (and aspiring pastor) to discover Jordin’s fate. Told in an alternating flashback manner, the search for Jordin is interspersed with Jordin and Maia’s past adventures “ghost-hunting”. In all honesty, the search for Jordin was more compelling than the ghost-hunting scenes, which tended to become repetitive after a while – more of the same, more of the same.
Robin Parrish writes in some of my target genres, so I was excited to see that his latest release – Nightmare – held potential to fall squarely within one of my top reading areas; Christian supernatural suspense. I’ve enjoyed some of Parrish’s writing in the past (Offworld), and while I find his tendency to spin some pretty improbable conclusions to require a bit too much suspension of disbelief, I was looking forward to his latest read.
Nightmare is a lightning fast read, it’s written in very simple language (which I believe is written to mirror the thinking/speaking style of the main character Maia), but which also lacked descriptive depth due to its straightforward simplicity. This is the sort of story that keeps readers going with the promise of a mystery unfolding – and there’s certainly that in spades.
I’m disappointed however that Maia’s perception of the paranormal seems to trump that of a Christian worldview, hers is written much more strongly, and though she claims belief in God, we really don’t see a lot of evidence of that in her life. Coming from a background in the occult, I tend to be wary of stories that glamorize communication with spirits, or that could develop a fascination with the subject. While I won’t say that Parrish has gone that far, he’s definitely treading on the line, and I’m definitely not comfortable with that.
As a result, I won’t be recommending Nightmare to anyone. There is far too much emphasis and fascination surrounding ghosts in our culture already. I was hoping that Parrish would come down with a decidedly more biblical point of view in this novel, but there’s just too much room for distraction and being led astray within its pages.
Jennifer Bogart is a child of God, wife and homeschooling mother of three young children (so far). She writes homeschooling resources with her husband at Bogart Family Resources, and reviews as a creative outlet. Passionately dedicated to promoting the work of Christian authors and artists, her blog Quiverfull Family features reviews, contests, family updates, homeschooling tidbits and well - a bit of everything.