Spoiler Free Summary: Night Stalker by TR.L. Weeks was my 2017 September Book Cover of the Month. Casey is a young woman who’s husband died. She’s haunted by reoccurring nightmares in which a stranger inflicts great pain upon her. One day, she rediscovers that not only is the man of her nightmares real, but he’s working against her supernaturally resurrected dead husband, who now only seeks pleasure in the suffering of mortals.
Character: Casey is actually pretty proactive, but that’s what bothers me. She’s too quick to swoon and too quick to accept things for my taste. She also seems incredibly naive, and while that would be okay if that was her character arch in which she grew more discerning, but that’s not the plot. Rather than let the conflict of her clashing worlds drive the story in interesting directions, the character is forced along, which makes her feel hard to believe.
Exposition: I was probably affected by the first person narrative here, but it felt like every conversation in the story was just another info-dump session on the history and world building of this world. This results in getting told a lot, and not much quality seeing.
World building: I got the feeling this is where the author put the bulk of her energy. The world is as thought out as I’d ask any world to be. The lore seems deep. The society of the creatures was a bit cliche, but it was well-developed.
Dialogue: I touched on this above. I’m of the opinion that every conversation in this story (ok, most of them) consisted of convincing Casey to more or less come to the dark side or explain to Casey this world the author spent ages fleshing out. When the conversation wasn’t about those things, it was the less that subtle Twilightesque love story.
Description: This was well done. I got the imagery I needed without bogging the story down. It had a decent mix of detail and room for imagination.
Overall: First, I have to note that I listened to this book on Audible, and it simply wasn’t well produced. There were lines read multiple times. Some lines were cut off. You could hear the narrator taking breaths. I swear I even once heard a dog barking in the background. The narrator read at this tone that seemed at a constant near-tears whine that got old fast. If I’m being honest, the lack of quality audio engineering probably ruined what fairness I could offer the actual story. I was giving the story a try until I felt like I was reading something that felt too much like Twilight, which I’ve never read, but I hated the movie and don’t particularly want to read a story that feels too much like, “let me love this monster to life.” When it works, it’s amazing, but this story leaves without much resolved, and the main character’s unrealistic reactions just didn’t work for me. That said, if you like melodramatic love stories (and a great many people do) this story is right up your alley, only I strongly recommend you avoid the Audible version.
I don’t typically give reviews like this. Most stories always have something that I can cling to and study. I don’t ever want to bash, and I hope I stopped before I got to “bashing status.” This last section is simply me explaining that even this story deserves a chance if you’re in the writers’ audience. Please don’t let my own biases affect your willingness to give a story a try. No, I didn’t enjoy this story much, but yo might, and I’d like to hear why.