THE FLASHLIGHTERS is the fourth entry in the ongoing post-apocalyptic horror series, THE NIGHTMARELAND CHRONICLES, by Daniel Barnett. Being a volume four I am having a hard time coming up with new and clever (at least I think I am clever) things to say about this phenomenal series that I haven’t already said in my reviews for the previous three books. I don’t want to just keep regurgitating the same adjectives over and over again, but all those previously used adjectives still apply here.
So what can I say about THE FLASHLIGHTERS, what does this book bring to the table? How does this piece of the puzzle fit within the continuing story? Well, for me this was the most nightmare-inducing entry so far. Now yes, every book has had its own nightmarish moments don’t get me wrong. From the creepy and unexplainable to the real-life human-bred nightmare fuel. It’s all been there, but this time, this time around Barnett took it to another level. I don’t think this is really a spoiler when I say there are literal nightmares to be found here, I mean the series is called NIGHTMARELAND for a reason. A land is full of nightmares. Certain parts in this one gave me heavy Nightmare on Elm Street vibes. Now there is no Freddy here (or anyone like him) and this isn’t an over-the-top somewhat cheesy slasher. I guess what I mean by that comparison is the concept of one’s own nightmares seeping into reality and taking on a tangible form. Yea, that. That happened a lot in this book. Some of it was a bit off the wall and weird, some of it was pretty horrifying and I loved every moment of it. The auto repair shop scene, in particular, yea that scene. Wow, that was absolutely chilling. You’ll just have to read it for yourself to see what I am talking about.
But what about The Flashlighters? Let’s talk about them for a moment. Up until this point, we have been following our core cast of characters for a while now on this cross-country journey through a darkened and dead America. They’ve encountered a random stranger or two along the way but now our characters stumble across an entire group of new people, a bit of a community of them. Are they friends or foes? Can they be trusted or not? Introducing this religious light worshipping cult-like group adds a whole new level of possible danger, mystery, and complexity to the story. Their leader, a man is known as Father Ammon, seems genuine and caring enough, but is he may be harbouring a darker side? Does he have more nefarious motives other than looking after his flock of sheep attempting to lead them to salvation? With the introduction of these Flashlighters Barnett has thrown a new and interesting dynamic into an already superbly dark (pun intended) and terrifying tale.
A brilliantly crafted world shrouded in mystery (I still have so many unanswered questions), flawed and gritty characters, and a compellingly expansive story. What more could you ask for from a post-apocalyptic horror series? Set all those things aside though. I have harped on this before but the best thing, the absolute best thing about these books has been Barnett’s prose. It’s beautiful, lyrical, poetic. It’s all those things swirled together. I am not the first person to use this phrase but Barnett has definitely been flexing his muscles in the prose magic department. It is the piece de resistance to top off a stellar story. THE FLASHLIGHTERS by Daniel Barnett is another cog in a well-oiled machine. Another impressive installment in a series that is firing on all cylinders. I for one cannot wait to discover what atrocities are lurking in wait for our characters in the next volume.
I received an ARC of this book from the author for review consideration.
Book reviewer & Booktuber who focuses mostly on small press & indie horror, sci-fi, fantasy, & southern literature.