The Nightmares of Caitlin Lockyer by Demeza Carlton are truly scary because they are so horrible as fragments. Caitlin’s nightmares always end with an abrupt and screaming waking call to a rescuer she barely knows, Nathan. Caitlin remembers one thing clearly. Nathan, her rescuer, has promised he would never leave her side; he would always be there when she woke up, even in the several surgery rooms where doctors worked to restore her body to a semblance of what she was before her abduction and torture. Each sleep session, four or five per night, brings a few more memories about what happened to her, who tortured her, how many participated in the abduction, and how she was rescued (not escaped) from her captors.
This is a mesmerizing stand alone novel although it is Book One of a Nightmares Trilogy. One of my unanswered questions, as I read the story, was about motive, why was she abducted and not someone else? Was the choice random? The answer is not clearly given but is alluded to, almost as an afterthought. Following the conclusion, there are several pages from Book Two. I almost never read these sneak peeks, but I was happy I did with this novel. There is yet another allusion to motive, again not clear. What a clever marketing strategy when combined with the Amazon price of USD 0.00 for this first book. The second and third novels that follow are not cheap with a combined price of USD 11.98 and no Kindle Unlimited option. Christmas is coming so I will send hints to my family members that they don’t have to spend so much to make me happy this year.
This is an addictive read which I can’t believe I read so quickly. I was surprised to see my Kindle say it was a five-hour read at 351 pages. I read approximately 50 pages per hour, so I doubted the calculation. I was wrong, Amazon was correct, and I read the novel in just under five hours. Two narrators provide most of the story, Nathan and Caitlin. It is the way Caitlin tells her story, the formatting of her memories, that speed the novel along. It would be no spoiler to describe but I will leave it for readers to discover. I found it an impressive display of Carlton’s writing talent.
Nathan was out for an early morning stroll on the beach when he found a girl (Caitlin) on the beach. At first, he wasn’t sure she was alive. Covering her up due to the cold as well as demands of modesty, Nathan went for a first aid kit and to call for ambulance and police. They responded quickly, the police arriving first. One enthusiastic police officer immediately shot both Nathan and Caitlin although Caitlin was so damaged the policeman’s shot probably didn’t register as anything more than one more type of pain she was already suffering.
While waiting for the arrival of rescuers, Nathan tried using calming repetitive words and phrases to assure Caitlin she would receive no further pain from those who had tortured and kidnapped her. Caitlin heard two things; her rescuer’s name, Nathan, and a promise: “I will not let them hurt you again.” After both Nathan and Caitlin were shot by an arriving officer, both were taken to a hospital, treated, and housed in the same recovery room. Each time Caitlin came to a screaming consciousness, she yelled for Nathan. Hospital staff determined it was best to keep them together, a good move because Nathan had decided that his promise was a type of oath he would not fail to live up to.
It would take weeks to treat all of Caitlin’s injuries. There were the fingers that had been intentionally broken during torture. There were repeated gang rapes. There were the cuts, slashes, and wounds randomly administered. The most startling and shocking wounds, ones Nathan saw, was the carved and crossed out name “Alanna” and the carved but not crossed out name of “Chris.”
Caitlin, a girl Nathan did not really know (he had seen her on the street) had the names of Nathan’s two sisters inscribed on her body. Nathan’s twin sister, Alanna, had been kidnapped, tortured for months, and killed months earlier. Nathan’s other sister, Chris, was still living but was presumably in danger.
That twist alone made it impossible for me to put the book down. But there are many, many surprises as Caitlin’s story unfolds. This is an Amazon five-star read. I may even buy the other two books for me for Christmas.
Although the language related to the torture of Caitlin set my teeth on edge, it is very descriptive, there is no need for warnings about graphic sexual language. It isn’t there. Rape is possibly the strongest word used to describe what accompanied torture sessions. And that word is strong enough.