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Nightmare Logic
Larry Segriff
Five Star, 222 pages

Nightmare Logic
Larry Segriff
Larry Segriff is the editor of a number of anthologies and the author of The Four Magics and Spacer Dreams.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Future Wars
SF Site Review: Silicon Dreams
SF Site Review: Past Imperfect
SF Site Review: Far Frontiers
SF Site Review: Battle Magic

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Cindy Lynn Speer

Lately Jonathan Hayes has been plagued by nightmares, but usually they end when he wakes up. But not today. The police surround his house and tell him to come out peacefully. He is arrested for the extremely brutal murder of a sixteen-year-old girl. Someone apparently called in and accused him, and when they ran his name through the computer they found warrants out on him for the murder of two agents -- another act he never committed. When they find out that he wasn't the one the warrants were issued for, they have to release him, especially when he has a water-tight alibi.

But that's not the worst. He gets home to discover that, despite their careful computer screening of all incoming phone calls, Barry, his wife Joan's evil and obsessed ex-husband, was able to get through. Neither of them quite got over the still-born death of their son, Merle, but Barry is certain the child is alive. When another phone call comes, a little boy crying for his mommy, things begin to get even more surreal, especially since the phone is not even plugged in.

But it's only when Jon finds Joan murdered in her little shed/studio that he realizes that the police can't help him. To revenge his wife and get his life back, he turns to a Virtual Reality CD-ROM to research ritual killings, opening the gates to the possibility of magic within himself and the world. Magic that he'll use to fight his wife's murderer, following him to a place of nightmare.

I enjoyed Nightmare Logic because it combines the mystery/thriller genre with magical fantasy perfectly. The police procedural aspects are interesting, as you get a really different look. How can someone fake such compelling, and often vital, evidence? You feel kind of bad for the police, because they're being fed all this fake information. They're sure they've got their man, then things unravel for them. You also worry, with each murder (there are more after the first), they're finally going to get what they need to arrest Jonathan. The only thing that makes this police harassment bearable is the help of Captain Johanson. A strong character, she's smart enough to see that things simply don't add up and to take help when its offered. I also liked Joan. She's creative and vulnerable, but she has a strong practical side. Most of all, she never doubts her husband.

Jonathan, too, is what makes this story so readable. He goes through a lot of very harsh, very emotional things, yet he handles them all well, thinking with a clarity that you can admire. He's also kind of funny, in a sort of very normal, everyday kind of way. He's a lot like any of us -- very normal, very nice, and so going through all the troubles with him feels very immediate.

I also liked the magic. Yes, there is a lot of magic. The theory is that all of us have power inside of us, and that the evil people try and steal the power from others to get more for their own ends. Exploring this new reality that goes from being our own every day existence to almost another world is really neat, and gives you that feeling of discovery that makes average people entering a magical realm stories so alluring.

Nightmare Logic is one of those books that you can curl up and read in an evening. It's hard to put down, with the right amount of creepy chills and minor (and major) triumphs throughout.

Copyright © 2004 Cindy Lynn Speer

Cindy Lynn Speer loves books so much that she's designed most of her life around them, both as a librarian and a writer. Her books aren't due out anywhere soon, but she's trying. You can find her site at

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