Unrelenting Nightmare by Stan Yocum

Published: 31st December 2013
Goodreads badgePublisher: iUniverse.com
Pages: 330
Format: Paperback
Genre: Suspense/Thriller
★   ★   ★  ★  – 4 Stars

Stuart Garrison, a brilliant virtual reality software developer, has his company poised on the threshold of industry dominance with the release of his newest virtual reality system–Next World. Among his competitors is Preston McBraid, the cutthroat CEO of a rival company. McBraid realizes that if he does not own Next World, his company is bound to lose its premier position atop the computer industry.

Driven by desperation and greed, McBraid hires the notorious Nomed, a highly sought-after assassin who commands millions to kill a target. The FBI learns of the assassination plot and intervenes to protect Stuart. He in turn quickly augments the FBI team, hiring two security specialists as additional defense: a monster of a man, nicknamed Superman–and Alex Nichols, an expert in the field of security. Stuart clings desperately to the hope that he can make it though the onslaught of Nomed’s assassination attempts. If he does, his next ingenious virtual reality product–Mind Games–will blow the world away with its originality and staggering mass appeal, and catapult Stuart to the top of the computer industry as its reigning czar, and make him a billionaire many times over.

In this gripping suspense thriller, the wannabe czar of the computer industry is unwittingly catapulted into a deadly cat-and-mouse game against the infamous Nomed, and only time will tell who is clever enough to survive

Note: I was provided a copy of this book for review

Unrelenting Nightmare is a story that grabs your attention from the very first page but then surprises you and shatters your expectations before you have even finished the first chapter. This level of unexpectedness continues through the story but not in so much that it is the main focus and takes away from the story itself. The thrilling nature is there as well as the suspense, but Yocum balances both these elements well, placing the right amount in all the right places and always with a purpose.

The story focuses on numerous perspectives around the same unfolding event but essentially follows Nomed, an assassin for hire who has been hired to kill a prominent software developer. What I found really interesting was that I often found myself unsure of who to root for. Typically when there is a story about an assassin hunting down and trying to kill an innocent person you’re supposed to hope he fails and the would-be victim gets spared, but I was surprised this was not always the case.

Nomed is a character who you can’t help but admire in terms of his creativity and his methods in his jobs. He works hard to make sure he is not caught but he also has a tendency to add some drama or flair to his work. This need for flair can be his downfall sometimes, his desire to be creative often distract from the task at hand and prolong his jobs when things do not go according to plan. Nomed is ruthless and smart, and what I loved about him was how Yocum sets up his character so that anything really could happen, and does, and even when everything seems clear there is another level of surprise in store.

Intended target Stuart, on the other hand, wavered in my eyes in terms of my sympathy. While I initially felt bad that he was being hunted by Nomed, you soon realise how annoying he can be and I found myself wishing Nomed would just take him out. This is where my conflictions came about, sometimes Stuart was so difficult and frustrating that I wanted him gone; it almost felt justified in a way, then of course something else happens and you wish Nomed would get caught before he can complete his job.

The clash of character personalities adds a great realism to the story though; people are all different, situations can be difficult, and when no one knows how or when Nomed is going to strike there is tension and a lot of waiting. All of Yocum’s characters are wonderfully real and they all bring something to the story to give it a bit more depth, reality, or intrigue. What was good about having a character like Stuart was that it highlights the difficulties Alex and the FBI have in trying to keep him safe and it makes the story quite captivating. He is determined to do what he wants and they must work around him and deal with him being stubborn meaning there are more risks involved than him happily complying to stay locked indoors all day.

The determination and unpredictability of Nomed also makes for an intriguing story because danger is never where you expect it and Yocum’s writing is filled with the unexpected and numerous surprises to keep you on your toes. There really is no way you can ignore how creative and ingenious Yocum has been in developing this story, not just with his depiction of Nomed, but also how everything that happens has a purpose whether you realise it at the time or not. Every element and action fits together wonderfully, making a seemingly simple story more intricate and the skill in which Yocum executes these makes the narrative a lot more compelling and a highly enjoyable read.

You can purchase Unrelenting Nightmare via the following

iUniverse

Amazon

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