Tremor Dose – Michael W. Conrad, Noah Bailey (Dark Horse Books)

We’ve all had that bad dream. A nightmare so horrifying that it cuts to your very soul, where you wake up in a cold sweat, still shaking from a terror that will play on your mind for weeks to come. What is the meaning of these dreams and are they part of a bigger more controlled picture? This is the theme for the enthralling new book from Michael W. Conrad. Straddling itself on the line that separates science fiction and horror Tremor Dose is one of those books that will stay long in the mind.

Ginn is a just a normal college student studying medicine, except she is undergoing counselling for particularly terrifying nightmares. They start off like any other nightmare, an interpretation of some unknown anxiety, but they always end the same, with an appearance of a mysterious man. He’s sometimes a prominent part of the dream, sometimes a background character, but he’s always a menacing presence. The mystery deepens when Ginn sees a flyer advertising counselling for the dreams, and it contains a picture of the man in question.

The narrative by Conrad, delves deep into the psychology of dreams and makes for captivating reading while the sheer bleakness of the black and grey pencil art by Noah Bailey gives the Tremor Dose a jarring feel, almost dragging us into these dreams ourselves. The lack of background in some panels do well to capture the feeling of isolation, making this a very uneasy read that is hard to put down. If you thought comics book were forgettable light entertainment, then Tremor Dose is here to remind you how a book can make you want to sleep with the light on. Psychological sci-fi horror at it’s best….Chris Andrews

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