Nightmares and Other Therapy – D.W. Carver

9781629290478Hospitals are supposed to help. Michael found that wasn’t always true.

Michael couldn’t understand the nightmares that made him violent on waking, mostly because he didn’t have the courage to think his problem through. Eventually, pressured into entering a mental hospital by his employers he thought that here he would find answers and a way to a better life. He was never more wrong.

Being traditional, or perhaps just a grumpy, behind the times book reader, when I have the opportunity to read a book that is not of the paper variety, I always worry that I won’t be able to do the work justice, as skim reading is almost automatic with me when screens are involved.

It is lucky therefore that D.W. Carver’s Nightmares and Other Therapy is an enjoyable read…is enjoyable the right term for a book that delves into the world of mental health?

Perhaps not, more accurately I was intrigued by this new perspective on what is at best a very misunderstood area of life for a lot of people.  The author has a grounding in this though having worked as a mental health community counsellor, which allows the reader to put trust in the accuracy of the thoughts and acts that take place throughout.

I started this early one morning (5AM for those completists) and was surprised to find out I had serenely glided through 58 pages without even glancing up.  It was more than just appreciating the story, I felt quite compelled to carry on, I would say this is partly down to the writing style being light enough to read but deep enough to make you think, as well as the story itself which gets going straight away and gives enough necessary exposition without it getting in the way, so making for a smooth transition from introducing a story to moving it along at pace..

Michael’s internal strife is fascinating, the examination of human nature, complexity and self-examination we all go through, most of us to a less extreme extent than Michael, the strangeness of human thoughts, how we view each other and how we think in general, all come together to make this a book to dwell upon long after finishing it.


The plot simmers nicely with tension, the bad guys have a looming presence and are as equally downright horrible and distasteful as anything Stephen king has created, with language to match.  It is only fair to mention there is a lot of crude language throughout, adding to the down to earth and gritty atmosphere the book portrays, overarching this is the dilapidated and worrying attitude of the lack of care in a system that should be supporting these people and for which – on a more petty level –  we pay for so expect some sort of standard.

How would I classify this work…probably as a psychological thriller grounded in a grim reality as opposed to over the top, gratuitous storytelling that some would have used as direction.  There is no glamorizing either, the bad guys are menacing and sadistic but never become to over the top, the locations feel sparse and stripped down yet comfortably descriptive in the details.


Whilst I enjoyed the book and would have read it quicker time permitting, there are elements that may not be pleasing to everyone.  I would say if you are after a book that pulls no punches and is honest no matter where that leads then you will appreciate this.  For those of you who downright refuse to read gutter language and explicit stuff in general, probably best you steer clear of this.  For the rest of you, if you fancy giving this a whirl, you can pick it up on or .com

24 Replies to “Nightmares and Other Therapy – D.W. Carver”

  1. I enjoy books that pull no punches with language especially when it comes to thrillers and horror. For me, seeing a friend ripped apart, I would come out with something more colourful than “oops, darn, that was unfortunate”

    I will take a look at this, thanks


    1. This one is more psychological as you have no doubt guessed but has its fair share of dramatic moments. The realistic portrayal always makes for a more immersive read that is a good a point. It’s not as extreme language wise as the usual Ray Winstone film though (by which I mean Nil By Mouth) so that is good.


      1. I think there are still some words that I find really offensive and wonder why they use them. I have brought this on my Kindle now, so I will get to it eventually. It’s been a while since I have read any form of thriller. I think it was a Dick Francis book and I think I mentioned that before, so will shut up now lol


        1. Dick Francis…we had a question on him on the pub quiz machine…it said what does he write about…I still think we were right to say horses. Never mind though.

          Glad you picked up a copy mate…enjoy, when you get round to it.


              1. Yes you would. On The Chase as well. Well, anything would have done. Every one of his books involved horses. Each one is first person as well. I stopped reading when the protagonist died. How on earth did he tell his story then??? Just me being picky I know.

                The last book I brought after one of your reviews was a good one – the one about the attack on the US – so I imagine this should be good as well. How many pages?


                1. Francis has never grabbed me but writing a first person book when the protagonist is dead is definitely an intriguing premise.

                  I hope I keep up my 100% record then, if memory serves and the file has already disappeared into my somewhat messy and non existent filing system 218 pages.


                  1. I got into him after I brought a computer game many years ago, and it had Twice Shy in it for free. After I mentioned to one of my neighbours about it, she said that she had all of his books. I had read five or six when she died, but her family said that I could have the rest. I read them all up until 1988 when the book’s last line was “and everything went dark” after
                    he had been trampled by horses. I have contemplated getting them again but there are other books that appeal to me more now.


  2. Sounds like a nice foul-mouthed psychological thriller…just what this Jersey gal likes. And you gave the author quite the compliment by stating you read 58 pages beginning at 5 am, without glancing up. It must really be quite a fascinating read, with bonuses for us potty-mouth-having folks. Hehe


    1. Anyone who gets up at 5AM must be dedicated, that and I had foolishly forgotten that I had this to review so became Mr Professional with finally reading a book. Not sure what’s up with books and myself this year. The self examination aspect of the book is fascinating, I did muse for a while and it is very rare recently that I have mused.


    1. Comment redemption there! I would never spoil the book of course, however it is a story that is wider than the idea of redemption but is really a viewer into our own characters.


  3. No language offends me, so this’d be safe enough. It would stink to be a reader who is offended easily. You’d the wondering, “will this next page offend me?” every time you sit down with a book.


    1. The joys of catering for such a varied readership is the signposting of certain elements which I rarely do but this does have some intriguing phrases in that not everyone would appreciate this reviewer failing to mention. Welcome to the blog!


    1. It is extremely eye catching, I think I spent an inordinate amount of time gazing at it. I like a good front cover, me! Have a great weekend yourself! xx


    1. This pleases me, having had a bit of a book splurge with Christina, she has been getting me all enthused about books again so expect more coming up than have been seen in the last few months.


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