Reviewed by Emerian Rich
Tales of Nightmares consists of a handful of horror tales, each wildly different from the other. Some modern, some period, they’ve got yokai, killers, werewolves, monsters, and haunted houses in here. Although not all the stories were my cup of tea, there is sure to be something you’ll enjoy in this anthology. There are some real gems here and I’ll highlight my favorites below.
My favorite story in the collection was “The Haunting of Mrs. Poole” by Angel Leigh McCoy. Reminiscent of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, this tale takes place in 1872. Revolving around a young woman who is about to be married, it involves a spooky “Charred Lady” ghost who is so much more than the ghosts we are used to seeing in Victorian tales like this. I really like how decomposed items kept showing up in her bed. How creepy is that?
Another great one was Loren Rhoad’s “Elle a Vu un Loup,” which casts her heroine, Alondra, as a visitor to an island where horrible killings have been committed. As tourists and locals alike flee for their lives, Alondra is heading into the abandoned location to find what human or creature (or both?) is doing the damage and how to put a stop to it. Alondra is a likeable character and the way she interacts with the other characters makes you want to read more about her. Thankfully, Loren has a series of Alondra stories you can read via Kindle if you want to read more of her adventures.
The modern tale “Twenty Questions” by Jennifer Brozek was a refreshing change of pace as it dealt with a young woman caught up in a computer chat program. Someone has invited her to play a game via chat and although at first she thinks it might be a scam, she goes for it out of curiosity and perhaps boredom. The outcome is nothing she could have guessed and a fun ride for the reader to follow.
The last I’ll mention is “The House on River Road” by Bill Bodden. With a sort of Stranger Things feeling, the story starts out innocently enough with two kids snooping around the town’s token haunted house. When a bully crashes their party and starts causing trouble, he’s attacked by “something.” This is one of those great tales where the house becomes a character itself and you are never really sure if the monster came to the house or if the house bred the evil that lurks there. Can I just say…any story with a disappearing evil house is great in my book!
As I said, the stories in this book vary so widely, which is apparent in those I discussed above. The big plus to reading it is, you get a good taste of each author’s story-telling skills. If you enjoyed an author’s work, more anthologies from this group are coming out, so you can read more as they are released.