Nightmares Ahead contains 31 of Howard Jackson’s idiosyncratic horror stories and one (Long Black limousine) designed to help the reader recover. This is Howard’s first collection of his own short stories, but Flowers you may have come across some of these tales before in Red Rattle’s Zombie Bites and Dracula’s Midnight Snacks anthologies.
Stand out stories for me were the ones about Bram Stoker meeting a post Reading Jail vampire Oscar Wilde in Paris (Abraham and Oscar) and the possessed wedding ring of a dead spurned bride (The Wedding Ring), but there is a lot more to get stuck into. The Walking Dead get the Jackson treatment as office workers watch the zombie apocalypse, a driver faces up to the inevitable police questioning after running a walker over and a young woman rings her dad to get a ride home when she is trapped in her car after a night out when the dead rise. there are also tales featuring robots, gods, vampires, murders, ghosts and even a nicotine addicted dog.
Jackson’s gift is to take something as mundane as a bus ride (15 8 2015) and twist it into something very very chilling while a the same time maintaining a very British quirky humour.
A highly original set of quirky chillers I give Nightmares Ahead a 555/666
Nightmares Ahead (price £7.99) is published by Red Rattle Books