The Collected Nightmares, by Fred Wiehe

The Collected Nightmares by Fred Wiehe is a horror anthology which was just released with the hopes of making you leave the lights on at night. The book had a little more stylistic variety than many one person shows. Within its pages are short stories, poems, as well as two long novellas.

Genre:  Horror
Publisher:  Black Bed Sheet
Released:  2019
Stars:   3.5 Stars
Reviewer: Michael D. Griffiths

I was pleased to get a horror book because it had been a while since I have enjoyed one. I would consider this light summer reading at least to a horror junky like myself.  Collected Nightmares has a good amount of atmosphere within its tales. A thread of lingering dread flows through the different tales. However many of his stories enter more of a Dark Fantasy realm and not pure horror. I will review a few stories below.

One of the short stories I enjoyed was Creeper. In this, a detective faces something far worse than the maniac knife welder he chased into an alley. Instead he must deal with what created the man’s insane killing spree. Like many classic horror tales, this had a feeling of a dark hopelessness as the detective’s fear grew.

The first novella was quite entertaining. Kind of like viewing a whole movie in just forty minutes. In Under the Protection of Witches an ancient curse has released demonic winged beasts and only one young woman can fix it. With the help of a sheriff and later a young girl, she must brave the attacks of these, Uglies, and get the spell to entrap them ready before the whole town is destroyed.

The second novella was a great story, but here we really enter a different genre for this is a Dark Fantasy through and through. Wiehe sets up a world full of supernatural creatures, serial killers, and gypsies. Aleric has lived as a ghoul feeding off his vampire lover’s blood for two centuries, but since her death he realizes he must continue to feed off of supernatural creatures or he will quickly age and die. When he is at his weakest, one of his few friends is missing and assassins are being sent against him.

This was a fun and thick book at 466 pages. It was a quick read, but had a few weaknesses in my opinion. First of which was it did not scare me too much. I know there is a high bar set with all the fiction available today, but this novel did not deliver A list scares. It also had a bit of a trash can feel, meaning the author placed a wide spread of subjects and styles instead of having a feel of an anthology crafted to fit together. I am not sure if this is the case, but it felt like he just tossed everything he had not gotten published into the anthology.

But many of these stories did excel. Again this would be great beach or vacation reading for horror lovers. The stories are not extremely violent or disturbing and are easy to follow. Horror loves should grab this one for some fun down time reading.

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