Frightfully Cosy And Mild Stories For Nervous Types, by Johnny Mains

“A collection of twelve very different horror stories, six original to this book. Author Reggie Oliver said that “Johnny Mains follows in a great tradition of horror stories which he knows and respects, but his stories have a power and strangeness which is all their own”. And anthologist Stephen Jones said his fiction “would not have been out of place in the old Pan Book of Horror Stories”. In his introduction to this volume, author Stephen Volk remarks that “These stories absorbed and disturbed me. And confirmed to me that Johnny Mains not only carries a flame for the old horrors, but wants to cause a bit of a conflagration of his own”.

Not content with being an excellent anthologist, Johnny is also a rather fine author as well.  Frightfully Cosy and Mild Stories For Nervous Types (FCAMSFNT), is the perfect place to begin, your education in the writing of Mr Mains.  

With single author collections, there is always a danger that the book with highlight the limitations of the authors breadth and scope of writing, so much so that the book becomes somewhat stale by the end.  FCAMSFNT, thankfully isn’t one of those books.  Johnny appears to be comfortable writing emotional powerful and heart breaking stories, as he is writing much more light hearted and fun filled stories.   

The twelve stories on show here are all very good, some of them are excellent, my oersonal favourites are 

 The Rookery, this is a heart breaking father and son tale, that will have even the most jaded male reader reaching for the kleenex tissues. 

The Jacket,  is another one of the powerful serious stories, this is an emotional charged tale that mixes the themes of friendship, bullying and ultimate revenge into an engaging, and heart felt story, that even after a second reading still manges to deliver a great read.  

It’s a brave author who tries to create a story around Nazi’s and their Concentration Camps, many have tried and failed, with Dead Forest Air, Johnny has created a story that is powerful,  and shocking, but one that never crosses the line into schlocky exploitative fiction.  The way in which this story handles the subject matter is perhaps the best advert for the strength of Johnny’s writing. It shows an author who has the ability to put his heart and soul on the page. 

Those of you looking for a more light hearted tale, then don’t fear, there are plenty of wonderful examples of this in this collection.  

Mrs. Claus and The Immaculate Conception, is a brilliant tongue and cheek look at the real story behind Santa Clause.  In this shock expose, that reveals the real power behind the jolly bearded one, you will gasp at the ruthlessness of the real power, and shudder at some of the mistakes that were made in the past.  This is a brilliant story that will bring a huge smile to your face. 

The Were Dwarf , now most of you will be familiar with the werewolves, but hands up who has read a story about a vertically challenged werewolf?  Nope, no one, then this is a story that you really must read.  As barking mad as a shih tzu with rabies, this is probably my favourite story of the collection. 

FCAMSFNT, is an excellent anthology that will chill the reader the the core one minute , then have them laughing out loud the next.  A well written collection that shows just how talened a writer Johnny Mains is.  


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