Book Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 / 5 stars)
Jessica has settled down into a life in Apple Grove with her “hunky” husband, Beau, and son, Oliver. But Apple Grove haunts her nightmares, after years of repressing memories and a drinking habit. Little did she expect that one day, a train crash would bring her nightmares to life. Suddenly, a faceless man is haunting the street, a student at her school commits murder, and nightmares come out of the shadows. Can she escape Apple Grove with her family before it’s too late? Or is this nightmare her new life?
In a story reminiscent of any traditional horror film, venture into Jessica’s nightmares. The narrative is fast paced, but descriptive enough to pull you into the horrors overtaking Apple Grove. Each page turns with momentum, heart-wrenching fear, that speaks volumes about Karmellah Howlett’s ability as a horror writer.
This story is not for the feint of heart thought. There are many dark aspects throughout the narrative, reflecting on abusive pasts and fears, that may not be for everyone. Like any horror story, it is not just about fictional demons, but those that have followed us as well.
One thing I must complement Howlett on is her ability to write the story as if it is a nightmare. The way the scenes switch, the way the characters move, I felt like I was a sleep, trying to navigate the confusion of my subconscious. I kept hoping that Jesscia would wake up by the end, choking down the tears over her losses, and begging with her that a happily ever after exists.
Perhaps it does, but with such a cliffhanger ending, it might not exist quite yet!
While I had a few small hang ups, most of them had to do with personal preference: I would have liked a chance to breathe a bit longer, to really understand the source of the nightmares, and to understand the roots of Jessica’s emotions. This is more of a personal taste than anything though, and I think if you love fast paced novels…then this will definitely be for you!
So if you’re looking for something to haunt your nightmares and keep you up at night, then I definitely recommend you check out Nightmare Train. I’m definitely adding Karmellah Howlett’s other books to my collection soon!
What’s it about?
Jessica had escaped Apple Grove once, but fate – in the form of the hunky jock from her high school years – had brought her back. Now settled back into her childhood hometown, Jessica has learned to find comfort, if not happiness, in her daily life. She has a lot to be thankful for; Beau (her prince charming who she never quite feels like she deserves), their rambunctious son, Oliver; and her continued sobriety. Some days Jessica’s life feels like a dream. It isn’t until a fateful train crash on the outskirts of town that she realizes her dream may actually be a nightmare come to life.
Gabriel didn’t want much. He enjoyed his job at the garage, and the little apartment he shared with his cat. Fast girls and fast food were all the comfort he needed, never having fit in with the popular crowd. Then a train crashed, and somehow Gabriel found himself relying on a strange woman he met in the street for his survival.
The wreckage seems to have toppled the picturesque image of Apple Grove, unleashing terror and destruction in its wake. Giant spiders and zombies are the least of their worries as Jessica reunites with a supernatural entity from her past, who’s appearance unleashes a flood of memories long forgotten.
Can Jessica save them from the terrors of their dreams?
Can Jessica escape Apple Grove one last time?
**Deals with mature themes, consider this your trigger warning**