Posts Tagged ‘Crystal Lake Publishing’

Beatrice Beecham’s Ship of Shadows: A Supernatural Adventure/Mystery Novel by Dave Jeffery

November 16, 2018 - 7:07 pm No Comments

Beatrice Beecham’s Ship of Shadows: A Supernatural Adventure/Mystery Novel by Dave Jeffery
Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on 16th November 2018
307 pages

Beatrice and the rest of the Newshound had survived the Cryptic Crypt and now the darkening heart was lying dormant in Dorsal Finn. But like all evil entities, it won’t rest forever. Now on their school holidays, they are enjoying their freedom and looking forward to a celebrity party on The Spirit of the Ocean. But what they don’t plan for is revenge from a 16th-century witch.
Beatrice and her friends are a lot closer and you can tell that the prophecy of the Darkening heart is playing on their minds. Whilst Beatrice is still the star of the show, the story’s plot gave the opportunity for other characters to show what they are made of. One such character was Emily, being profoundly deaf did not stop her doing anything that she wanted, and when their lives were in danger she knew exactly what to do. She was confident and strong-minded, my only dislike was the football team that she supported, but I can forgive her for that. The other character that had matured was Thomas, Beatrice’s little brother, whilst he still annoyed her with his fixations you could see how much he cared for her and when they were separated, he put his fear aside to get involved in the fight.
From page 1 you are drawn into an action-packed adventure and with the magical element enables the author to introduce some very strange creatures. The story was a quick read as there was always something going on. The descriptive scenes enable your imagination going into overdrive. Scattered throughout are funny one-liners, usually down to Edna, Dorothy, Maud and Agnes, 4 old dears that like to put the world to rights and you will find yourself having a little giggle at their expense.
Whilst it is the 2nd in the series it can be read as a standalone as anything important is explained in detail. This is the perfect book for a youngster who wants a scary bedtime story or to encourage an older child to pick up a read. However, as an adult, I loved it as it reminded me of books like the Famous five or a Nancy Drew book. Another great addition to the Beatrice Beecham series.

Dead Reckoning and other stories by Dino Parenti

October 17, 2018 - 7:41 pm No Comments

Dead Reckoning and other stories by Dino Parenti
Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on 5th October 2018
226 pages

Regardless of whether I recognise the author, I always purchase any book published by Crystal Lake Publishing. Dead Reckonings and other stories featuring 16 short stories that some could be in the news today.
Like all anthologies there were some stories that stood out for me. From the seventies Two Boys in a Diner- Vic and his younger brother Jimmy are in a diner reminiscing about family, death and old times. As there is only 2 characters, you really get to know them and whilst brothers and brought up together, they are like chalk and cheese. It is not till the end that the true reason of their visit to the diner is revealed.
From the eighties Dead Reckoning- The story opens with a policeman being dragged by a priest on a horse. The story swaps between past and present with ease and as you read this story you find out exactly what the policeman had done to deserve this treatment and why the priest felt the need to dish out the punishment. This story does make you think, was either in the wrong, was their actions justified.
From the nineties Savior- Following a vet disfigured from war, trying to make a living and his fascination with a performer from the visiting fair. There was a feel of sorrow to this story. The main character was hidden away due to his serious injuries. When he performed with his disguise it reminded me of the elephant man and the prejudice that people had for him. Did he do the right thing, I am still undecided.
Jumping to the post-apocalyptic story On the Fickle Nature of Germination. A discovery of 2 ancient bodies trapped between the ice and the outbreak of a devastating flu. Is there a link. This story was one that could be more fact than fiction, as remains get excavated what diseases could be unearthed. This was a quick pace story just like the outbreak.
There was the odd story that I could not get in to, but this did not stop me liking the book. A nice touch was that some of the stories had a low-key link, either by an odd line or action which if like me you read the whole book from cover to cover you will spot straight away.
These stories had a mixture of genres, that would please the readers of dark fiction. Whilst I was writing this review I was checking on amazon to see his other published work and I am surprised that this was his first.

The Mourner’s Cradle by Tommy B Smith

September 14, 2018 - 8:21 pm No Comments

The Mourner’s Cradle by Tommy B Smith
Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on 14th September 2018
140 pages

When Damon, Anne Sharpe’s husband suddenly passed away, all she wanted to do was to prove his name. Ridiculed in his academic field, Damon was trying to prove that the Mourner’s cradle, an old burial ground was real, and he thought he found it. Traveling to Peru, she not only has to battle the cold but other’s out for the research.
Whilst she did not know exactly what Damon was trying to do, her determination and sheer stubbornness, helped her through this trying time. Going with her was Ruben, a work colleague and friend of Damon. Whilst he did not believe the myth about the Mourners Cradle, he felt that it was his duty to protect her.
As you are reading this story you are following Anne on a perilous journey. Her grief is raw and shows the dedication that Anne had for her husband. Whilst this is not horror it the scary monster sense, it shows the true horror of human nature and there are some heart stopping moments. Especially on the mountain. Once I started this story I could not stop as I wanted to see if Anne survived. The intensity continued to the end of the story and when I finished I felt mentally drained and felt that I had took the journey with Anne.
This was the first story that I had read by this author and will look out for others.

The Outsiders by Stephen Bacon, James Everington. Gary Fry, VH Leslie and Rosanne Rabinowitz

September 4, 2018 - 9:15 pm No Comments

The Outsiders by Stephen Bacon, James Everington. Gary Fry, VH Leslie and Rosanne Rabinowitz
Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on 4th May 2015
226 pages

For about a year I have read every new anthology Crystal Lake has published, however, having not read any of the early publications, I thought I would rectify this by reading The Outsiders. 5 authors writing about The Priory, a secluded estate set in the UK and home to a Lovecraftian cult and run by Charles Erich.

Opening with an introduction from Kevin Lucia, which sets the scene and gets you in the mood to sit and enjoy these 5 stories.

The Subprime by Gary Fry: Finance is a cut throat industry, but Lee at the age of 19 was doing well except for one thing he had a conscious. Mr Philips, his boss hopes to persuade him not to leave by inviting him to a dinner party at his home in the Priory. This is our first meeting with the folk at the Priory and whilst the author at the start made them seem pretty normal as the story continued you could sense they were itching for a kill.

Impossible Colours by James Everington: Michala Bruce is a community officer patrolling Exham and takes an interest in the Priory after Marty Young kills himself. The story describes the effects of the cult, strange flashing colours and the residents being more in a trance. Telling part of the story through Marty’s journal enabled the reader to see both sides of the story and you are left wandering what happened to Michala.

Stolen from the Sea by Stephen Bacon: Ryan was the salesman for the Priory, getting donations for the cause and persuading to join them. A chance meeting with Natalie starts out as friendship, but when Ryan’s son tragically dies their friendship turns into so much more. Written with sensitivity this story looks at grief and religion and regardless of the religion, people will question their faith at times of sorrow.

Precious Things by VH Leslie: Petra and Bernard both retired, moved into the Priory. Married for a long time Petra was used to Bernard’s eccentricity and his love of rocks kept him busy for ages. But when he started locking himself in his study for a long period of time and having secret meetings with Charles Erich, she became worried. This story built up to a dramatic ending and showcased the power of love that Petra had for her husband

Meat, Motion and Light by Rosanne Rabinowitz: Claudia was away at University when her mom asked her to return to the Priory. Reluctant to give up her freedom, she went home to find out what was going on. Following Claudia’s story, you get an understanding that her childhood was not fun. More was written about the creature and the effects it had on the residents. With references to characters and incidents from the previous stories this was the perfect story to finish this anthology.

This was a quick read and whilst it is horror, it wasn’t usually from the creature that lived under the grounds. These stories showed the good and bad of human nature and the effects of the cult on everyone who encountered them. A good read which enabled me to get my fix of short stories

Welcome to the Show: 17 Horror Stories – One Legendary Venue

August 4, 2018 - 7:29 pm No Comments

Welcome to the Show: 17 Horror Stories – One Legendary Venue by Brian Keene, John Skipp, Mary SanGiovanni, Robert Ford, Max Booth III, Glenn Rolfe, Matt Hayward, Bryan Smith, Matt Serafini, Kelli Owen, Jonathan Janz, Patrick Lacey, Adam Cesare, Alan M Clark, Somer Canon, Rachel Autumn Deering and Jeff Strand.
Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on 3rd August 2018
220 pages

Based in San Francisco, The Shantyman had been around for years, so long that its history was oozing out of the walls. Now the doors of the club have been opened, come in, sit down and Welcome to the Show.
For this review I am going to choose some of my favourites.
Night and Day and in Between by Jonathan Janz: The year is 1926, Raft a PI has been hired to find Clara. His leads take him to The Shantyman, where a singer matching Clara’s description is performing. The early scenes in the club, were just how I imagine a speakeasy. The sultry blonde, singing seductively accompanied by a piano. What starts out as a simple missing person case soon takes a turn to the dark side when Clara’s secret is revealed.
Pilgrimage by Bryan Smith: Jason, George and Karla were sightseeing, stopping outside the Shantyman to learn its history, they decide to get off the bus and get a feel of the place. What they don’t factor in is the odd, stoned passenger that joins them. Things get stranger when the drug they take, takes them to different times. The story continues around Jason and his time in the club. What wasn’t expected was him running into 2 infamous people from history.
Master of Beyond by Glenn Rolfe: Sean now the owner of the club decides with his staff to play with a Ouija board. Jillian the manager wants no part of it and leaves, but the following day not only has she got to deal with a big concert but also what was called. All I will say is that there is a reason why I will not play with Ouija boards and this story enforces this.
Open Mic Night by Kelli Owen: We have all heard of the 27 club, Hendrix, Joplin, Morrison to name a few. This story is how the famous became members of it and Harry is the one man who can stop it, but he needs the help of Gwen who works the bar on open mic. I enjoy the speculation of the 27 club and this story puts a different spin on it.
Just to be Seen by Somer Canon: The story of a fan and her infatuation with the singer Will Fontaine. This story could be real live account as there are some fans that have such a stalker obsession it could result in death.
I have been spoilt by Crystal Lake Publishing, the anthologies published have all had some great stories and this book is no different. Welcome to the Show has 17 stories, each with a different insight of what goes on behind The Shantyman’s four walls