Posts Tagged ‘Crystal Lake Publishing’

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

Lost Highways: Dark Fictions from the Road

July 21, 2018 - 4:55 pm No Comments

Lost Highways: Dark Fictions from the Road
Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on 20th July 2018

Following on from Gutted, C.H.U.D. Lives and other anthologies from Crystal Lake comes Lost Highways. A bumper collection of 26 short stories with one thing in common the open road.
With so many stories I was spoilt for choice, but some of my favourites were:
Not From Detroit by Joe R Lansdale: An elderly couple are very much in love. This is a beautifully written story and so heart-warming. This story that love will conquer all even in the face of death.
Jim’s Meats by Kelli Owen: A couple are on a road trip and are running out of petrol, but pulling over at a petrol station, just made it dangerous. This story built the tension up to the final chase. This is a story I would love to be a full novel. Whilst a lot is unknown about the Jim’s meat and the residents of the town, your imagination can join the dots.
Your Pound of Flesh by Nick Kolakowski: Hitchhikers are a regular feature in road trip stories but this story had a twist when Jill Cafferty stopped to pick up a young girl in distress. This story takes you on the hunt for a serial killer. Incorporated in this story was the difficult topic of domestic violence which was handled with sensitivity. The author takes you on an emotional journey which near the end will have you picking up speed to find out what happens. The twist to the story was a surprise and the ending made the story whole.
Having read the majority of Crystal Lakes anthologies, I knew that I need to add to my collection when this was released. Whilst I recognised quite a few of the authors, there were still authors I had not read and I admire the dedication that the publisher puts into finding the various authors to keep anthology fresh. As usual the art work on the cover and in the book was exquisite. Each story was unique and with various length will keep you captivated throughout your read and possible you may not want to read this if you are planning your own road trip. Although it may be a good survival guide.

C.H.U.D. Lives!: A Tribute Anthology

May 2, 2018 - 8:02 pm No Comments

C.H.U.D. LIVES!: A Tribute Anthology by Jonathan Maberry,‎ Tim Waggoner,‎ Michael H. Hanson ,‎ JG Faherty,‎ Mort Castle,‎ Eugene Johnson, Nick Cato,‎ David Robbins,‎ Martin Powell ,‎ Mitchell Greg ,‎ Eric S. Brown,‎ David Drake ,‎ Robert E. Waters,‎ Ryan C. Thomas,‎ Christopher Fulbright,‎ Angeline Hawkes,‎ Ben Fisher, Jason White, David Bernstein,‎ Chad Lutzke,‎ Philip C. Perron, and Ross Baxter.
Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on 27th April 2018
396 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

I must be one of the only people that had not watched C.H.U.D, so why did I buy this book. Having purchased the majority of Crystal Lakes Anthologies, I knew that I would be in for a good read.
So for people who are thinking what is C.H.U.D well it was a horror film released in 1984. C.H.U.D stands for or Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers, so you can imagine what sort of creatures they are. This anthology opens with an interview with the late Andrew Bonime, producer of the film and finishes with another interview with Parnell Hall, the screenplay writer. Sandwiched between are 19 short stories, each with a different tale to tell of the creatures that walk beneath the ground.
So as a newbie to C.H.U.D I loved each story as it was introduction to this cult film and as I am typing this review I am watching the film. Some of the authors use scenes from the film to tell their story. The Dog Walker by Robert E Waters, The Way to a Man’s Heart by Tim Waggoner to name a few. Whilst others put their C.H.U.D imagination to tell a new tale. That’s Entertainment by Mort Castle made me laugh as I could imagine some entrepreneur profiting on people’s terror to make a theme park and Date Night by Dave Robbins have you wandering what sort of teacher Angela Swinton was.
Every story had me wanting more and I devoured the book as the CHUD devoured a human. Each story had different levels of gore, which will keep all horror fans happy, and like all horror films not everyone survives. Whether you know C.H.U.D or not this is yet another great anthology to read.