Posts Tagged ‘Crystal Lake Publishing’

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.

Varying Distances by Darren Speegle

March 6, 2018 - 10:08 pm No Comments

Varying Distances by Darren Speegle
Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on 9th February 2018
203 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

This anthology consists of 12 short stories, each story takes you someplace different. Exploring the mind, individuals psyche, the good and the bad in people.
I did have a couple of favourites stories. Death Paper Burn: Wanting to return home, Wayne persuades his boyfriend to purchase the house which was owned by a gang that caused death and destruction to his family. From the start you get to know what the gang did to Wayne’s family. The story gets darker when drugs are involved and an old school friend turns up at the house.
Twinkle, Twinkle, Amsterdam: Gary Karic is touring Europe, now in Amsterdam, he is taking in the sights. Whilst reading this story, I kept wondering whether he was trying to escape and as the story continues you get to find out what sort of life he had lead. Whilst reading this story, I did feel sorry for Gary and when he hooked with Klara, and with the drug uses, I felt that he had realised who he was.
A Puddle in the Wildnerness: Blaine and Casey are on a canoeing trip when they capsized, what follows is a dramatic event. The family that “rescue” them reminded me of the family from Texas Chainsaw Massacre or the Hills have Eyes. With both Blaine and Casey having different versions of the accident, you are left to decide which is the true version. This was one story I did re-read as I could not decide who told the true story.
Each story is a quick read and if you have read other work by this author you know what to expect. For me I enjoyed the darker stories and I hope to read more of his darker work .

Beyond Night by Eric S Brown and Steven L Shrewsbury

February 4, 2018 - 10:31 pm No Comments

Beyond Night by Eric S Brown and Steven L Shrewsbury
Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on 26th January 2018
272 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

We all know that the Romans invaded Britain. Not without trying the Pictdom fight back. With Greyman and ancient magic, have the Romans got a chance.
With Armies of thousands, there were quite a few characters that had their story to tell. August in charge of a troop, a German born who had moved up the ranks of the Legion, Rufus, August’s slave who whilst admire August hated the situation. Porcius, a spartan that loved to fight, General Malitus, whilst he liked a good drink, he still knew how to wield a sword. Fighting against the Romans were Drust, an aging wizard that could control the Greyman and Gonar his apprentice, the Weaver another powerful wizard who resurrected Queen Tancorix back to help the Pict defeat the Romans.
Whilst I knew how violent the Romans were (yes, I did watch Gladiators), the way these authors told this story was dark and gruesome. The graphic vivid description of the battles will please any horror fan. I have not read any of these authors work before and I found that the story flowed seamlessly. The story was told from both perspectives, the Romans and the Picts and whilst I am British I did find a few of the Romans fascinating and one of my favourite characters was Porcius, a soldier who took no nonsence.
Looking at all the categories that this book falls into, I can honestly say it ticks all the boxes. Reading this has made me curious in reading more of the authors work. A gore filled read

The Ghost Club: Newly Found Tales of Victorian Terror by William Meikle

December 26, 2017 - 10:23 pm No Comments

The Ghost Club: Newly Found Tales of Victorian Terror by William Meikle
Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on 9th December 2017
189 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

If you were asked living or dead, which authors you would pick to have at a dinner party, I can guarantee at least one of the great Victorian writers would be on your list. Masters of storytelling, their written stories are still read today.
An old Victorian manuscript is found in a derelict building. Penned by Arthur Conan Doyle, it captures 14 stories regaled to him, Henry James and Bram Stoker when other authors are invited to dine with them.
Before I review this book, there is a disclaimer, I have not read some of these author’s original works. However, after I read this book, I did google these authors to see what works they wrote.
So, with all these stories, there is a lot of choice and for this review I will write about my favourites.
The Immortal Memory: Leo Tolstoy: When Empress Yekaterina Alexeyevna requested a Scottish poet, who could narrate Burn’s in Russian, Captain Marsh knew he had his work cut out. The story is very descriptive of living in Russia, and how certain people suffered to survive. A tragic ending which has an impact on others.
To the Manor Born: Margaret Oliphant: Young Agnus Leckie, was the new maid at the Manor. Trading jobs, she soon gets introduced to the lady of the house. Throughout this story you can feel the love that the master had for his family. A harrowing ghost story that is beautifully written and with a poetic ending.
The Angry Ghost: Oscar Wilde: Tom had always been told by his Aunt Agatha that there were no such things as ghost. Aunt Agatha was a bitter woman who always thought she was right and reminded me of Oscar Wilde’s character Lady Bracknell in the Importance of Being Ernest. This was a comical read with a fitting ending.
The Curious Affair on the Embankment: Arthur Conan Doyle: Inspector Lestrade has been brought into a case of a missing lady. The only stipulation from the powers at be, is that he cannot involve Sherlock Holmes. Lestrade is drawn into the paranormal and must keep his cool when evil prevails. When I have read Sherlock Holmes stories, I have always felt that Lestrade was a bit of an idiot, so this was a refreshing change. Lestrade was very methodical as if he used Holmes powers of deduction. A paranormal mystery which will keep you gripped.
If you have read Songs of the Dreaming Gods, you will find 3 further stories of interest. The High Bungalow: Rudyard Kipling, In the House of the Dead: Bram Stoker and The Scrimshaw Set: Henry James. All three have elements of this book in them and I enjoyed the merging of the author’s work.
The introduction to each story gives it a personal touch and sets the scene for what’s to come. This is book showcases the author’s talents of writing in numerous styles. A great read that spirits you away to Victorian times.