Posts Tagged ‘Crystal Lake Publishing’

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.

Tales from the Lake Vol4: The Horror Anthology

October 30, 2017 - 11:22 pm No Comments

Tales from the Lake Vol4: The Horror Anthology
Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on 27th October 2017
266 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies


If you want something to read this Halloween, then you can’t go wrong with this anthology. 24 tales of horror, suspense and mystery that will feed your addiction of horror.
With so many stories to choose from, I found it hard to choose my favourites, but I will give it a go.
When the Dead Come Home by Jennifer Loring: Trevor and Kate needed a fresh start after losing their child. Whilst Trevor was trying to move on, Kate was suffering with severe depression. As the story progressed you could feel Kate’s guilt getting worse, and she felt that the whole world was against her. This was a harrowing story about grief and was written with so much compassion, even after I finished the story, it was still thinking about it.
Whenever You Exhale, I Inhale by Max Booth III: Tom and Michael were young lovers, it did not bother anyone except Michael’s dad, a bully when he had a drink. This story is about the fatal night that Michael’s grandma died. This story had me gripped from the start, Michael’s dad was dying to fight someone, and you knew something bad was going to happen. It was magical read and was beautifully written.
Grave Secrets by JG Faherty: Eric was chasing ghosts, 25 years ago his brother Wade went missing in Rocky Point. Now Eric and his son Arthur were going back there to find out what happened. This was full of mystery and suspense as whilst you knew something had happened to Wade. Following Eric’s footsteps, you find out what happened to Wade.
End of the Hall by Hunter Liguire: Davey was being visited by a lady in red, but her visits helped tell a story. I loved this traditional ghost story, Davey was a lovely boy, who became the hero.
The Story of Jessie and Me by Timothy Johnson: A post-apocalyptic story of a young lad and his friend Jessie. What I am still amazed at, was how much went into this short story. The story spanned over years and told of their survival against the military, dangerous men and nature. Action packed from the start.
Dust Devils by Mark Cassell: When a driving instructor went to pick up his last leaner, he did not expect to get involved in a mystical monster attack. Having read other work by this author I was not disappointed with the story. An ancient monster, a deranged man and bloody death scenes, all things that I love in a story.
With every anthology that I read from Crystal Lake, I still find more new authors to read. This is a must read for horror fans. Another great publication and looking forward to the book 5.

Quiet Places: A Novella of Cosmic Folk Horror by Jasper Bark

September 29, 2017 - 4:41 pm No Comments

Quiet Places: A Novella of Cosmic Folk Horror by Jasper Bark
Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on 29th September 2017
123 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies


We first come across Sally caring for the folk of Dunballan, who are in a comatosed state. Following the past events, you get to find out what happened in the little town. David is the last of the McCavendish line, suffers from an ancient curse. Stalked by a beast and suffering dark depressive incidents. With only a creepy voice in the hedgerow to help Sally, can she break the curse and get her David back.
Whilst Sally is researching the beast, you get to learn more about David’s heritage and the aftermath of his ancestor’s dabbling with ancient folklore. Told through Matthew’s journals, the scenes with Matthew meeting had a mystical feel to it and you have a sense that something will go wrong.
Usually when I read any of Jasper Bark’s books, I am reading it with a grimace on my face, but this book was so different. This played more with my mind. The repetitive voice sounded sinister and for me Hettie was more horrific than the beast as it certainly knew how to play Sally. Whilst reading the scenes in the forest I had goosebumps and you could sense that it was leading up to a final showdown. The suspense carried throughout the story, but even I could not predict the outcome. You could feel the desperation in Sally and the need to help David and his dark moods.
I read a shortened version in the Green and Pleasant land anthology, and this new revised version had more depth. It felt more intense and as it is a novella a quick read. Another great story from Jasper Bark