Title: Tales from the Lake Volume 1
Author: Tim Waggoner et. al.
Review: Tales from the lake is a compliation of water/lake themed stories, these vary in genre, although Crystal Lake Publishing is known for its horror novels and sotry compliations. I won’t normally read short stories like this as I find them to be flat and lifeless but these stories are considerably well fleshed out.
Lover, Come Back to Me by Tim Waggoner for example, we get some backstory as to why Alan has a fear of water, in particular drowning. In the story I like how omnious the fishs’ behaviour is and how it shows something in this peaceful even romantic situation is horribly wrong. I also like how the lake itself is personified as a woman madly in love with Alan, and how Alan despite his fear feels completely at home in the dark murky depths.
Don’t Look at Me by Elizabeth Massie is told from the prespective of a garden gnome which I found extremely interesting. The fact that human like imanimate objects can think is an extremely interesting swing and could easily make a great full length novel. The gnome is there to bring the little girl a distraction and some joy from her abusive mother. And the ending of this story is amazing but I’m not saying anything about it because it would give it away.
I liked the fact this collection deals with some darker topics, like murder, suicide (in a way), child abuse and canniblism just to name a few. Also in this anthology as well as being water themed a lot of the stories have a strong relaigious theme as well. The different writing style and voices are great because it never gets boring or stale there is always a new voice, opinion or point of view around the corner.
Devil Dolls by Blaze McRob is written more like a poem than a story complete with slightly rhyming sentences. The lyrical form and writing style make the experience even more creepy because of the rhyming and you can picture the vivid scene in your mind.
Dead Pull by Taylor Grant was a creepy story about what I would describe as a serial killer, not just of people but focuses his attention on animals especially fish. And it’s his desire for control over everything and everyone in his life, spark rebellion and ultimately leads to his own demise.
Alternative Muses by J. Daniel Stone is about a young damanged couple expecting a baby and how especially the mother who neither wants or loves the child deals with it. It is gory, dark and extremely erotic all at the same time. The ending of this story was freeing, saddening and the ultimate peak in complete abandoment, from life, pain and everything in between. I would love to see Daniel Stone write a novella or full length novel in this style as I would definitely read it.
The Reunion by Joan De La Haye reminds me quite a bit of The Shining but minus the madness and adding in a few murderous spirits. It creepy and omnious from the offset and I really wish it had been longer as it has massive potential as a novella or full-length novel.
Devil’s Night by Tim Curran is set after what assume to be the rapture with demons/devils roaming the Earth killing everything in their path. Our protagonists Mick and Bones were spared from the initial slaughter and trying to find a way to survive it. It is an extremely dark story with strong sexual and abusive undertones that cannot be ignored even though Hell is now on Earth.
The Fine Art of Wrecking By Jennifer Loring is about Jack and Christopher who deliberately cause ships to wrecks themselves in order to steal their cargo to survive but in doing so they have to kill the crew and it shows how all actions have an equal reaction.
Saint Patty’s Night at The Crown by Blaze McRob is a lot like the other story this author wrote in the anthology Devil Dolls where the story is told in a poetic form. This story is about a murderous Leprechaun who likes to murder everyone in a certain pub on St. Patricks Day. I loved this because its a holiday that is meant to be fun and joyful and instead is filled with death and fear although it only happens once a year.
O’Halloran’s by John Paul Allen is a strange story as it times skips it goes from the present to the future and back again all to allow one man time to reflect on his decision to makes his girlfriend have an aborotion. The story is all to make him think “do you really want to do this”? Which I thought was a really interesting concept as we all have moments in our lives when we think what would have been if I had this differently and this story brings it to life.
Las Maquinas by William Ritchey was a story I liked less because these kinds of short stories are meant to have immediate and maximum impact for the lack of words. This one I felt took too long on the set up and not enough time on the action. But the premise was good, although in my opinion this story would have been better as a longer short story (10-15 pages) than a page or two story.
Perrollo’s Ladder by John Palisano is a lot like one of the earlier stories with a strong religious theme I.e angels and demons. The story is told from duel perspectives; one of “demons” trapped on Earth, and slightly mad human intent on open Heaven’s doorway for the “demons” to enter. I like these perspectives as it allows to equally read and understand the two sides of the tale. I loved the characters especially those of the demons how they are describes, their resiliance and their singular desire to be accept.
Game On by Charles Day is more of a paranormal story around a ghost haunting a former friend who murdered him on a whim. And through a series of creepy and distirbing events, they eventually lead to his own demise.
The Lady of Lost Lake by Bev Vincent is exactly what the title suggests there is a lady living in the lake dragging unsuspecting men to their deaths. I can’t say much more than that as it gives away the entire story but this is one of my favourite stories in the whole anthology.
Junksick by G.N. Braun is a short story based around addiction and the lengths some addicts will go to for a single fix. I loved the writing style and the invetiable surrender to the high. I loved short stories and novella based around addiction especially when they don’t have a happy ending.
Witch-Compass by Graham Masterton was for the biggest disappointment in this anthology. I have read many other novels my Graham Masterton – the so called master of horror – and intensely disliked. I even wrote a review on Mirrors the last novel I read by the author and I barely finished it. The story itself is about a man using a witch compass to find the things he desires most even if it means taking them through violent and destestable means. And although I midly enjoyed the story I wouldn’t enjoy it if it was a novella or a full length story.
Overall my favourite stories in this anthology were: Devil Dolls, Alternative Muses and O’Halloran’s because they were all unique and exciting stories that I really wanted to continue on with and I loved their writing style, narrative voice and pace and all would make amazing novellas or novels.
This book was sent to me by Crystal Lake Press for review
Buy it here:
Kindle Edition: www.amazon.com
Also see: Mirror by Graham Masterton