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

Quiet Places: A Novella of Cosmic Folk Horror by Jasper Bark
Crystal Lake Publishing (September 2017)
123 pages; $12.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Chad Lutzke

Quiet Places opens with a prologue presenting mysterious goings-on in the small village of Dunballan. Right away we’re given a potentially exciting premise as a lone woman aids local residents in their vegetative states, picking random citizens to assist while they stand slack jawed and wide eyed, empty bellies and soiled clothes.Continue Reading

Review: ‘Behold! Oddities, Curiosities, and Undefinable Wonders’ edited by Doug Murano

Behold! Oddities, Curiosities, and Undefinable Wonders edited by Doug Murano
Crystal Lake Publishing (July 2017)
280 pages; $16.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Chad Lutzke

This is Crystal Lake Publishing’s second anthology with Doug Murano acting as editor—the first being Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories. It’s also their second anthology that brought in some very big names, which no doubt aided in healthy sales, securing a nice spot at the top of Amazon’s anthology charts. The ironic thing is, those big names (Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, and Ramsey Campbell) brought the weakest stories to an otherwise very solid collection. Continue Reading

Review: ‘Whispered Echoes’ by Paul F. Olson

Whispered Echoes by Paul F. Olson
Crystal Lake Publishing (June 21, 2017)
275 pages; $14.99 paperback; $0.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

Admittedly, I have heard of Paul F. Olson, but up until now, I can’t say I’ve read any of his work. I can happily say I’ve now corrected that omission. Whispered Echoes is a wonderful collection of old and new.Continue Reading

Review: ‘Embers: A Collection of Dark Fiction’ by Kenneth W. Cain

Embers: A Collection of Dark Fiction edited by Kenneth W. Cain
Crystal Lake Publishing (March 2017)
217 pages; $13.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

Embers: A Collection of Dark Fiction features twenty-five stories. In any collection of this size, there are bound to be some hits and some misses along the way. Fortunately, there are more of the former, leading me to suggest this work be added to your personal TBR list.Continue Reading

Review: ‘Where the Dead Go to Die’ by Aaron Dries and Mark Allan Gunnells

wherethedeadgoWhere the Dead Go to Die by Aaron Dries and Mark Allan Gunnells
Crystal Lake Publishing (November 2016)
197 pages; $14.99 paperback; $4.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

Been a while since I’ve read a great opening line, but this one drew me right in: The dead roam those halls.

Emily Samuels is starting new job and the protesters are out in force, complete with signs reading, “LIFE IS 4 THE LIVING”,“BRING OUT UR DED”,  “NO TOLERRENCE FOR BONE EATERS”, “LET’S FINISH THE JOB”.Continue Reading

Review: ‘Wind Chill’ by Patrick Rutigliano

Wind Chill CoverWind Chill  by Patrick Rutigliano
Crystal Lake Publishing (January 2016)
206 pages; $5.42 paperback; $1.99 e-book
Reviewed by John Brhel

Bundle up and find a warm hiding spot before you crack open Patrick Rutigliano’s latest, Wind Chill. In terms of both atmosphere and sheer scares, this novella from Crystal Lake Publishing delivers chills of Arctic-level proportions. Rutigliano has penned an ice-cold monster story that explores family dynamics, in this case that of a mentally damaged father and his confused and bitter daughter.Continue Reading

Review: ‘Where You Live’ by Gary McMahon

whereyouliveWhere You Live by Gary McMahon
Crystal Lake Publishing (November 2013)
266 pages, $12.99 paperback; $2.99 e-book
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Where You Live is a varied collection of short stories by Gary McMahon. McMahon is an award winning author of both novels and short stories, and this collection gathers some of his best together. The bulk of this collection was originally published as a limited edition book from Gray Friar Press titled It Knows Where You Live, but the current collection expands that previous collection with newer stories and makes it available to a wider reading public. Overall, Where You Live is a really satisfying collection of horror pieces.Continue Reading

Review: 'Tales from the Lake Vol. 2' edited by Emma Audsley, R.J. Cavender and Joe Mynhardt

taleslake2Tales from the Lake Vol. 2 edited by Emma Audsley, R.J. Cavender and Joe Mynhardt
Crystal Lake Publishing (March 2016)
382 pages; $16.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by John Brhel

For many, a trip to the lake means relaxation, fresh air, the splendor of nature, barbecues, fishing with grandpa—a break from the worries and stress of everyday life. Tales from The Lake Vol. 2 offers no such escape or reverie. This anthology of dark fiction from Crystal Lake Publishing plumbs the depths, sure—those of human despair, debauchery and dread. Like a trip to the lake, however, this collection is fun, in its own twisted way.

Coming two years after the publication of Tales from The Lake Vol. 1, volume two in what Crystal Lake has said will be an annual anthology offers over a dozen tales, each exploring a different idea: infidelity, revenge, suicide, paranoia, mass violence, *cough* evil dolls.Continue Reading

Review: 'Stuck on You and Other Prime Cuts' by Jasper Bark

stuckonyouStuck on You and Other Prime Cuts by Jasper Bark
Crystal Lake Publishing (September 2014)
274 pages; $12.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Brian Moser

Stuck On You and Other Prime Cuts is a series of short stories which range from the gut-wrenchingly grotesque to the more unsettling horror that keeps the reader guessing the whole way through.Continue Reading

Review: 'Eidolon Avenue: The First Feast' by Jonathan Winn

eidolonEidolon Avenue: The First Feast by Jonathan Winn
Crystal Lake Publishing (January 2016)
212 pages; $12.99 paperback/$3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

2016 is only a few weeks old and already it’s showing signs of being a banner year for horror.

Whether you’re snowbound or it’s too cold to venture outside or you’re just looking for a great read, Eidolon Avenue: The First Feast will keep you warm and entertained for hours.

From the description of the book on the publisher’s website:

One building. Five floors. Five doors per floor. Twenty-five nightmares feeding the hunger lurking between the bricks and waiting beneath the boards. 

If that’s not enough to drag you kicking and screaming through the front door, let me introduce you to the tenants on the first floor.Continue Reading

Review: 'Flowers In a Dumpster' by Mark Allan Gunnells

FlowersFlowers In a Dumpster by Mark Allan Gunnells
Crystal Lake Publications (November 2015)
314 pages; $13.99 paperback/$3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

I’ve found myself reading more and more anthologies and collections these days. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy story-telling in the long form, but there’s something about anthologies that allow you to get to know a lot of new authors quickly, and then there are the collections for a single author which permit a more in-depth look into what makes a particular author tick.

Prior to reading Flowers In a Dumpster, I had not read anything by Mark Allan Gunnells. Now that I’ve gotten to know his work, I’m pretty sure I’ll be returning for more.Continue Reading

Review: 'Lost in the Dark: A Collection of Short Stories' by Joe Mynhardt

LostDarkLost In the Dark: A Collection of Short Stories by Joe Mynhardt
Crystal Lake Publishing (2012)
200 pages; $6.99 paperback/$0.99 ebook
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

Joe Mynhardt is a South African writer of horror with more than 50 published short stories to his credit. He is also the owner and operator of Crystal Lake Publishing, publishers of horror and dark fantasy.

Lost In the Dark: A Collection of Short Stories contains a dozen examples of Joe’s writing covering a wide variety of horror tropes.Continue Reading