What Screams May Come: Cruising the HUNTED HIGHWAYS

banner What Screams May Come by Rick Hipson

Hunted Highways (Dark Tide Book 12) by Carver Pike, Lucas Mangum, and Rowland Bercy
Crustal Lake Publishing (January 26th, 2024)

The Synopsis: 

cover of Hunted Highways“B.I.R.D.S.” by Rowland Bercy Jr.: In “B.I.R.D.S.,” a 2023 reimagining of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic, a group of friends embarks on a cross-country trip, unwittingly stirring a vengeful avian onslaught. Raquel, Robert, Karen, and David face chaos and carnage, learning that appearances deceive and the price of their actions can be deadly. This bone-chilling tale weaves a narrative of suspense and consequence in a world where birds are not what they seem.

“Dracula and the Devil Walk Into a Bar” by Lucas Mangum: After a team of hunters raid their fortress, Dracula and Lucifer hit the road in search of a new place to call home. They stop at a roadside bar in an unincorporated locale to meet with a vampire named Mina. All three creatures of the night have the potential for violence. And none of them can resist the call of bloodshed. The people in this wood-paneled, neon-lit establishment are about to meet Hell itself.

“Road Wrath” by Carver Pike: For Melanie and her friends, this fun-filled trip to tour their favorite college campus is about to take a violent and macabre turn. If only they’d kept driving, if only they’d stayed far away from that rest stop, if only they’d been more polite when they encountered the creepy old couple. Now, it’s too late for apologies. Road Wrath is coming.  Continue Reading

Review: Never Wake edited by Kenneth W. Cain and Tim Meyer

cover of Never WakeNever Wake edited by Kenneth W. Cain and Tim Meyer
Crystal Lake Publishing (September 2023)
314 pages; $16.99 paperback; $5.99 e-book
Reviewed by R.B. Payne

All the stories in this anthology are let-me-horrify-you good. Some are visceral, some are psychological, some are spiritual, and some are simply LET ME GIVE YOU A TOUR OF MY NIGHTMARE.

I enjoyed every single story in the anthology, which is rare for a tome of this size. Kenneth W. Cain and Tim Meyer are to be complimented for curating a thematic set of stories that can universally throw fear of sleep into every reader. Continue Reading

Review: The Dead Shall Rise by Jay Wilburn, Armand Rosamilia and Erin Louis

cover of The Dead Shall RiseThe Dead Shall Rise by Jay Wilburn, Armand Rosamilia and Erin Louis
Crystal Lake Publishing (August 25, 2023)
202 pages; $4.99 e-book
Reviewed by Henry Allison

Zombie fiction is just like its namesake — it never really dies. Just when you think you’ve seen the last zombie story or movie, when you think the trope isn’t popular anymore, it shambles back to life, ready for another go around. The zombies are shambling in Crystal Lake’s latest Dark Tide collection, and it’s definitely one you’re going to want to check out.Continue Reading

Review: Sifting the Ashes by Michael Bailey and Marge Simon

cover of Sifting the AshesSifting the Ashes by Michael Bailey and Marge Simon
Crystal Lake Publishing (April 2022)
222 pages; $15.99 paperback; $4.99 e-book
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Michael Bailey is a freelance writer, editor and book designer, and the recipient of over two dozen literary accolades, such as the Bram Stoker Award and Benjamin Franklin Award. Composite novels include Palindrome Hannah, Phoenix Rose, and Psychotropic Dragon, and he has published two short story and poetry collections, Scales and Petals, and Inkblots and Blood Spots, as well as a children’s book, Enso.

Marge Simon lives in Ocala, FL, City of Trees with her husband, poet/writer Bruce Boston and the ghosts of two cats. She edits a column for the HWA Newsletter, “Blood & Spades: Poets of the Dark Side.” A multiple Bram Stoker award winner, Marge is the second woman to be acknowledged by the SF &F Poetry Association with a Grand Master Award. She received the HWA Lifetime Achievement award in 2021.

Their recent post-apocalyptic horror prose and poetry collection is Sifting the Ashes.Continue Reading

Review: The Boy with the Spider Face by AJ Franks

cover of The Boy with the Spider Face by AJ FranksThe Boy with the Spider Face by AJ Franks
Crystal Lake Publishing (November 26, 2021)
126 pages; TBA paperback; TBA e-book
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann

In this young adult, coming-of-age horror novella, AJ Franks imagines what life would look like for a teenage boy with an actual spider-face. The story unfolds rather quickly with the protagonist, Jeff Pritchet, struggling to lead a normal life but realizing that nothing will be easy for a boy with his unique condition. At school, Jeff befriends “the new kid” which introduces a combination of subtle queer themes and very heavy-handed racism.Continue Reading

Celebrating OCTOBER NIGHTS with author Kevin Lucia

October Nights banner

This October, Kevin Lucia fulfills a dream with the release of a new collection of Halloween-themed short stories, October Nights. Crystal Lake Publishing will be releasing the collection on October 22, so this seemed like the perfect time to ask the author a few questions about his work, and to pick his brain about his — and our — favorite holiday, Halloween.

Continue Reading

Review: Of Men and Monsters by Tom Deady

cover of Of Men and Monsters by Tom DeadyOf Men and Monsters by Tom Deady
Crystal Lake Publishing (May 28th, 2021)
120 pages; $10.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann

Of Men and Monsters is the perfect summer read. It’s short, accessible, and capitalizes on all that wonderful coming-of-age nostalgia so many of us love and crave.Continue Reading

Review: The Wind in My Heart by Douglas Wynne

cover of The Wind in My Heart by Douglas WynneThe Wind in My Heart by Douglas Wynne
Crystal Lake Publishing (January 2021)
362 pages; $8.75 paperback; e-book $3.99
Reviewed by Janelle Janson

Douglas Wynne’s The Wind in My Heart has a fun premise and is a quick read! This story kept me engaged with its touch of mystery and quirky characters.

Miles Landry is the private detective at Insight Detective Agency. Known around the local bar scene as “Dirty Laundry,” he tends to handle extramarital affairs. Immediately after a scorned woman shows up at his office to teach him a lesson, he receives a call for an unusual job. A Buddhist monk named Jigme Rinpoche wants to hire him to find a former student’s reincarnated soul. A series of murders against gang members have popped up in Chinatown, and he believes this former student is responsible. Even though Landry thinks this monk is wasting his time, he’s curious nonetheless and heads to the temple for the meeting.Continue Reading

Review: Eight Cylinders by Jason Parent

cover of Eight Cylinders by Jason ParentEight Cylinders by Jason Parent
Crystal Lake Publishing (November 2020)
124 pages; $10.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann

Fast cars are not my thing. That whole Fast and Furious movie franchise? Nope. Never saw those. The cover of this book with that muscle car tearing through a desert landscape and the title Eight Cylinders doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest. What does appeal to me is this slim (just over one hundred pages) novella is written by Jason Parent and published by Crystal Lake Publishing. I’m a big fan of both. Crystal Lake consistently publishes quality horror and Parent has a unique storytelling style that I enjoy. Last year, I celebrated his short story, “Russian Dollhouse” from the Midnight in the Graveyard anthology.Continue Reading

Review: Doll Crimes by Karen Runge

Doll Crimes by Karen Runge
Crystal Lake Publishing (November 2019)
222 pages; $11.66 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

We could be looking at the next Jack Ketchum here. Actually, Karen Runge is quite her own identity, her own voice that simply delves into the deep, dark places which Ketchum mined so well. Doll Crimes is a novel that will likely disturb while it also examines the human soul, the good, the bad, and the downright evil in a manner that digs so deep, readers will have a tough time forgetting the characters long after the final page is turned.Continue Reading

Review: Every Foul Spirit by William Gorman

Every Foul Spirit by William Gorman
Crystal Lake Publishing (October 2019)
112 pages; $9.99 paperback; $2.99 e-book
Reviewed by R.B. Payne

In horror fiction, there are often remote towns and villages such as Oxrun Station (Charles L. Grant), Cedar Hill (Gary Braunbeck) and even Ulthar (H. P. Lovecraft). In these wicked places on the backroads of fear, dark forces gather and do evil upon the innocent and not-so-innocent. These are off-the-main highway places where malignant entities rise and make a bloody and horrifying mess by ravaging pets, murdering children, compromising priests and virgins, befouling police officers, and corrupting any responsible adult who doesn’t have the sense to get the hell out of town when the first flesh-stripped beheaded corpse appears. Continue Reading

Review: Hollow Heart by Ben Eads

Hollow Heart by Ben Eads
Crystal Lake Publishing (November 2019)
156 pages; $11.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by R.B. Payne

If you like your horror fast and furious and your gameplay unrelenting, then Hollow Heart by Ben Eads will suit your fancy. In this telling of the birthing of a cosmic horror, the subtext is minimal, the text is visceral, and the hypertext feels like a drug rush when everything simultaneously makes sense and no sense at all.Continue Reading

Review: The Pale White by Chad Lutzke

Cover of The Pale White by Chad LutzkeThe Pale White by Chad Lutzke
Crystal Lake Publishing (September 2019)

118 pages; $10.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann

On matters of horror fiction and what should or should not be defined as such, nobody gets the last word. For some people, a horror story is only as good as its ability to scare. For me, the horror genre is a spectrum, and feeling scared falls somewhere on that emotional spectrum along with a host of other feelings. Judging a book based on its ability to belong in a genre, employing the sole criteria of fear, is too subjective and limiting in my opinion.Continue Reading

Review: The Place of Broken Things by Linda D. Addison and Alessandro Manzetti

The Place of Broken Things by Linda D. Addison and Alessandro Manzetti
Crystal Lake Publishing (July 2019)
88 pages; $11.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

Let’s face it: No matter how little we may want to admit it, we’re all at least a bit broken. Something, somewhere in each of us shattered at some time or another. We’ve all felt displaced, alone, in the face of the feeling. The Place of Broken Things is centered around looking at those broken places both within us and without and about placing them in the world.Continue Reading

Review: It’s Alive: Bringing Your Nightmares to Life edited by Joe Mynhardt and Eugene Johnson

It’s Alive: Bringing Your Nightmares to Life edited by Eugene Johnson
Crystal Lake Publishing (December 14, 2018)
280 pages; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

There are books on writing that inspire, ones that feed the muse, ones that teach, but rarely has there been one that encompasses all three aspects that result in a must-read, must-have companion for the writer’s lair. Continue Reading