Celebrating OCTOBER NIGHTS with author Kevin Lucia

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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.

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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

Review: Fantastic Tales of Terror: History’s Darkest Secrets edited by Eugene Johnson

Fantastic Tales of Terror: History’s Darkest Secrets edited by Eugene Johnson
Crystal Lake Publishing (October 2018)
570 pages; $18.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

Sometimes an anthology accomplishes what it sets out to do and nails the concept perfectly. That doesn’t happen often in the glut of tired, generic tomes with the same old names rehashing the same old tropes and writing. But, what if someone suggested using those tropes in an alternate history, utilizing some of the most famous names, monsters, and personalities in the genre and creating fantastic tales that run the gamut from fun and entertaining to chilling and all-out weird? Continue Reading

Review: Where Nightmares Come From: The Art of Storytelling in the Horror Genre edited by Joe Mynhardt & Eugene Johnson

Where Nightmares Come From: The Art of Storytelling in the Horror Genre by Joe Mynhardt & Eugene Johnson
Crystal Lake Publishing (November 2017)
368 pages; $16.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

Books on writing usually bring on the snoozes, even from the authors who read them. Of course, exceptions exist, like the one from the King guy and Morrell and Steve and Melanie Tem, but reading most of these kinds of books feels like dragging eyeballs across sandpaper.Continue Reading

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

The Ghost Club: Newly Found Tales of Victorian Terror by William Meikle
Crystal Lake Publishing (December 2017)
189 pages; $11.44 paperback, $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

I love everything about this wonderful collection from Willie Meikle. Take the concept of Willie’s Carnacki collections and replace the dinner guests with the literary greats of the Victorian era, each sharing a ghost story, and there you have the basic premise for this new work from William Meikle.Continue Reading

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