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

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