Tuesday, June 03, 2014
Tales From the Lake, Vol. 1 edited by Joe Mynhardt
(eBook; 2014: horror anthology)
Good, Old School horror anthology that will appeal to those who especially enjoyed Eighties-era chills and thrills. Out of the sixteen stories, there were only two that I didn't like (due to personal preferences), but that's to be expected in any fiction collection with this many works.
Worth owning, this.
1.) "Don't Look at Me" - Elizabeth Massie: A living, shoplifted garden gnome (Pointy) helps a young girl (Connie) deal with her mentally abusive mother. The ending isn't surprising, but the story is fun, with an especially effective end-line.
2.) "Dead Pull" - Taylor Grant: Good, interesting morality tale about a cruel pet store employee (Brennan) whose control over his work environment and his animal charges is broken by the arrival of an animal-friendly new employee (Billy Mackey). This story has the feel of Stephen King's "Graveyard Shift,"* structurally and tone-wise, so fans of King's may especially appreciate this work.
[*Published in King's 1978 story anthology Night Shift]
3.) "The Reunion" - Joan De La Hayes: During a fierce storm, the owner of a failing bed-&-breakfast inn (Frank) gets two sets of guests: a drunk, horny newlyweds, and four weapon-bearing, bloodthirsty men who have a troubling - and seemingly deadly - history with the inn.
This is an excellent, memorable story until the ending, which feels truncated and jarring, as if the author had a great set-up, but lacked a finish (albeit one that is logical in regards to its characters) that matched the seamless flow of what preceded it. Despite this let-down of an ending, it's still a worthwhile tale.
4.) "Devil's Night" - Tim Curran: Intriguing story about two prison-sprung cons trying to survive a fiery, demonic apocalypse. Curran keeps his horror cinematic, his themes and characters' histories tightly interwoven with the action and the pace gripping.
5.) "The Fine Art of Wrecking" - Jennifer Loring: Two oceanside human scavengers (Jack and Christopher) murder and steal to stay alive, aware that retribution is almost a certainty. Especially well-written, not too long, not too short.
6.) "Saint Paddy's Night at The Crown" - Blaze Rob: Fun, limerick-style verses about Irish blood, killing, sex and drinking.
7.) "The Lady of Lost Lake" - Bev Vincent: Fun story about a relaxing lakeside weekend gone supernaturally awry. There's little in this work that you haven't read before, but it's entertaining anyway.
8.) "Junksick" - G.N. Braun: A junkie scumbag details his habit even as his world begins to change. Love the end-line in this one.
9.) "Witch-Compass" - Graham Masterton: Interesting morality story about a desperate and financially bankrupt businessman who tries to get back his lost wealth. Especially good finish to this one, as well.