Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Tales From the Lake, Vol. 1 edited by Joe Mynhardt

(eBook; 2014: horror anthology)

Overall review:

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.

Standout stories:

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.

1 comment:

Crystal Lake said...

Thanks for reviewing.

Glad you enjoyed it.


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