Saturday, 31 May 2014

Tales from the Lake vol.1 - antholgy edited by Joe Mynhardt

Lover, Come Back to Me by Tim Waggoner: Alan is not enjoying his day out on the lake with his wife, but then being stuck in a canoe on the lake you nearly drowned in as a child would probably not make me have a fun day out either.
TW does well to convey the fear and physical terror of drowning. However, this is a horror story and something else is going on.
A strange and well written love/monster story with a fantastic ending.  

Don‟t Look at Me by Elizabeth Massie: Things that are created in the shape of humans or near-humans have minds and we can think. Ohmyfreakinggosh!!
When Pointy is rescued by poor Connie he does some rescuing of his right back. I really loved this little story, it had horror, humour, heartbreak and was based on that underlying fear I have of dolls! MY favourite.

Dead Pull by Taylor Grant:  Brennan works the pet store and inflicts pain and suffering – that was the end of my reading, originally!  I was then contacted by the author who suggest I carry on as there was NO torture and he was right, only cleverly done "implied" torture, so I guess the writing was impressive. A nasty little tale but I thoroughly enjoyed the ending. Thank you TG for convincing me to carry on!

Alternative Muses by J. Daniel Stone: an unrelenting style of writing that left me needing to take a walk around the block to clear my head.
The subject chosen did not help, self-torture and suspension all wrapped up with a pregnancy.
There were some really corny lines in this too which was ridiculous considering the shock horror topic.
I found it an odd addition to this anthology. Shock horror for the sake of it is really not my thing, but if you like gross out you will love this story.

The Reunion by Joan De La Haye : poor Frank gets a ghostly visit my his Grandfather and some of his friends at his new hotel.
It’s not a happy family reunion though. A very short tale of ….. well I’m not sure really but it was an easy read which held me engrossed to the final chop.

Devil‟s Night by Tim Curran: Hell has opened up and Mick and Bones are trying to survive. They start to sacrifice people to the Fire Eater but its slowly unravelling them in different ways.
TC does a brilliant job in explaining the horror of consumption by the Fire Eater and also the emotional trauma these two are experiencing.  A great story with a fitting ending.

The Fine Art of Wrecking by Jenn Loring: not sure about this one, calling the sea a living entity in Her own right with capitalising everything got on my nerves after a bit.
Felt a long winded way to get to the finale and then stop.

O‟Halloran‟s by John Paul Allen: Tom just wants a drink to sort his mind out but he seems trapped in a time warped hell. He and Helen had their lives mapped out and a baby now was not part of it, given time to reflect will he change his mind?
Fast paced and whilst gross, confusing and a little morally off compass this was a good story.

Las Maquinas by William Ritchey: the time line was a little out on this story and it had a very preaching religious tone to it at the begining, it also had some laughable B-movie style lines but I don’t think it was supposed to be funny.
All these comments are a shame really as the basic storyline and characters were good.

Perrollo‟s Ladder by John Palisano: I wanted more about the first paragraph!
This was a fantastic story until it just stopped….. was this part of a story? Or just intentionally left on a cliff hanger?

Game On by Charles Day: could be a good story – I don’t know stopped about the frogs and firecrackers. 

Lady of Lost Lake by Bev Vincent: four guys go on a weekend camping break by the lake. Essentially a lady in the lake story with real no essence but strangely I was riveted to this story and its telling.

Junksick by G.N. Braun: odd little things were off in this story such as sweat that drips from your temples yet pools in your armpits – strange anatomy!
A great story though with some fabulous descriptions. I thought the ending was a real kicker and really enjoyed that no hint was given.

Witch-Compass by Graham Masterton: Paul leaves Africa with a Witch-Compass but little else. As his life turns to dust around him the Witch-Compass points to what he could have if he wanted too, but can he make the right choices?
Well written with some really uncomfortable scenes I was engrossed until the end. Not sure how I wanted it to end but this choice was a good one.

Saint Patty's Night at The Crown & Devil Dolls –a poems by Blaze McRob:  cute, snarky and spooky, if you like poems, I’m not to keen but these are short enough to enjoy without getting bored, plus they were entertaining, it’s just not a medium I enjoy for horror.

As always I like the little author bios’ at the end – I personally would prefer them pre or post each story. It would have also been helpful if they had been in the order of the stories written.

I will be careful about reading anymore from this grouping. I don’t want an un-themed anthologies anymore, I need to be able to screen what I read  so I can limit my exposure to animal torture as it was severally exceeded. I don’t have many strong beliefs, in fact this is probably the only thing I feel strongly about – zero tolerance on animal torture.