North American Lake Monsters: Stories - Nathan Ballingrud

This short story collection is very good so far. Even when there is a weak story it all seems to fit in with the other ones well. It's kind of like a really great album. There are those songs that you listen to over and over again, and then there is the filler. This short story collection seems to have a little bit of that filler but it works because it almost feels like it was meant to be there. 


I'll rate the stories I've read so far.


You Go Where It Takes You: an awesome little story about a single mother who gets a terrifying second chance at life. An amazing story with an ending that left me shocked and overwhelmed. 5 Stars


Wild Acre: a story about a man coming to terms with his life in the aftermath of a werewolf attack. An awesome story that really isn't about the monster, but is more about the victim. 4.5 Stars


S.S.: a story about a young Neo-Nazi living in New Orleans caring for his wheelchair bound mother. The only story so far I really didn't like. 2 Stars


The Crevasse: a antarctic horror story about a group of men on an expedition who are brought face to face with an otherworldly horror in a crevasse in an ice shelf. A very enjoyable story in the tradition of stories like At The Mountains Of Madness or Who Goes There?, but it doesn't bring anything new to the plate and it doesn't really have enough going on. I enjoyed it though. 4 Stars


The Monsters Of Heaven: a story about a man and wife going through problems after the abduction of their little boy. There is more to this story than just that, but I'm not going to say how because it may lose some effect if I did. One of the best stories I've ever read and I'm extremely happy it won the Shirley Jackson Award. It deserved it. 5 Stars and best story in the collection so far.


edit: Sunbleached: a story about a boy who makes a terrible deal with the vampire living in the crawlspace under his porch. A good story, maybe the the least literary of the bunch but still good. I'm going to be stupid and give this 3.75 Stars. It wasn't love but I didn't hate it, I'd just seen this before. 


North American Lake Monsters: a man is released after being in the slammer for six years and goes to a lakeside cabin with his wife and daughter. They find something has washed up on the shore (a lake monster duh). I really liked this story at the beginning but then started to not like it towards the end. The protagonist was despicable too. 3.5 Stars



Great short story collection thus far. I'm currently in the middle of the eighth story, The Way Station, and I like it so far, even though it's very strange. I'll probably put up a full review of this book tomorrow, so far it gets either 4 or 4.5 Stars. A great collection for fans of thought provoking literary horror. If you do decide to read this collection, beware. Every story will pull on your heartstrings, whether it be because a child was left behind or killed, or because a dog gets its throat slit. 


Here be monsters!