Real Monsters

North American Lake Monsters: Stories - Nathan Ballingrud

This short story collection is absolutely wonderful. Even stories I didn't necessarily like as much as other ones still stood out as good short stories. Here is a story by story review.

 

You Go Where It Takes You: A story about a young single mother who has a terrifying chance at a new life. Some readers reading this with me in the Literary Horror group didn't really like this story. I loved it, mostly because of it's extremely upsetting ending. 5 Stars

 

Wild Acre: A story about a man coming to terms with life in the aftermath of a werewolf attack. When I first read this story I gave it 4.5 stars, but I've came to appreciate it more. 5 Stars

 

S.S.: A story about a young wannabe Neo-Nazi living in New Orleans, caring for his invalid mother and trying to find his own personal identity. I actually borderline hated this story when I first read it and gave it 2 stars. I have upped my rating to four because in a way I sympathize with the main character and his mother. 4 Stars

 

The Crevasse: A story about a group of men on an antarctic expedition who stumble onto an otherworldly horror in a crevasse in an ice shelf. I liked this story when I first read it and I still think it is okay, it just really brings nothing "new to the plate" as Randolph Carter put it. I did like how we never actually see the horror in the crevasse, it really plays on your imagination. 3.75 Stars

 

The Monsters of Heaven: A very strange story about a couple having marital problems in the wake of their child's abduction. Mysterious alien-like entities are being found all over the country at the same time; the media refers to them as angels. This story was supremely strange and depressing and weird. It literally encompasses all emotions. I can't believe I enjoyed it as much as I did. It does have an alien with an erection you know? Best story in the collection and 5 Stars.

 

Sunbleached: A story about a boy who makes a terrible bargain with the vampire living in the crawlspace under his front porch. I liked this story but loved the ending. I'm upping my rating from 3.75 to 4 Stars.

 

North American Lake Monsters: A story about a man who goes to a lakeside cabin with his wife and daughter, after getting out of prison. They find a dead lake monster on the beach. The more I think about this story the less point I see in it. 3 Stars

 

The Way Station: A story about a homeless man being haunted by a city after hurricane Katrina. This story was just okay. I loved it at first and then grew to hate it, like many other stories in this collection. 2.5 Stars

 

The Good Husband: A story about a man who doesn't save his wife after she commits suicide. He feels guilty, but doesn't call the police. The next morning her body comes back to "life". I really love this story and think it was big metaphor for depression. 5 Stars

 

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This was a wonderful short story collection for fans of literary horror. I actually didn't even find half the stories in here to be horror. None of them actually scared me, but I still enjoyed them. 4.5 Stars for this whole collection. I'll surely be reading more of Ballingrud's work.

 

Thanks Charlene for sending this to me. :D