Arts & Entertainment

Crestwood Lake by Mark R. Vogel

Crestwood Lake by Mark R. Vogel (Create Space Independent Publishing Platform, 2015)

It's that time of year when the sun sets early and the rustle of autumn leaves scattering across sidewalks in the dusk makes us hurry to get inside our cozy homes. The goblins of our imaginations lurk among the jack o' lantern lit darkness. This is the time of year when readers, who love the masters of horror going back to Edgar Alan Poe, seek authors to titillate that aspect of ourselves that loves to be scared witless. If this description of autumnal literature appeals to your ghoulish side, take a look at Crestwood Lake penned by local author Mark A. Vogel.

The town of Crestwood Lake, located in Northern Vermont, is known to have been the site of eerie events and mysterious and often bloody deaths since its establishment in 1713 by a group of Puritans who have fled the infamous Salem to create their own haven . . . for evil intent.

Sign Up for E-News

The main character, Captain Butch Morgan, Chief of Police, and recent widower, is faced with solving a number of grisly murders that are escalating in number and gore. His investigation into the crimes lead him to the door of the prissy wine shop that has just opened in town, replacing the down home liquor store that had served the town for a long time. We learn that the previous proprietor, Ron Millhouse, had met an untimely end, with his body having been found severed on a railroad track, leaving the town forced to contend with a store that doesn't carry beer or vodka.

The owner of the new wine shop, filled ceiling to floor with expensive wines from all over the world, “stood over six feet. He looked older, maybe about seventy, but didn't seem or act the slightest bit infirm. Rather, he exuded an aura of formidability. His hair was white and flawlessly combed back. His clean-shaven face was somewhat chiseled with a strong jaw line. His eyes were imposingly dark brown, so near black that each iris and pupil practically merged into one large orb. They were fathomless and seemed to pierce whatever they peered at.” (p. 39) Austere in a black, three piece suit, with a white shirt and blood red tie, it would be hard not to picture Vincent Price cast in the role of Luther Van Haden, who will become a nemesis for Morgan to engage with in an epic battle between good and evil.

Morgan has fallen in love with a local waitress, Vicki Larson, but is taking his time in declaring his feelings for her, being respectful of her own traumatic past. However, when Morgan begins to realize the depths of evil that he must take on to save his town before everyone is doomed, he is forced to put Vicki, as well as others close to him, at incredible risk.

Vogel takes a favorite theme of horror writers (I reference Stephen King and Dean Koontz here), the “bad place.” This is one of my personal favorites in the creation of horror writing because it is so universal. All of us can think of a place we deemed as a “bad place,” from childhood into adult hood. Did you like going into the basement of your house when you were a kid? I didn't. Does the Timberline Lodge ring a bell (The Shining), or perhaps the memory of the peeling house on a hill owned by the Bates family of motel fame? “The bad place” is where really bad, inexplicable stuff happens to people. Crestwood Lake fits neatly into the framework of a “bad place” novel, and Vogel is careful to furnish his readers with the history that made the land evil.

One of the other tricks of the horror trade is to make the reader react viscerally to what he sees, smells, touches, and tastes. Vogel really works the sensory details, particularly early in the novel. Vogel introduces us to a variety of hapless victims, who tell their vignettes in the first person narrative; that is until something, let us say unusual, happens to them. In the case of the first narrator, a Mr. Burke, who has purchased an old house from Gil Pearson, Burke cannot get a noisome smell out of his house no matter what he tries.

The first time that Burke notices the smell, he is cooking a beef stew “when I caught a whiff of something fetid.” (p. 5) A week later, while reading a book Burke tells us, “that same odor that fouled my stew, the smell of decomposition . . . the smell of death,” (p. 6) has returned. From then on, the odor pervades every room of the house, and nothing Burke does masks that smell. Burke is just one of many characters who face the challenges of living a town that is harrowingly haunted.

 

Crestwood Lake is a solid first novel, with the promise of more to come. If you are looking for a novel to get into the Halloween season, Crestwood Lake may be the ticket.

Beth Moroney, former English teacher and administrator in the Edison Public School District, specialized in teaching Creative Writing and Journalism. Recently Moroney published Significant Anniversaries of Holocaust/Genocide Education and Human/Civil Rights, available through the New Jersey Commission on the Holocaust. A passionate reader, Moroney is known for recommending literature to students, teachers, parents, and the general public for over forty years. Moroney can be contacted at trackdak19@hotmail.com.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Like

Sign Up for E-News

North Plainfield/Green Brook/Watchung

TAPinto Travels Weekend Event Suggestions

July 21, 2017

With very little rain in the forecast, Northern New Jersey’s weather will be perfect for the many outdoor events taking place this weekend. All of the events featured this week are family friendly with low to no cost admission prices.

Food Truck Festival at the Hermitage

If you have yet to visit Bergen County’s famed Gothic revival museum, you must make it a point to tour the ...

Ship Bottom Concert at Boat Ramp Featuring "Not Fade Away"

STAFFORD, NJ – Listed below is a list of entertainment for this Thursday, July 20.   Ship Bottom has a Bayside Concert at the boat dock at 7 p.m. featuring “Not Fade Away” a tribute to Buddy Holly. 

Buckalews, Centre Street and Long Beach Blvd, Beach Haven

Earl Sutton, 6 p.m.

Daddy O Brant Beach

Ryan Zimmerman

Daymark, 404 ...

TAPinto Travels Suggestions for Weekend Fun includes Festival of Nature in Warren

July is one of the hottest months of the year in New Jersey and the festival scene is scorching as well. Most townships hold their community fairs throughout the summer months to draw the most crowds. Go early and stay late at any of these fun-filled events this coming weekend.

Festival of Nature

On July 15th, visit the Wagner Farm Arboretum in Warren to celebrate local wildlife.

Thousands Expected to Dig In for Belmar’s Annual Sandcastle Contest on July 12

BELMAR, NJ — With shovels, buckets and other assorted “tools” in hand, thousands of participants are expected for Belmar’s 31st Annual Sandcastle Contest on Wednesday, July 12.

Contestants and spectators alike will converge on the 18th Avenue beach for the free competition, which starts at 8 a.m. with judging beginning at noon. Award-winning designs will be selected ...

Found in Warren: Do You Know This Dog?

July 10, 2017

WARREN, NJ - Do you know this dog? The un-neutered male dog was found on Mount Bethel Road with no identification on Monday. 

Contact Warren Police at 908-753-1000 to claim him or with any information.

Do you have a marketing plan? Let's Create One

July 17, 2017

In this weekly series, we will walk through the process of how to fit TAPinto into your marketing plan. 

Not only are we the premiere marketing platform for many businesses, we also are the source of getting the message out to our community for municipalities, organizations, schools and teams. We also are the source for promoting community ...

Thanking Those Who Served

July 19, 2017

To the editor:

Many Americans have made great sacrifices in the cause of freedom.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of America’s entry into World War I. In July of 1944, American troops were battling through Normandy; 75 years ago, the battle for the island of Saipan in the Pacific was won; a dozen years ago, the battle of Fallujah raged in Iraq. The courage and bravery of our ...

Obituaries

John Robert Drake, 78, of South Plainfield, passed away peacefully on April 22, 2017 at ...
Read more

Ice Cream and Bingo

July 21, 2017

INDEPENDENT LIVING OPEN HOUSE

SATURDAY, JULY 22ND 1-3PM

RSVP 

274 KING GEORGE ROAD | WARREN, NJ 07059 | 908-903-0911 CHELSEASENIORLIVING.COM 

Upcoming Events

Sun, July 23, 11:00 AM

Dunellen Senior Center , Dunellen

Sweeney Todd | Theater Bus Trip to SOPAC

Arts & Entertainment

Fri, August 18, 9:30 AM

Good Grief, Morristown

Good Grief Volunteer Facilitator Training

Giving Back Other

Sat, August 19, 9:30 AM

Good Grief, Morristown

Good Grief Volunteer Facilitator Training

Giving Back Other

Sun, August 20, 9:30 AM

Good Grief, Morristown

Good Grief Volunteer Facilitator Training

Giving Back Other

Mon, August 21, 9:30 AM

Good Grief, Morristown

Good Grief Volunteer Facilitator Training

Giving Back Other

Tue, August 22, 9:30 AM

Good Grief, Morristown

Good Grief Volunteer Facilitator Training

Giving Back Other

Power Outage Darkens Warren in Heat Wave

July 20, 2017

WARREN, NJ - JCP&L is investigating the cause of a widespread power outage in the center of Warren on Wednesday afternoon. Crews are on site and anticipate restoration by 7 p.m.

 

All of the Kings strip is without power including Starbucks.

 

According to the JCP&L website, power is estimated to be restored some time this evening.

 

To report outages ...

Summer Concert Series Continues, Hundreds Turn Out for Country Act, Rock and Roll Legend

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Somerset County Park Commission Summer Concert Series is continuing with a number of different acts performing for crowds of hundreds at Duke Island Park, in Bridgewater.

The series began with Radio Nashville July 9, performing top country hits from singers like Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift and more.

On July 16, the series welcomed Darlene Love, who was ...