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:

Sign Up for E-News

North Plainfield/Green Brook/Watchung

Pitch Hit & Run Competition

April 20, 2017

Think you are FAST? How accurately can you THROW? Do you HIT home run bombs?

Green Brook Baseball is hosting a Pitch Hit & Run Competition on April 29th from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM at our GB Baseball fields for Boys & Girls born between July 18, 2002 and July 17th, 2010!

 

-Players in other Baseball Leagues ARE welcome to participate.

-You do NOT need to be a player in ...

Forgotten Soldiers: Why Congress Must Authorize an Emergency Expansion of the Afghan SIV Program

April 23, 2017

Congressional inaction to authorize visas for the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program has recently resulted in America breaking its promise of safety to thousands of Afghan interpreters and aides who risked their lives to assist US troops and diplomates. Such short-sighted policy undermines both our moral and national security imperatives.  It is morally reprehensible to abandon already ...

Local Students Honored with Annual Robeson Awards

April 17, 2017

 

Fifty-seven middle and high school students from Somerset and Hunterdon counties were honored for their achievements at the 27th Annual Paul Robeson Youth Achievement Awards Reception, held April 6 at Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) in Branchburg.

 

The evening featured a keynote address by Dr. Gloria Boseman, PhD, RN, who has been delivering healthcare services to ...

Obituaries

Joan Jaghab, 65, passed away on Thursday, April 13, 2017 at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital ...
Read more

Green Brook PBA to Hold 2017 Fishing Derby April 22

April 20, 2017

GREEN BROOK, NJ – The Green Brook Fishing Derby will return to the township on Saturday, April 22. Sponsored by Green Brook Local PBA 398, the free event will take place at the pond behind the Green Brook firehouse from 9 to 11 a.m. (rain or shine) and is open to anyone 14 years of age and younger.

For the derby, the pond will stocked with over 150 trout. Participants ...

5th Annual Autism Awareness Swim & Play Fundraiser At ESCNJ Aquatics & Fitness Center

April 23, 2017

The Educational Services Commission of  New Jersey (ESCNJ) Aquatics & Fitness Center’s annual fundraiser on behalf of  Autism New Jersey has led the way in raising funds the past two years,  and this year’s effort promises to be bigger and better than ever.

Held in conjunction with National Autism Awareness Month, the 5th Annual Autism Awareness Swim & Play ...

Pitch Hit & Run Competition

April 20, 2017

Think you are FAST? How accurately can you THROW? Do you HIT home run bombs?

Green Brook Baseball is hosting a Pitch Hit & Run Competition on April 29th from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM at our GB Baseball fields for Boys & Girls born between July 18, 2002 and July 17th, 2010!

 

-Players in other Baseball Leagues ARE welcome to participate.

-You do NOT need to be a player in ...

North Plainfield Middle School Students Earn Paul Robeson Youth Achievement Awards

April 21, 2017

NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The 27th Annual Paul Robeson Youth Achievement Awards Program was held at Raritan Valley Community College on April 4 and among this year’s recipients were North Plainfield Middle School students Ashley Dawsey and Ka’Chane Russell.

The program is named in honor of the late humanitarian and scholar. Each year the Paul Robeson Institute for Ethics, ...

Teacher Offers Students Real Life Connection between Math Skills and Careers

Students sometimes don’t always understand until much later why they need to learn math concepts in school.  Their realization may come when they actually need to use that math skill on the job.

One of North Plainfield’s own graduates and now a teacher is helping to make the math to career connection early on by bringing in professionals or local business owners to speak to ...

Upcoming Events

Mon, April 24, 6:00 PM

PeopleCare Center, Bridgewater

Literacy Volunteers Training

Education Giving Back

Carousel_image_4244135d9adae5526321_stem_day0417

Sat, April 29, 9:00 AM

Mother Seton High School, Clark

Free STEM Day at Mother Seton For Girls in 6th, ...

Carousel_image_f5de83e81ba65d901f01_ln16camden_ruday6143__1_

Sat, April 29, 10:00 AM

New Brunswick

Rutgers Day 2017 Coming Saturday, April 29

Carousel_image_70b26dfff28bfb6b8b09_rockin_for_autism_2017_logo

Sat, April 29, 12:00 PM

La Grande Park, Fanwood

Rockin’ For Autism Music Festival 

Mon, May 1, 6:00 PM

PeopleCare Center, Bridgewater

Literacy Volunteers Training

Education Giving Back

Carousel_image_c89d3971d6dff3a1469d_spring_2017_flea_market_flyer

Sat, May 6, 9:00 AM

American Legion Post 119, Dunellen

Spring Outdoor Market, Craft & Vendor Show

Sat, May 6, 9:00 AM

American Legion Post 119, Dunellen

SPRING OUTDOOR FLEA MARKET & CRAFT SHOW

Arts & Entertainment

Sat, May 6, 1:00 PM

North Plainfield Middle School, North Plainfield

Jr. FIRST LEGO League Expo (all ages)

Other

Mon, May 8, 9:00 AM

American Legion Post 119, Dunellen

SPRING OUTDOOR FLEA MARKET & CRAFT SHOW

Arts & Entertainment

Mon, May 8, 6:00 PM

PeopleCare Center, Bridgewater

Literacy Volunteers Training

Education Giving Back

Mrs. Sherlock Holmes by Brad Ricca

Mrs. Sherlock Holmes by Brad Ricca (St. Martin's Press, 2016)

At the turn of the 20th century, the thrilling, fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes, penned by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, had captured the imaginations of both British and American readers. In those days, when sleuthing as a career was a relatively new venture, the idea of a woman detective was preposterous.

Grace Humiston, who ...

Whitehouse Wind Symphony Performs Free Concert in Somerville

April 23, 2017

SOMERVILLE, NJ - The Whitehouse Wind Symphony, under the direction of Branchburg resident James P. Sheeley, Jr., will perform a free springtime concert on Sunday, April 30th at 3 p.m. at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 158 W. High St.

The concert, entitled “Dancing on Air”, will include many exciting selections based on different forms of dance, such as “Suite of Old ...

Police Identify Homicide Victim in Monday's Incident on Washington Valley Road as Defendant's Mother

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The homicide victim in Monday's stabbing in a home on Washington Valley Road in Martinsville has been identified as Helen Litwornia, according to Somerset County Prosecutor Michael Robertson.

Robertson said the 61-year-old victim was the mother of defendant Michael Litwornia.

According to Robertson, an autopsy was performed by the New Jersey Northern Regional ...

NJ State Bicycle Championships Event Returns to Plainfield

April 23, 2017

PLAINFIELD, NJ - The New Jersey State Bicycle Championships will return to Plainfield's Queen City for a second year, with races on Sunday, May 7th that leave from City Hall.

All levels can participate, from professional cyclists to amateur riders.  A public safety challenge will include Plainfield police, firemen and other public safety officials, and juniors and kids will be able to ...

Mother Seton High School Sponsors Carnival for the Cure

CLARK, NJ – Mother Seton High School recently hosted a “Carnival for the Cure” to support the school’s Relay for Life team.  The team, named “Setters for Survival,” and the student council welcomed over 90 students and guests to a night of sports, games of chance, dance and fun.

Among the activities were classes in Zumba, yoga and tap dancing. Getting ...