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

Countdown to 'Beauty and the Beast' at Watchung Hills Regional HS

March 28, 2017

WARREN, NJ - Tickets are on sale now for “Beauty and the Beast,” this year’s Spring Musical at Watchung Hills Regional High School (WHRHS). 

The show will be presented at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 30, Friday, March 31, and Saturday, April 1, and at 2 p.m., April 1, in the WHRHS Performing Arts Center (PAC), on Stirling Road. A special opportunity for breakfast with Belle ...

Why All Parents Should Consider Refusing the PARCC—2017 Edition

March 19, 2017

Hi. My name is Jen Grana – I live in Sparta township and have 3 boys – 2 of which are in the public education system now – a middle schooler, a Kindergartner and a sweet oblivious 2 year old who will be there before I know it I am sure. We spend a lot of time talking about and thinking about public education in our house because we will be knee-deep in it for the next 20 years ...

Obituaries

Stephanie Markowitz – Tocci, 51, passed away on Friday, March 3, 2017 at home. Born in New ...
Read more

Green Brook PBA to Hold 2017 Fishing Derby April 22

March 28, 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 ...

Easterseals New Jersey Rolls out the Red Carpet at MetLife Stadium for Eighth Annual ‘Walk With Me’ Fundraiser

March 29, 2017

East Brunswick, N.J. – March 20, 2017 – All the glam and allure of Hollywood’s most iconic celebrations come to the Garden State on April 8, as Easterseals New Jersey hosts their eighth annual ‘Walk With Me’ and 5K run fundraiser. This year’s “Be A Superstar” theme appropriately emanates from the Super Bowl-hosting turf of MetLife Stadium, in East ...

Countdown to 'Beauty and the Beast' at Watchung Hills Regional HS

March 28, 2017

WARREN, NJ - Tickets are on sale now for “Beauty and the Beast,” this year’s Spring Musical at Watchung Hills Regional High School (WHRHS). 

The show will be presented at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 30, Friday, March 31, and Saturday, April 1, and at 2 p.m., April 1, in the WHRHS Performing Arts Center (PAC), on Stirling Road. A special opportunity for breakfast with Belle ...

"Beauty and the Beast" Opens in Warren, Video Trailers by 'The Beast" Sam Sinnot

March 29, 2017

WARREN, NJ - “Beauty and the Beast,” this year’s Spring Musical at Watchung Hills Regional High School (WHRHS) opens Thursday, March 30.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLIgT3Dznws&sns=em

The show will be presented at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 30, Friday, March 31, and Saturday, April 1, and at 2 p.m., April 1, in the WHRHS Performing Arts Center (PAC), on Stirling Road.

North Plainfield Middle School to Host ‘Live Museum and Curriculum Fair’ on March 21

NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ –North Plainfield Middle School (NPMS) will host its second annual ‘Live Museum and Curriculum Fair’ on Tuesday, March 21. This event is a collective initiative among, staff, students, and members of the community highlighting the varied forms of instruction and assessments that are part of the middle school culture. Last year, the North ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, April 5, 7:00 PM

SCLSNJ's Bound Brook Memorial Library branch, Bound Brook

Importance Of Saving For The Future For Small ...

Business & Finance

Carousel_image_70a59c0d7252acb4e74c_north_plainfield_citizens

Thu, April 6, 7:00 PM

North Plainfield

North Plainfield Citizens for Community Rights ...

Fri, April 7, 10:30 AM

SCLSNJ’s Bound Brook Memorial Library branch, Bound Brook

Spring Into Meditation

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_ece3b5130e6292ebb030_9a6eca9295fe72cab675_celebrating_20_years-graphic

Fri, April 7, 7:00 PM

Westmount Country Club, Woodland Park

Susan G. Komen North Jersey to Mark its 20th ...

Giving Back

Carousel_image_d5c219873155827b9be0_blood_drive

Sat, April 8, 9:00 AM

South Plainfield

UNICO's Annual Blood Drive

Carousel_image_e4e5cd31fcd0b96ca4f8_coin_club

Sun, April 9, 10:00 AM

Bridgewater

35th Annual Watchung Hills Coin Club Show and Sale

Sat, April 15, 2:00 PM

SCLSNJ's Bridgewater Library branch, Bridgewater

Walt Whitman: "The Good Grey Poet" (adults)

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_70b26dfff28bfb6b8b09_rockin_for_autism_2017_logo

Sat, April 29, 12:00 PM

La Grande Park, Fanwood

Rockin’ For Autism Music Festival 

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

Without Mercy by Jefferson Bass

Without Mercy: A Body Farm Novel by Jefferson Bass (Harper Collins, 2016)

In James Patterson's Master Class, an online course which I recommend highly to aspiring authors, Patterson talks about the validity of writing with a partner. Patterson notes several well respected creative teams like Lennon and McCartney, Simon and Garfunkle, and explains that combining the creative juices of two ...

Investigation into Warren Krauszers Armed Robbery Continues, Police Seek Public's Help Identifying Suspect

March 28, 2017

WARREN, NJ - Detectives have released still images obtained from surveillance camera footage from the armed robbery at Krauszers on Sunday night and are asking for the public’s help in identifying the suspect.  

Detectives urge the public not to approach the suspect as he may be armed with a firearm.

Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson, ...

Armed Robbery at Warren's Krauszers, Police Seek Suspect

 

WARREN, NJ - Police are looking for a burglary suspect after an armed burglary at Krauszers on Stirling Road on Sunday night, according to the Breaking News Network (BNN), which monitors emergency radio activity.

The incident took place around 9 p.m., according to BNN. The service said the suspect fled on foot and police are searching for a white male,  50-60 years old ...

Plainfield YMCA Summer Camp Helps Youth Experience Their Best Summers Ever

March 29, 2017

Programming keeps kids moving, exploring and learning

PLAINFIELD, NJ - Do you remember your best summer ever? Did you stay all day with your friends at the local pool? Did you head to the local park and play basketball? Or was your best summer the summer you discovered your favorite literary heroes and followed their adventures from the comfort of your own backyard? For most, your best summer ...

“Futból de Sala” and Condors of Plainfield at YWCA (VIDEO)

PLAINFIELD, NJ - On March 11, Organización Cultural Comunitaria, or Cultural Community Organization, hosted an indoor soccer tournament (termed “futból de sala” in Spanish) at the Young Women’s Christian Association of Plainfield and North Plainfield on East Front Street.

The Organización Cultural Comunitaria was created by local resident Oscar Arboleda ...