Arts & Entertainment

Crestwood Lake by Mark R. Vogel

8ad9737f8448c2067d7f_Crestwood_Lake.jpg
8ad9737f8448c2067d7f_Crestwood_Lake.jpg

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 Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

South Plainfield

Obituaries

Chief Michael J. Cleary, Sr. 66, of South Plainfield, died suddenly on July 14, 2018. Born and ...
Read more

Letters to the Editor

Carly Kensey Graduates from ECU

July 13, 2018

GREENVILLE, NC -- Carly Kensey of South Plainfield graduated with a BA-Psychology from East Carolina University during spring commencement exercises May 4 in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

The fireworks capped off a new format for ECU's 109th spring commencement ceremony, which was held in the evening for the first time.

The keynote speaker for commencement was Linda McMahon, administrator of ...

Community Happenings

Adult “crafternoon” at the South Plainfield Public Library

July 15, 2018

Crafting isn't just for kids anymore!  Come to the South Plainfield Library on Saturday July 28 at 2pm for a fun filled “crafternon” for adults with crafter Patricia Dahl.  Crafters will be decorating a wine bottle. We will supply all the materials, just come and enjoy! If you have a glue gun at home, if you could bring it to the craft program.  Registration is ...

Frist Baptist Church of South Plainfield to Host Annual Vacation Bible School

July 17, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - First Baptist Church of South Plainfield will be holding their annual Vacation Bible School program the week of August 6-10 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. This free VBS program is open to children entering Kindergarten through entering 6th grade. Children will participate in this exciting experience learning how God is faithful and keeps His promises through Bible stories, songs, ...

South Plainfield Police Hiring Per-Diem Dispatchers

The South Plainfield Police Department is accepting applications for Per-Diem Police Dispatcher.  The following are the minimum requirements for applicants:

Must be at least 18 years of age
Must have a High School diploma or GED
Must be certified in 9-1-1, EMD and CPR
Must pass a background check and a computerized Dispatch test
Must be able to multi-task while using Police, ...

Columns

Diegnan Bill to Establish Asset Forfeiture Reporting and Transparency Requirements Passes Senate

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD) – Legislation sponsored by Senator Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr. that establishes asset forfeiture reporting and transparency requirements passed the full Senate today.

“Across New Jersey, law enforcement can confiscate cash, cars and other property from people, often without ever charging them with a crime,” said Senator Diegnan (D-Middlesex) “While ...

People I've Known and Been: Little by Little by Rich Little

People I've Known and Been: Little by Little by Rich Little (Dog Ear Publishing, 2015)

 

Rich Little is a national treasure; a living encyclopedia of movie stars, comedians, and former presidents all wrapped into one dynamic package. Recently, my husband and I had the good fortune to see Little perform at the Tropicana in Las Vegas, where he has been doing his uncanny ...

Bookmarks

Come join us Monday, July 23 at 6:30 PM for Monday Night Movies.  This week’s selection stars Donald Sutherland and Helen Mirren, and it follows their characters as they journey across the country in a RV, rekindling their passion for life and their romance.  It is rated R.  If you cannot make it to the Monday night showing, there is a second screening on Wednesday, July 25 ...

Press Releases

ICE ERO Newark Arrests 37 Individuals in Middlesex County During Enforcement Surge

July 18, 2018

NEWARK, N.J. — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Newark Field Office arrested 37 individuals during a five-day operation that concluded Friday, as part of the agency’s ongoing public safety efforts. The operation targeted criminal aliens who were previously incarcerated at the Middlesex County Jail (MCJ), and who were subsequently ...

5 Simple Ways to Save Water this Summer

According to the L.A. Times, the average American uses an estimated 98 gallons of water EACH day.  

Here are five simple ways you can save water, to help you conserve water this summer and take some pressure off of your drains.

1. Unless you are using it, turn the faucet off. How many of us still leave the water running while we shave or brush our teeth?According to ...