This is the first of Duncan Ralston’s works I’ve read. What a wonderful find.
SALVAGE is a ghost/mystery story centering around Owen Saddler, Rev. Everett Crouch, and the Church of the Blessed Trinity. When Owens sister, Lori, goes off to find out the truth, she winds up finding nothing but trouble. Owen sets out to discover what happened to Lori and winds up in the quiet town of Chapel Lake An array of characters, a series of nightmares, and the mystery of what lies beneath the lake lead Owen in a desperate search to solve this mystery.
There were so many cool things about this novel. The characters are all well done and believable. The mystery of what became of the town beneath the lake (Peace Falls) is a huge driving force along with the need Ralston’s writing initiates in us to discover the truth about Rev. Crouch and his flock. My favorite characters were Owen, Howie, and, surprisingly, Jo. Its always wonderful when you pass judgement on a character upon first “meeting” them only to have the author make you change your mind.
There are plenty of religious aspects to the story, as well. A lot about faith and trust, and the power that both can wield, for better or worse. All in all, a wonderful story that had some really fantastic moments. Definitely recommended reading.
I give SALVAGE 4-4.5 stars!
Get your copy of SALVAGE HERE
Duncan Ralston was born in Toronto and spent his teens in small-town Ontario. As a “grownup,” Duncan lives with his girlfriend and their dog in Toronto, where he writes dark fiction about the things that frighten, sicken, and delight him. In addition to his twisted short stories found in GRISTLE & BONE (Shadow Work Publishing), the anthologies DEATH BY CHOCOLATE (Knightwatch Press), WHAT GOES AROUND (Great British Horror), Extreme Horror Author Matt Shaw‘s EASTER EGGS & BUNNY BOILERS, and the charity anthologies BURGER VAN and THE BLACK ROOM MANUSCRIPTS Vol. 1 (Sinister Horror Company), he is the author of the novel, SALVAGE, and the novellas EVERY PART OF THE ANIMAL and WOOM, an extreme horror Black Cover book from Matt Shaw Publications. He also co-hosts the horror podcast Screen Kings, dedicated to dissecting Stephen King movies and miniseries.
Chad Lutzke’s novella, Of Foster Homes and Flies, is a nice change of pace for me. Its a compact little coming-of-age tale of a 12-year-old boy, his dead mother, and a spelling bee.
The twist is that his mom dies at the beginning of the book and the spelling bee he’s been living for for the last few months is still almost a week away.
Wonderfully written, this story has some real sweet spots to it. Being that it is a novella, these spots are exactly that-short but sweet. The scene with the maggots comes to mind…but also the scenes with Sam. Well done.
Lutzke professes his love for coming-of-age tales in the the “liner notes”. He can sleep well knowing that he’s added a nice little nugget under that umbrella.
Definitely worthy of your time.
I give Of Foster Homes and Flies 4 stars!
Get you copy of OF FOSTER HOMES AND FLIES HERE
Chad lives in Battle Creek, MI. with his wife and children where he works as a medical language specialist. For over two decades, he has been a contributor to several different outlets in the independent music and film scene including articles, reviews, and artwork. Chad loves music, rain, sarcasm, dry humor, and cheese. He has a strong disdain for dishonesty and hard-boiled eggs. He has written for Famous Monsters of Filmland, Rue Morgue, andScream magazines and is a regular contributor to Horror Novel Reviews, Halloweenforevermore, and Heavy Planet. You can find his published work here.
You can also find him lurking around the following websites: