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It’s dangerous out there…on the road. The highways, byways and backroads of America are teeming day and night with regular folks. Moms and dads making long commutes. Teenagers headed to the beach. Bands on their way to the next gig. Truckers pulling long hauls. Families driving cross country to visit their kin. But there are others, too. The desperate and the lost. The cruel It’s dangerous out there…on the road. The highways, byways and backroads of America are teeming day and night with regular folks. Moms and dads making long commutes. Teenagers headed to the beach. Bands on their way to the next gig. Truckers pulling long hauls. Families driving cross country to visit their kin. But there are others, too. The desperate and the lost. The cruel and the criminal. Theirs is a world of roadside honky-tonks, truck stops, motels, and the empty miles between destinations. The unseen spaces. And there are even stranger things. Places that aren’t on any map. Wayfaring terrors and haunted legends about which seasoned and road-weary travelers only whisper. But those are just stories. Aren’t they? Find out for yourself as you get behind the wheel with some of today’s finest authors of the dark and horrific as they bring you these harrowing tales from the road. Tales that could only be spawned by the endless miles of America’s lost highways. So go ahead and hop in. Let’s take a ride. Line-up: Introduction by Brian Keene doungjai gam & Ed Kurtz — “Crossroads of Opportunity” Matt Hayward — “Where the Wild Winds Blow” Joe R. Lansdale — “Not from Detroit” Kristi DeMeester — “A Life That is Not Mine” Robert Ford — “Mr. Hugsy” Lisa Kröger — “Swamp Dog” Orrin Grey — “No Exit” Michael Bailey — “The Long White Line” Kelli Owen — “Jim’s Meats” Bracken MacLeod — “Back Seat” Jess Landry — “The Heart Stops at the End of Laurel Lane” Jonathan Janz — “Titan, Tyger” Nick Kolakowski — “Your Pound of Flesh” Richard Thomas — “Requital” Damien Angelica Walters — “That Pilgrims’ Hands Do Touch” Cullen Bunn — “Outrunning the End” Christopher Buehlman — “Motel Nine” Rachel Autumn Deering — “Dew Upon the Wing” Josh Malerman — “Room 4 at the Haymaker” Rio Youers — “The Widow” Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths. Interview with the editor: So what makes Lost Highways: Dark Fictions From the Road so special? Lost Highways comes at the theme of road stories with the desire to push the boundaries of what that theme means. Because of that, it collects authors of diverse levels of experience and notoriety in the worlds of horror and dark fiction. This brings together voices like Joe R. Lansdale, Cullen Bunn, Josh Malerman, Damien Angelica Walters, Rio Youers, Bracken MacLeod, Rachel Autumn Deering, Matt Hayward, doungjai gam with Ed Kurtz, and Kristi DeMeester. All of these unique voices bring a fresh and often unexpected take on the theme. What made you think of this theme for the anthology? Road trips can be fun but they can also be long and boring.


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It’s dangerous out there…on the road. The highways, byways and backroads of America are teeming day and night with regular folks. Moms and dads making long commutes. Teenagers headed to the beach. Bands on their way to the next gig. Truckers pulling long hauls. Families driving cross country to visit their kin. But there are others, too. The desperate and the lost. The cruel It’s dangerous out there…on the road. The highways, byways and backroads of America are teeming day and night with regular folks. Moms and dads making long commutes. Teenagers headed to the beach. Bands on their way to the next gig. Truckers pulling long hauls. Families driving cross country to visit their kin. But there are others, too. The desperate and the lost. The cruel and the criminal. Theirs is a world of roadside honky-tonks, truck stops, motels, and the empty miles between destinations. The unseen spaces. And there are even stranger things. Places that aren’t on any map. Wayfaring terrors and haunted legends about which seasoned and road-weary travelers only whisper. But those are just stories. Aren’t they? Find out for yourself as you get behind the wheel with some of today’s finest authors of the dark and horrific as they bring you these harrowing tales from the road. Tales that could only be spawned by the endless miles of America’s lost highways. So go ahead and hop in. Let’s take a ride. Line-up: Introduction by Brian Keene doungjai gam & Ed Kurtz — “Crossroads of Opportunity” Matt Hayward — “Where the Wild Winds Blow” Joe R. Lansdale — “Not from Detroit” Kristi DeMeester — “A Life That is Not Mine” Robert Ford — “Mr. Hugsy” Lisa Kröger — “Swamp Dog” Orrin Grey — “No Exit” Michael Bailey — “The Long White Line” Kelli Owen — “Jim’s Meats” Bracken MacLeod — “Back Seat” Jess Landry — “The Heart Stops at the End of Laurel Lane” Jonathan Janz — “Titan, Tyger” Nick Kolakowski — “Your Pound of Flesh” Richard Thomas — “Requital” Damien Angelica Walters — “That Pilgrims’ Hands Do Touch” Cullen Bunn — “Outrunning the End” Christopher Buehlman — “Motel Nine” Rachel Autumn Deering — “Dew Upon the Wing” Josh Malerman — “Room 4 at the Haymaker” Rio Youers — “The Widow” Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths. Interview with the editor: So what makes Lost Highways: Dark Fictions From the Road so special? Lost Highways comes at the theme of road stories with the desire to push the boundaries of what that theme means. Because of that, it collects authors of diverse levels of experience and notoriety in the worlds of horror and dark fiction. This brings together voices like Joe R. Lansdale, Cullen Bunn, Josh Malerman, Damien Angelica Walters, Rio Youers, Bracken MacLeod, Rachel Autumn Deering, Matt Hayward, doungjai gam with Ed Kurtz, and Kristi DeMeester. All of these unique voices bring a fresh and often unexpected take on the theme. What made you think of this theme for the anthology? Road trips can be fun but they can also be long and boring.

30 review for Lost Highways: Dark Fictions From the Road

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bandit

    I love all things cars with a passion some might find peculiar for a person who doesn’t drive and has never owned a vehicle with more than two wheels. Needless to say, this anthology intrigued and boy did it deliver. This is essentially a literary equivalent of a long ride on a strange road with the sun going down and you slowly realizing that you’re not quite sure where you are. Your GPS is on the fritz, the mobile phone can’t find a signal and the radio is emitting a particularly menacing stat I love all things cars with a passion some might find peculiar for a person who doesn’t drive and has never owned a vehicle with more than two wheels. Needless to say, this anthology intrigued and boy did it deliver. This is essentially a literary equivalent of a long ride on a strange road with the sun going down and you slowly realizing that you’re not quite sure where you are. Your GPS is on the fritz, the mobile phone can’t find a signal and the radio is emitting a particularly menacing static. The road signs don’t look familiar and you can’t find your map you swear you put in the glove compartment just earlier that day. The road narrows, the tree branches are starting to look like limbs, the sun’s all the way gone now and you’re completely at the mercy of the things that roam such places at night. Yeah, it’s that eerie with a lovely sustained sort of dread throughout. First 50% was strong, dominated by the third story, second 50% was a powerhouse of thrilling terror, ending with an appropriately lethal tale of road rage personified, literally. Few well known names, but a lot of the authors were new to me and the quality was so consistent throughout, it didn’t even seem to matter. Partial always to thematic collections, especially ones so well done. The originality here was just…wow. Every tale had a new spin, a deadly twist, a screeching tire crash of frightening proportions. Awesome collection. Most enthusiastically recommended. Many thanks to the publisher for providing an ARC for review purposes.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Michael Hicks

    Traveling long stretches of a dark highway it's easy to imagine the horrors lurking in the dark, some of them all too real. Drunk drivers, car crashes, vehicles flipping and sliding along the asphalt, glass breaking and sparks flying as metal meets road and the smell of gasoline perfumes the air. The black hidden world beyond the lane markers and past the guardrails is more ephemeral, the secrets hiding just past the road darker and wilder. In Lost Highways: Dark Fictions From the Road, D. Alexa Traveling long stretches of a dark highway it's easy to imagine the horrors lurking in the dark, some of them all too real. Drunk drivers, car crashes, vehicles flipping and sliding along the asphalt, glass breaking and sparks flying as metal meets road and the smell of gasoline perfumes the air. The black hidden world beyond the lane markers and past the guardrails is more ephemeral, the secrets hiding just past the road darker and wilder. In Lost Highways: Dark Fictions From the Road, D. Alexander Ward has compiled fresh writings from more than twenty authors (only two are reprints, Joe R. Lansdale's "Not From Detroit" and Rio Youers' "The Widow") who have reached into the darkness of the highway, a darkness that travels upon the road beside you, or maybe follows behind you just a bit too close for comfort, or hides just off the exit or in the woods beyond the stretch of road, hoping for some unsuspecting soon-to-be victim to come their way. Two writers, doungjai gam (writing with Ed Kurtz) and Jess Landry, managing editor of JournalStone, make their fiction debuts with "Crossroads of Opportunity" and "The Heart Stops at the End of Laurel Lane," respectively. Both deal with elements of personal loss, tragedy, death, madness, and the ghosts we carry with us in wildly different ways. These themes occur time and time again throughout Lost Highways, with veteran writers like Joe R. Lansdale and Christopher Buehlman tackling similar concepts of death and the carriage he rides in that could not have been handled in ways more different than here. Throughout Lost Highways there exists certain plays on a theme, particular notes that are reinforced thanks to Ward's organization of these stories, and elements that are echoed in various and striking ways across the book. Yes, there are stories of cannibals and killers, of urban legends and people grappling with madness, but it's the overwhelming amount of heart that resonates and overlaps the stories here, creating miniature story arcs of emotion that are strengthened or that chafe against one another. Kristi DeMeester's "A Life That is Not Mine" is an excellent story of madness, but it's all the things that aren't on the page that ring the most true and provide a powerful examination of depression and self-destruction. Schoolteacher Hannah has forgotten what morning looks like, all the light in her life having left. She lives a solitary existence in the dark, one with no happiness, no joy, only drudgery and an escalating insanity. "The Widow" by Rio Youers takes a similar tack, but one that is strikingly different as his protagonist, Faye, grapples with the roadside death of her husband and stumbles upon a centuries old supernatural mystery while those around her constantly worry about the state of her mental health. Michael Bailey's "The Long White Line" is an exquisite paradox of a story, albeit one with a very simple premise. Still, it's difficult to discuss without veering sharply into spoiler territory and revealing the catch. This one is all about the concept, and it's the stuff of urban legend. Kelli Owen sharpens her blade with her own bit of urban legend involving a small, sleepy town past a Northern Michigan highway exit in "Jim's Meats." Owen hit a lot of sweet spots for me with her story of a wrong turn gone seriously awry, and one character's early mention of the film Deliverance provides a glimpse of where things are headed. I love these types of B-movie pulps, and Owen delivered one of my favorite stories in Lost Highways. Speaking of movies, it feels safe to say that Matt Hayward found some inspiration from John Carpenter and Stephen King with his story of a roving fog that demands the worst memories of those that drive through it. "Where the Wild Winds Blow" ends on a satisfying note that makes one's imagination run wild at the prospect of what comes next, and I certainly wouldn't mind it if Hayward opted to explore this story further somewhere down the road. Lost Highways is also notable, at least for me, in presenting a return to prose fiction from Rachel Autumn Deering, who depicts one of the most honest stories of heartbreak I can recall, in "Dew Upon the Wing." I was a fan of Deering's 2016 debut novella, Husk, so it was terrific to find her traveling the dark passages of Lost Highways. Of particular note, too, is Cullen Bunn, a scribe best known for his work in comic books, particularly his Bram Stoker Award-nominated Harrow County, whose "Outrunning the End" makes a nicely apocalyptic short story involving a man on the run, chased by demons both personal and otherwise. At its best, Lost Highways presents some truly engaging, mysterious, and unique stories to captivate. At its worst...well, frankly, there isn't really a worst to be had here. Lost Highways is the rare anthology that even when it's not running hot with its pedal to the metal, it's still pretty damn good. With a line-up that includes a number of outstanding authors, like Jonathan Janz, Bracken McLeod, and Damian Angelica Walters, and a number of strong works from its lesser-known and debut contributors, it's truly hard to go wrong. Lost Highways offers a number of trips, and more than a few satisfying detours, across the nation's highways and byways that you'd be remiss not to take. Just make sure you've got enough fuel in the tank - you don't want to have stop at some small Podunk gas station late at night in a place you've never heard of, or stall out alongside the road, your cell phone's signal mysteriously lost, with no help in sight. You don't know what's out there...lurking...waiting...and thirsting for blood. [Note: I received an advance copy of Lost Highways: Dark Fictions From the Road from Crystal Lake Publishing.]

  3. 4 out of 5

    Reading Reindeer Cobwebbed

    Review: LOST HIGHWAYS, edited by D. Alexander Ward "Exceptional indeed" is a key phrase to describe this new Anthology of Speculative Horror from Crystal Lake Publishing. From the first page of editor D. Alexander Ward's fine introduction, throughout this outstanding collection, excellence reigns. Each story is an exquisite gem, and I say this with heartfelt emphasis. Each is also thought-provoking, and subtly terrifying. I submit, that even the stories here with positive endings (yes, there are Review: LOST HIGHWAYS, edited by D. Alexander Ward "Exceptional indeed" is a key phrase to describe this new Anthology of Speculative Horror from Crystal Lake Publishing. From the first page of editor D. Alexander Ward's fine introduction, throughout this outstanding collection, excellence reigns. Each story is an exquisite gem, and I say this with heartfelt emphasis. Each is also thought-provoking, and subtly terrifying. I submit, that even the stories here with positive endings (yes, there are some) ultimately instill terror. (I won't give away which ones!) Occasionally I am privileged to read a novel, novella, anthology, or single-author collection, that leaves me thinking I have insufficient capacity to praise highly enough; a book which instills high awe at the creative power of writers and editors. I give you, LOST HIGHWAYS. And if you doubt my enthusiasm, check out the contributing authors list. Yes, Gentle Reader, I really did tell you so. LOST HIGHWAYS is beyond outstanding. http://thehauntedreadingroom.blogspot...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ethan Harris

    I read a different anthology just a few weeks ago and was completely dissatisfied with every single story. Not bad writing, but a lack of unity and something within the stories to grab me, to make me feel something beyond the words. I went into Lost Highways more cautiously, not sure what to expect. I see a lot of well-known names in the anthology, I've enjoyed the publisher's other titles, and the unifying theme sounded interesting. Not to take away from the first two stories, but the third-by I read a different anthology just a few weeks ago and was completely dissatisfied with every single story. Not bad writing, but a lack of unity and something within the stories to grab me, to make me feel something beyond the words. I went into Lost Highways more cautiously, not sure what to expect. I see a lot of well-known names in the anthology, I've enjoyed the publisher's other titles, and the unifying theme sounded interesting. Not to take away from the first two stories, but the third-by Joe Lansdale-put me fully in the mindset to enjoy the rest of the book. It's an interesting story with an emotional appeal, a dramatic encounter and a satisfying conclusion with an easy-going narrative. This is a smooth story, unique in content and very enjoyable. I would even go so far as to say it's a fun read. At this point, I felt comfortable with the anthology and found myself enjoying the more in-your-face "Mr. Hugsy" by Robert Ford, which has a vivid grittiness with a big reveal of an ending that made my mind gasp at its sudden turn. "Jim's Meats" by Kelli Owen made me feel the tension of the unfolding scene. There is some story-telling skill in this story, being able to make me feel the discomfort and sense of growing doom for the two main characters. It had a nice little twist on the title at the very end that gives the reader a greater sense of the situation the characters found themselves in. I think my favorite was "Back Seat" by Bracken MacLeod. At the height of the story, I felt the sorrow and the horror of the main character. I related to the sense and description of terror in a personal way that almost made me quit reading the story. There is a unique story-telling technique in this tale that made me adore the skill with which it was written. Jonathan Janz's "Titan, Tyger" has, for me, the most creative finale out of all the stories. But now, I'm thinking that it's too difficult at this point to have a favorite. Kolakowski's "Your Pound of Flesh" kept me wondering until the very last sentence, giving me a powerful reflection on what I'd just witnessed. Buehlman's "Motel Nine" was a surprise to me when it dawned on me what was going on. Malerman's "Room 4 at the Haymaker" and Rio Youers' "The Widow" presentations put me into the head of the characters, feeling the stories unfold. In all, it's almost impossible to pick a top story if I were asked and I feel like I'm leaving out other worthy entries. There were a few stories that really shined above the rest, but when I think about the past books I've read, there simply haven't been this many enjoyable short stories in a single anthology. The editor deserves some real credit for such a successful group of stories. There are plenty of cringe and creep moments and there were times when I felt the terror of surprise and some downright grittiness. On Goodreads, five-stars means "it was amazing" and I think Lost Highways easily earned it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Phillip Smith

    4.5 for this very strong collection. There is a lot to love about the open road and a lot that is frightening about the highways and byways we travel along. Most of these stories encapsulate themes of isolation, paranoia, and claustrophobia; our truest fears coming to haunt us when we are at our lowest. Favorites include: "A Life That Is Not Mine," "Not From Detroit," "No Exit," "Jim's Meats," "Requital," "That Pilgrim's Hands Do Touch," "Outrunning The End," "Motel Nine," "Room 4 at the Haymake 4.5 for this very strong collection. There is a lot to love about the open road and a lot that is frightening about the highways and byways we travel along. Most of these stories encapsulate themes of isolation, paranoia, and claustrophobia; our truest fears coming to haunt us when we are at our lowest. Favorites include: "A Life That Is Not Mine," "Not From Detroit," "No Exit," "Jim's Meats," "Requital," "That Pilgrim's Hands Do Touch," "Outrunning The End," "Motel Nine," "Room 4 at the Haymaker," "The Widow".... I just realized I basically listed all of them. But the absolute standout of this collection that gave me the deep down shivers was the "Back Seat" by Bracken Macleod. A truly outstanding story that will is worth the price of admission. Enjoy the ride.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Debbi Smith

    With anthologies there are always stories you like better than others. Lost Highways was an exception- I enjoyed them all. Recommended for everyone who enjoys dark takes and dark highways.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Chuck Buda

    The premise is great. Using the road as a backdrop for all kinds of creepy encounters and twisted tales. I found the selections diverse and well written. This collection is worth checking out.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Armand Rosamilia

    Very rarely do you get an anthology with this many stories and not find a bad one in the bunch. There's always a weak story or two, or those that don't hold up to the others in the book. Not in this one! I can only imagine the stories that were rejected for this anthology, because from start to finish, every story was unique and great on its own. I really hope a second volume will be published in the future, but this will be a tough act to follow.

  9. 5 out of 5

    GracieKat

    I always enjoy themed anthologies. I love to see what different authors can do with the same general idea but spun in their own ways and directions. I was drawn to the theme of this anthology for various reasons. My dad is a retired trucker. First on oil fields, then over the road with their own truck. I went with on occasion and the road (and stops in-between) can be really weird sometimes. I also love to drive. Enough to know that those long, wind-y backroads are creepy and dark. They're also I always enjoy themed anthologies. I love to see what different authors can do with the same general idea but spun in their own ways and directions. I was drawn to the theme of this anthology for various reasons. My dad is a retired trucker. First on oil fields, then over the road with their own truck. I went with on occasion and the road (and stops in-between) can be really weird sometimes. I also love to drive. Enough to know that those long, wind-y backroads are creepy and dark. They're also the most interesting. I do find it interesting that most horror themed road stories take place on deserted country roads, usually at night (personally, city driving scares the bejeesus out of me, having to switch lanes like some demented game of Frogger)...but not all. There is something unnerving about driving through deserted stretches of tree shadowed roads even during the daytime. Highways can be creepy due to the anonymous nature of the cars on the road with you. So let's check out these tales of back road and highway horror. When I rate stories in themed collections I don't just rate on the story alone but how well it keeps to the theme, or doesn't as the case may be. That doesn't necessarily mean the story is bad, it just doesn't fit in with the theme of the anthology: Crossroads of Opportunity - Doungjai Gam & Ed Kurtz This story didn't start out the book with a bang for me. It didn't really grab me that much. Where the Wild Winds Blow - Matt Hayward I really liked the premise in this story (although I was a bit disappointed that Tony didn't get his comeuppance) but the thought of something making you see/relive your (presumably) worst moment is freaky as hell. Not from Detroit - Joe R. Lansdale Joe R. Lansdale's stories are sometimes hit or miss for me sometimes but this story was great. It was moving and very realistic. What Margie says seems overly dramatic but I've said the same thing. A Life That is Not Mine - Kristi DeMeester This story didn't grab me much either. It's link with the road was a bit tenuous, the character was not very engaging and I had no idea what the plot was even going for. Mr. Hugsy - Robert Ford This story was very good. It kind of reminded me of a cross between The Babadook and Before I Wake but also had its own flair to it. Swamp Dog - Lisa Kroger Again the story is very tenuously connected to the road theme. It is a good story but it seems like it would belong in a creature feature anthology better than one named "Lost Highways". No Exit - Orrin Grey Rest stops are pretty creepy. Not the well-lit Welcome Centers or the truck stops serving all-night breakfast but the dim stops off the freeways and highways. I've heard of so many real and unreal horrors about them that they just creep me oout. No Exit plays on that fear very well. It also has a very Silent Hill feel to it as well which caught my interest. I loved the ending. It was perfect and not anything that I was expecting at all. The Long White Line - Michael Bailey You can kind of see where the story is going but it's a great story all the same. It reminds me of that song 'Six Days on the Road', not the whole thing, just the lyrics "I've been popping little white pills and my eyes are open wide". I imagine that's the song Tracy is hearing in her head. Jim's Meats - Kelli Owen When you're on a freeway you might want to keep an eye on your gas gauge...and yay! Michigan popped up! I'm sorry but how is Michigan not used more for horror!? Although when it is I noticed that it's usually set in Northern and Upper Michigan. That's right. We'll freaking eat you if you come North. I don't think that's really a spoiler with a title like Jim's Meats. Back Seat - Bracken MacLeod Oh my sweet baby Cthulhu, such a good story. So, so good. I have to admit that it made me tear up. The Heart Stops at the End of Laurel Lane - Jess Landry I can't say that I disliked this story because it was so well-written and very, very good. It's just very, very depressing as well. You start out knowing that things are ad and as you continue you know they're only going to get worse. Much worse. Titan, Tyger - Jonathan Janz This story captures perfectly that feeling of helplessness when you're riding shotgun in the passenger seat. Even if it's someone you know and trust there's a vulnerability to being passenger in a couple of tons of steel, hurtling down the road at fifty miles an hour. And you have zero control over your destination or even your own well-being (at least the illusion of it). A fact I'm fully appreciating now that the Tiny Tentacle is of driving age. Couple that feeling of helplessness and entrapment with an otherworldly passenger and you've got one heck of a good story. Your Pound of Flesh - Nick Kolakowski A very good twist on the vanishing hitchhiker story and with an ending I didn't see coming at all. Requital - Richard Thomas I couldn't get into this one quite as much as I wanted to. The imagery is beautiful and terrifying but the story just wasn't there for me. That Pilgrims' Hands Do Touch - Damien Angelica Walters A pretty good story. A bit different. I don't really see the connection to the road unless they're going more for a 'path' sort of thing. I did really like the story, though. Outrunning the End - Cullen Bunn A very good story that plays with your expectations. Is Brandon mad? Sane? Other? I guess you'll have to read it to see! Motel Nine - Christopher Buehlman This story was very unsettling. I'm sure it was supposed to be and the author did a great job of it. Dew Upon the Wing - Rachel Autumn Deering A good story and, dang it, I want answers. Was The Gentleman Satan? What did he say? I need more!! Another that most likely takes place in Michigan. We're on a roll. Room 4 At the Haymaker -Josh Malerman And another that at least starts in Michigan. Although, thinking on it, it shouldn't be too surprising given that Detroit was once the car capital. The story itself was a very interesting "What if?" kind of story. With a bit of a different ending. The Widow - Rio Youers A very interesting idea. It makes me think of those stretches of road where accidents happen for no apparent reason. Very well-conceived and executed. Lost Highways is a great collection of stories. The emotions in them don't feel cheesy or hackneyed. They feel real and in many cases raw. If I had to pick a few favorites it would definitely be Not from Detroit, No Exit, and Back Seat. Recommended highly. Although I would like to add one little thing just for me. Driving while drowsy is dangerous. I feel the need to add that as many of the stories revolve around people driving for days on coffee or energy shots. No. Please don't do this. Thank you, that's all I wanted to say. Received from Crystal Lake Publishing for review consideration

  10. 4 out of 5

    mamalovestoread

    When you've finished Lost Highways, you'll never look at a road trip the same way again. The stories in this anthology all have elements that were very relatable in their mundane simplicity that once or twice after I'd finished the book I'd find myself in my car, on the road or flicking on the car stereo and I'd have a momentary and uneasy flashback to a scene from one of the stories. The book opens with by  “Crossroads of Opportunity” by Doungjai Gam & Ed Kurtz which had an unsettling "Tales from When you've finished Lost Highways, you'll never look at a road trip the same way again. The stories in this anthology all have elements that were very relatable in their mundane simplicity that once or twice after I'd finished the book I'd find myself in my car, on the road or flicking on the car stereo and I'd have a momentary and uneasy flashback to a scene from one of the stories. The book opens with by  “Crossroads of Opportunity” by Doungjai Gam & Ed Kurtz which had an unsettling "Tales from the Crypt" vibe that had me actually checking the back seat of my car before driving off, just to make sure I had no unwanted passengers. As if right? But this story left a lingering sense of paranoia that trumped any rational part of my brain. "Back Seat" by Bracken MacLeod hit me hard, it's difficult to explain why other than to say that I "felt" this story. Reading for me is much more than just churning through words on a page, it's about the emotional intensity, the aftertaste and the sense of connection. This particular story latched on and didn't let go. There is good consistency throughout this anthology. Rarely are so many of the stories in a collection all on point but these just came together really well and some of the more speculative stories still have me lamenting and pondering the end and wondering...why?. So much so that I may revisit this post on further reflection and add some more defined thoughts on possible subtexts. Lost Highways - Dark Fictions From The Road, edited by D. Alexander Ward is out now in paperback and ebook from Crystal Lake Publishing. For author line-up, quality of writing, sub-genre variety, thematic consistency and overall ability to trigger the senses it cranks up a very worthy 5 stars from me. Full review can be found here: https://mamalovestoread.co.uk/2018/07...

  11. 4 out of 5

    thebonebreaker

    Are you planning one last road trip before Summer ends?  Then be sure to grab a copy of this book before you head out, as it contains 20(!) stories that are sure to entertain you while on the road. It is difficult to pick a favorite from this collection, though I will say that Bracken MacLeod's Backseat has stuck with me the hardest. (In the heat of summer, you will feel the bitter cold of this winter tale!) Other favorites include Joe R. Lansdale's Not from Detroit, Robert Ford's Mr. Hugsy, Lisa Are you planning one last road trip before Summer ends?  Then be sure to grab a copy of this book before you head out, as it contains 20(!) stories that are sure to entertain you while on the road. It is difficult to pick a favorite from this collection, though I will say that Bracken MacLeod's Backseat has stuck with me the hardest. (In the heat of summer, you will feel the bitter cold of this winter tale!) Other favorites include Joe R. Lansdale's Not from Detroit, Robert Ford's Mr. Hugsy, Lisa Kröger's Swamp Dog, Jonathan Janz' Titan, Tyger, Josh Malerman's Room 4 at the Haymaker, and the closing story, Rio Youers' The Widow. (Story placement matters in an anthology, and this last one is a doozy of a story!) Some other honorable mentions: Michael Bailey's The Long White Line (a very "Twilight Zone" type of story), Kelli Owen's Jim's Meats (I would have liked more of this story), Nick Kolakowski's Your Pound of Flesh (this one has a good twist), and Rachel Autumn Deering's Dew Upon the Wing. There are plenty more good stories within this collection, the above were just the standout stories, for me. So, before you hit the road, grab this book and enjoy your travels. Like D. Alexander Ward stated in his dedication to this anthology: the roads are legion and there are such strange sights to see!

  12. 5 out of 5

    The Scary Reviews

    This was a good anthology and had several very good stories. My review is posted here ---> https://wp.me/p5t5Tf-1E2 This was a good anthology and had several very good stories. My review is posted here ---> https://wp.me/p5t5Tf-1E2

  13. 4 out of 5

    Noelle Kelly

    I’m a massive fan of the anthologies from Crystal Lake Publishing so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on their latest offering, Lost Highways : Dark Fictions from the Road! Lost Highways brings the reader on a haunting and disturbed road journey into fictional horror. Like Gutted, Beautiful Horror stories, Behold: Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders – and C.H.U.D.L.I.V.E.S., each piece is well-written and selected. Best Read before embarking on a long, winding road trip. Crossroads of Oppo I’m a massive fan of the anthologies from Crystal Lake Publishing so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on their latest offering, Lost Highways : Dark Fictions from the Road! Lost Highways brings the reader on a haunting and disturbed road journey into fictional horror. Like Gutted, Beautiful Horror stories, Behold: Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders – and C.H.U.D.L.I.V.E.S., each piece is well-written and selected. Best Read before embarking on a long, winding road trip. Crossroads of Opportunity The collection begins with the dark tale of a grieving husband trying to bring his wife back from the grave. This was unexpectedly bloody and action packed. Where the Wild Winds Blow An ill wind blows along a highway tormenting the minds of everyone it passes with their deepest, darkest thoughts. Not from Detroit I didn’t expect a sweet tale in this collection, but this romantic tale of death made me smile. A Life that is Not Mine This is a scary, confusing and claustrophobic tale. There is a sense of hopelessness and doom throughout with black, descriptive detail. Mr. Hugsy A young boy on the run with his father has supernatural powers to call Mr. Hugsy. But is Mr. Hugsy the real monster? Swamp Dog This piece is raw and full of traumatic detail. Hurt and pain end in sweet release for the main character No Exit Gruesome murders of the past, murderous cults, gory imagery and a grieving sister make for a great horror story. The imagery is vivid and visceral. The Long White Line A strange, repetitive, terrifying journey with no escape. Jim’s Meats Jim’s Meats is reminiscent of horror movies. Tourists end up trapped in a nightmarish game with the locals. Back Seat Sad, terrible and disturbing. The images from Back Seat will stay with the reader long afterwards. A tale of real horror in the world. The Heart Stops at the end of Laurel Lane Laurel Lane marks the spot of a disastrous meeting of a mother and her teenage daughter. The story ends on a twisted, hopeful note. Titan, Tyger Peter is a cheater who has a chance encounter with mysterious teenager Merry. A tale of regret and deceipt. Your Pound of Flesh Sarah picks up a hitchhiking girl and winds up on the hunt for a murderer. Requital A story of being trapped full of rage and pain. A ghostly girl and desert creatures are described in terrifying, graphic imagery. That Pilgrims’ Hands Do Touch A woman visits a roadside shrine searching for the mother who abandoned her. Fake gods, loss and a pilgrimage of discovery and horror. Outrunning the End The blight is engulfing everything in it’s wake, but Brendan is trying to stay one step ahead. Will he succeed and what is the blight he is desperately trying to outrun? Motel Nine Uncomfortable and unsettling , badness lurks in Motel Nine. This one gave me shivers. Dew Upon the Wing  Sussy’s wife has left her and her mother is dying. An evil bargain may solve her problems… Room 4 At the Haymaker Evelyn runs into a face from the past – a hitcher who is the spitting image of the man who left her many years ago. She finds a dark release from the demons of her past. The Widow A gory, blood-soaked tale of justice, grief and madness. I absolutely loved Lost Highways and I highly recommend it to fans of surreal fiction. To conclude, Lost Highways is an another outstanding anthology from Crystal Lake Publishing

  14. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Many themed horror anthologies trade off weak stories to have enough on topic. Lost Highways does not. The quality of each story is consistently high, making this a read from cover to cover anthology instead of something you pick up for a story or two. Although there are the expected hitchhikers and ghosts (and hitchhiker ghosts), there are some genuinely novel interpretations on the idea of highway and no trite tales. If you are a horror fan, this is well worth the read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    I’m going to write this up front. I am much less of a short story fan than novellas and novels. A lot of short stories stop just when I’m getting into the story. That being said, if a short story is written well then I will enjoy it. In this collection there are some stories that I really enjoyed. Then there were some where the style wasn’t for me or I wasn’t into the story. But I felt all of the stories were written well so I don’t want to knock the collection too much if some stories didn’t gr I’m going to write this up front. I am much less of a short story fan than novellas and novels. A lot of short stories stop just when I’m getting into the story. That being said, if a short story is written well then I will enjoy it. In this collection there are some stories that I really enjoyed. Then there were some where the style wasn’t for me or I wasn’t into the story. But I felt all of the stories were written well so I don’t want to knock the collection too much if some stories didn’t grab me. There is a lot of talent collected in these pages and I feel there is probably something for everyone in this book. Highlights for me were stories by Joe Lansdale, Nick Kolakowski, Jonathan Janz, Kelli Owen and Josh Malerman. The one story that was by far the best was Bracken MacLeod’s story. This was a powerful and emotional story that stays in my memory weeks later. Overall this was a good collection that I enjoyed. I recommend this to readers who enjoy horror short stories.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Dr. Fiona M. Clements-Russell

    Another WONDERFUL collection of dark stories, from the superb Crystal Lake Publishing imprint. These tales of highways, byways and the deeply disturbing things that happen when travelling along them, truly surpasses any other collection on this theme that I have ever read. I don't like to do 'spoilers' in my reviews, and there are plenty of opportunities to research each story, before you read the book, if that's your kind of thing. Personally, I much prefer the step into the unknown that comes w Another WONDERFUL collection of dark stories, from the superb Crystal Lake Publishing imprint. These tales of highways, byways and the deeply disturbing things that happen when travelling along them, truly surpasses any other collection on this theme that I have ever read. I don't like to do 'spoilers' in my reviews, and there are plenty of opportunities to research each story, before you read the book, if that's your kind of thing. Personally, I much prefer the step into the unknown that comes with the thrill of opening a new book...and yes, even though I read almost exclusively on my Kindle Voyage, I still fall back on old terms such as that, when it comes to reading. I had my doubts before I started this book, for the very first time from a Crystal Lake collection, and perhaps I should explain why. I survived a near-fatal car crash in 2001, and have been profoundly disabled since then, but hey, I am still here to tell the tale! So, from the perspective of setting off my PTSD, I thought I have to be more than slightly crazy to be reading on this theme...but I am SO glad I did. And anyway, crazy is good. It gets you through when nothing makes sense anymore, and on these Lost Highways, you need to be a little crazy to survive. Every single story is stunning. I can't think of one that in any way disappointed - other than leaving me desperately wanting more! That stands out for me most with the talented tale weaver, Matt Hayward's offering in this collection. Matt is a true tour de force in the world of horror writing, he really knows how to build a story that grabs you from the first page, and, as I have said, left me desperately wanting to know what happens next! I make no apologies for saying I am literally crossing off the days until the latest Matt Hayward collection hits the buying date (1st of June, fans, so not long to go now! Straying only very slightly from his Lost Highways killer of a thriller, I am so intrigued by his next book - the theme is built around finding a buried jar of pennies, each of which has a wish made by a child fastened around it. The wishes start coming true, and at first so seems harmless...but if course, Matt makes sure there is a Karmic twist. Nothing comes for free, EVERYTHING has to be paid for.) I am already hooked, just from reading the pre-publishing information about 'A Penny For Your Thoughts', and the agonising suspense of waiting until I can read the collaboration between Matt Hayward and Robert Ford is almost over. I wake up and cross off another day as the launch date fast approaches, so it's fair to admit of course I am a fan! Matt's contribution to Lost Highways was worth the purchase price of the collection alone, in my own humble opinion. It's sort of weird, because when I started reading his story here, 'Where The Wild Winds Blow', I had been listening to some of my favourite music - Queen - and the track 'Ride the Wild Wind' had just come on. There's no such thing as coincidence in my book, by which I mean to say I don't believe that, but it certainly set the scene perfectly. Matt certainly knows how to deliver, and I just wish that this story hadn't ended...what an amazing novel lies waiting there! (Please!!!) There are some unbelievable stories in this collection. Lost Highways really takes us to some very, very dark places indeed, which of course is wonderful. As well as scares galore, as is inevitable with a Road Trip collection, there are scars, too. So another confession, here, I also found myself in tears at the exquisitely poignant 'Back Seat' by Bracken MacLeod, oh, how I cried at the sheer hopeless bravery of the young protagonist in this beautifully written story. I defy anyone not to be moved by this tale of deprivation and a life of desperate measures, and the love between a father and his daughter. Heartbreaking. So many other wonderful tales await, if you decide to go on these Lost Highways, as I sincerely hope you will. I will leave the surprises for you to discover for yourself - no spoilers! - but I will simply add that Crystal Lake Publishing never disappoints us faithful readers, and we remain faithful for the same reason I will buy anything published by Crystal Lake: quite simply, their dedication to bringing us the cream of horror fiction is unsurpassed in the modern world of horror writing and publication. Joe Mynhardt's ceaseless work to ensure the faithful fan is never disappointed is beyond compare. Thank you so much for plumbing the darkest depths again, in these 'Lost Highways', Joe. I for one am extremely grateful that the nightmares are out there, on those dark highways, waiting to be discovered! Treat yourself (or any horror fan, who will be eternally grateful to you for the gift!) to a copy of 'Lost Highways: Dark Fiction From the Road' and you are in for one hell of a ride...my hair is still tangled from the passing blasts of icy horrors that I encountered on my breakneck journey along these amazing 'Lost Highways'! What a ride!!!

  17. 5 out of 5

    John J Questore

    I love anthology collections – for a number of reasons. First, they give people an opportunity to read authors that they may never heard of, and second, because you can pick them up, read a story, and then move on – so they can be read as a supplement to a regular novel. I received LOST HIGHWAYS as an ARC for this review and was glad I did. As someone who likes to drive, and has driven many miles, it turned out to be a great read (and one I don’t recommend starting before a trip). Like all antholo I love anthology collections – for a number of reasons. First, they give people an opportunity to read authors that they may never heard of, and second, because you can pick them up, read a story, and then move on – so they can be read as a supplement to a regular novel. I received LOST HIGHWAYS as an ARC for this review and was glad I did. As someone who likes to drive, and has driven many miles, it turned out to be a great read (and one I don’t recommend starting before a trip). Like all anthologies, there were some major hits, and then some “what the hell” stories. Here’s my breakdown: Crossroads of Opportunity by Doungjai Gam and Ed Kurtz: Freddie Mercury of QUEEN wrote, “Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?” Well, this anthology starts off with a story that will have you saying the same thing, as you read about a man who brought his wife back from the dead. 4 of 5 Where the Wild Winds Blow by Matt Hayward: Ever been driving and from out of nowhere a fog appears? If you have, next time you may want to drive around it – especially if it’s anything like this “ill wind.” 3 of 5 Not from Detroit by Joe R. Lansdale: OK, hands down, this was my absolute favorite. It was a sweet, romantic tale of the love between a couple married over 50 years; and how death wasn’t going to stop them from staying together. This tale alone is worth the price of the anthology. 5 of 5 A Life that is Not Mine by Kristi DeMeester: I’ll be honest, I had to go back and glance at the story to remember what it was about. It was a dark, confusing tale of hopelessness. Very descriptive, but extremely confusing. 2 of 5 Mr. Hugsy by Robert Ford: Does your child have an imaginary friend? Well, you may not want to do anything that might make him angry. 4 of 5 Swamp Dog by Lisa Kroger: This story is a slow burn. You’re not exactly sure what’s going to happen, but you know it isn’t going to end well. Very well written, and surprising. 4 of 5 No Exit by Orrin Grey: This story had a little of everything – gruesome murders, a messed-up cult, time travel, and a grieving sister longing to know the truth. 5 of 5 The Long White Line by Michael Bailey: This one was straight out of the Twilight Zone. I can’t say more without giving too much away. Suffice to say, this journey has no end. 5 of 5 Jim’s Meats by Kelli Owen: Well, there had to be one obligatory story about a backwoods community, a broke down car, and the local delicacy. 3 of 5 Back Seat by Bracken MacLeod: This one hurt. It was sad, disturbing, and sticks with you; much longer than you want it to. A tale about a real-world horror. 5 of 5 The Heart Stops at the end of Laurel Lane by Jess Landry: What would you do to make up for a disastrous mistake? How far would you go to bring back a lost child? Read this story to find out. 4 of 5 Titan, Tyger by Jonathan Janz: Peter cheats on everyone. When his car breaks down, he meets a mysterious stranger named Merry, and is offered redemption. But does he take it? 5 of 5 Your Pound of Flesh by Nick Kolakowski: This story starts out like the campfire tale of the hitchhiker that was dead but turned out to be so much more. 5 of 5 Requital by Richard Thomas: I didn’t get this one. It was very confusing; and didn’t quite understand what the story was actually about. 2 of 5 That Pilgrims’ Hands Do Touch by Damien Angelica Walters: This one was just straight up weird. A women visits a roadside shrine in search of her mother, and finds fake gods and horror. 3 of 5 Outrunning the End by Cullen Bunn: Brendan is trying to outrun an all engulfing blight. But what exactly is it, and will he succeed in staying ahead of it? 3 of 5 Motel Nine by Christopher Buehlman: Another very confusing story. This one is about the many different versions of a single person existing at the same time. 2 of 5 Dew Upon the Wing by Rachel Autumn Deering: An evil bargain with a strange man may help bring solace to Sussy, as well as her wife. 4 of 5 Room 4 At the Haymaker by Josh Malerman: Evelyn picks up a hitchhiker that is the spitting image of a man who left her many years ago. She’s so sure it’s Bob, that she gets even for him leaving her. Creepy story about revenge. My other favorite of the bunch. 5 of 5 The Widow by Rio Youers: What a way to end this book! Faye believes she has a man in her possession who has killed over 53 people, including her husband, on a small stretch of road. This is a gory, bloody tale of grief, madness, and a twisted sense of justice. 5 of 5 All in all, a solid set of stories revolving around the open road, and traveling. There were some clunkers in my mind, although others found those stories enjoyable. But like they say, one man’s meat is another man’s poison, and that’s what makes the world go around. Another hit from Crystal Lake Publishing.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Yvonne Davies

    Following on from Gutted, C.H.U.D. Lives and other anthologies from Crystal Lake comes Lost Highways. A bumper collection of 26 short stories with one thing in common the open road. With so many stories I was spoilt for choice, but some of my favourites were: Not From Detroit by Joe R Lansdale: An elderly couple are very much in love. This is a beautifully written story and so heart-warming. This story that love will conquer all even in the face of death. Jim’s Meats by Kelli Owen: A couple are o Following on from Gutted, C.H.U.D. Lives and other anthologies from Crystal Lake comes Lost Highways. A bumper collection of 26 short stories with one thing in common the open road. With so many stories I was spoilt for choice, but some of my favourites were: Not From Detroit by Joe R Lansdale: An elderly couple are very much in love. This is a beautifully written story and so heart-warming. This story that love will conquer all even in the face of death. Jim’s Meats by Kelli Owen: A couple are on a road trip and are running out of petrol, but pulling over at a petrol station, just made it dangerous. This story built the tension up to the final chase. This is a story I would love to be a full novel. Whilst a lot is unknown about the Jim’s meat and the residents of the town, your imagination can join the dots. Your Pound of Flesh by Nick Kolakowski: Hitchhikers are a regular feature in road trip stories but this story had a twist when Jill Cafferty stopped to pick up a young girl in distress. This story takes you on the hunt for a serial killer. Incorporated in this story was the difficult topic of domestic violence which was handled with sensitivity. The author takes you on an emotional journey which near the end will have you picking up speed to find out what happens. The twist to the story was a surprise and the ending made the story whole. Having read the majority of Crystal Lakes anthologies, I knew that I need to add to my collection when this was released. Whilst I recognised quite a few of the authors, there were still authors I had not read and I admire the dedication that the publisher puts into finding the various authors to keep anthology fresh. As usual the art work on the cover and in the book was exquisite. Each story was unique and with various length will keep you captivated throughout your read and possible you may not want to read this if you are planning your own road trip. Although it may be a good survival guide.

  19. 4 out of 5

    FU FU

    A solid anthology. I was quite impressed with the variety of tales with the "from the road" theme. My fave was Rachel Autumn Deering's "Dew Upon the Wing" - a grieving woman hits the road at night and meets The Gentleman. It's the right mix of smart dialogue, psychological war, and unsettlingly surreal.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Roxie Prince

    Read this review and more on my blog at [Roxie Writes]. ‘Lost Highways: Dark Fictions from the Road’ by Various Authors ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5/5 Finished on September 21, 2018 Read with Kindle Unlimited Subscription FREE with Kindle Unlimited | $3.99 on Kindle | $15.99 in Paperback BOOK DESCRIPTION: It’s dangerous out there…on the road. The highways, byways and backroads of America are teeming day and night with regular folks. Moms and dads making long commutes. Teenagers headed to the beach. Bands on their way t Read this review and more on my blog at [Roxie Writes]. ‘Lost Highways: Dark Fictions from the Road’ by Various Authors ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5/5 Finished on September 21, 2018 Read with Kindle Unlimited Subscription FREE with Kindle Unlimited | $3.99 on Kindle | $15.99 in Paperback BOOK DESCRIPTION: It’s dangerous out there…on the road. The highways, byways and backroads of America are teeming day and night with regular folks. Moms and dads making long commutes. Teenagers headed to the beach. Bands on their way to the next gig. Truckers pulling long hauls. Families driving cross country to visit their kin. But there are others, too. The desperate and the lost. The cruel and the criminal. Theirs is a world of roadside honky-tonks, truck stops, motels, and the empty miles between destinations. The unseen spaces. And there are even stranger things. Places that aren’t on any map. Wayfaring terrors and haunted legends about which seasoned and road-weary travelers only whisper. But those are just stories. Aren’t they? Find out for yourself as you get behind the wheel with some of today’s finest authors of the dark and horrific as they bring you these harrowing tales from the road. Tales that could only be spawned by the endless miles of America’s lost highways. So go ahead and hop in. Let’s take a ride. MY REVIEW: This is one the best short horror collections I have read in a long time. Every one of these tales is well-written, gripping, and chilling. There wasn’t a single story in this collection I didn’t like. There is a wide variety of tales in this anthology, so there is bound to be something for every horror lover. From page-to-page, you get something new, exciting, and often surprising. The monsters range from the supernatural to the everyday. The open road is luring. It taunts us with “what ifs” and “wheretos”. While a lot of us have romantic ideas about road trips and adventures, these stories show us that the open road can be a place of nightmares, too. This collection includes the stories: “Crossroads of Opportunity” by doungjai gam and Ed Kurtz “Where the Wild Winds Blow” by Matt Hayward “Not from Detroit” by Joe R. Lansdale “A Life That is Not Mine” by Kristi DeMeester “Mr. Hugsy” by Robert Ford “Swamp Dog” by Lisa Kröger “No Exit” by Orrin Grey “The Long White Line” by Michael Bailey “Jim’s Meats” by Kelli Owen “Back Seat” by Bracken MacLeod “The Heart Stops at the End of Laurel Lane” by Jess Landry “Titan, Tyger” by Jonathan Janz “Your Pound of Flesh” by Nick Kolakowski “Requital” by Richard Thomas “The Pilgrims’ Hands Do Touch” by Damien Angelica Walters “Outrunning the End” by Cullen Bunn “Motel Nine” by Christopher Buehlman “Dew Upon the Wing” by Rachel Autumn Deering “Room 4 at the Haymaker” by Josh Malerman “The Widow” by Rio Youers I absolutely recommend this collection. I want to read more work from these authors, and I hope this publisher will release another collection like this in the future.

  21. 4 out of 5

    RaeDawn Drenning

    Some great authors , and some beast stories. Merged review: Some great authors , and some beast stories. Merged review: Some great authors , and some beast stories. Merged review: Some great authors , and some beast stories.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Russell Coy

    A masterpiece of an anthology. This is haunting collection that contains horror and heartbreak in equal measure, and features many of today's biggest names in the genre alongside many of tomorrow's. Do yourself a favor and give this one a shot.

  23. 4 out of 5

    S.J. Budd

    Yet another amazing anthology from Crystal Lake. This one was super creepy I'm never travelling on highways again.

  24. 4 out of 5

    John Adams

    Lost Highways - Dark Fictions From The Road, edited by D Alexander Ward At this time of year, we all think about slinging a few things in a bag and heading off on the open road. The wind in your hair, the sun baking down, the prospect of a little adventure along the way. And a chance to speed away from whatever cares weigh you down for the rest of the year. What could possibly go wrong? Crystal Lake Publishing's new anthology features short stories from twenty authors - a mix of familiar names wit Lost Highways - Dark Fictions From The Road, edited by D Alexander Ward At this time of year, we all think about slinging a few things in a bag and heading off on the open road. The wind in your hair, the sun baking down, the prospect of a little adventure along the way. And a chance to speed away from whatever cares weigh you down for the rest of the year. What could possibly go wrong? Crystal Lake Publishing's new anthology features short stories from twenty authors - a mix of familiar names with some fresher faces, kicked off by an introduction from Brian Keene. It's the sort of lineup that gets me rubbing my hands whenever an advance review copy hits my inbox. First up, a cracking short story from the awesome Joe R Lansdale, 'Not From Detroit'. Marjie and Alex Brooks have been married for over fifty years and have taken to ruminating on death as old age closes in - aided by dark tales told to Marjie by Grandma. "Grandma said this man in a black buggy slowed down in front of their house, cracked his whip three times, and her daddy was gone in instants. And she said she'd heard her grandfather tell how he had seen Death when he was a boy." Alex is busy ruminating on Marjie's tale later that night and gazing out towards Highway 59, when a stranger smoking a cigar pulls up at his house - this unwelcome guest might not be willing to take no for an answer! A creepy tale, sure enough, but with a satisfying ending. Marriage is also on our minds in Lisa Kröger's 'Swamp Dog'. Lucy works the cash register at The Yellow Store just off Louisiana's Highway 90, selling gas and chicken-on-a-stick to passing trade. Since 'Lucy' isn't her real name and the owner isn't prone to asking awkward questions, she'd glad of the anonymity the job brings, enabling her to leave her abusive husband behind. "At home, I felt the pain in my side as I peeled off the clothes. I winced when I passed the brush through my hair. You always did prefer the back of my head, the places where the black and blue wouldn't show." Lucy heads out into the darkness to revel in another kind of anonymity deep in the Bayou. Local dogs have been getting killed or disappearing, but Lucy isn't one to let that get in her way. In 'Dew Upon The Wing' by Rachel Autumn Deering, a husband takes refuge in the solitude of a late-night drive to escape his mother's ill health and his wife's emotional distance and imminent departure. I loved the mix of pacing and tone in this satisfying array of short stories. But the longing to escape that infects us in summer, and for some marks their lives all the year round, was never far away. It haunted me all the way through this anthology. Some books do that to you! Enjoy!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Beth Roberts

    Actual rating: 3.5, rounded up for the beautiful artwork included ROAD TRIP!!!!!! That was my immediate thought when this book first came to my attention. Exciting concept. The fact that it was available for free through Kindle Unlimited made it a "right now" read. Unfortunately, the actual stories were uneven for me, and after the first two, I doubted I wanted to continue. Both of the introductory stories weren't bad, I just didn't like them. The first one for zombie issues, the second for overuse Actual rating: 3.5, rounded up for the beautiful artwork included ROAD TRIP!!!!!! That was my immediate thought when this book first came to my attention. Exciting concept. The fact that it was available for free through Kindle Unlimited made it a "right now" read. Unfortunately, the actual stories were uneven for me, and after the first two, I doubted I wanted to continue. Both of the introductory stories weren't bad, I just didn't like them. The first one for zombie issues, the second for overuse of the word "Dyna", which I took from context to be some sort of motorcycle in the UK, like a Harley here in the States. The author clearly loves a Dyna, and if he doesn't have one, he needs to go buy one. However, there are a few heavy hitters here, notably Joe R. Lansdale, Christopher Buehlman and Josh Malerman. I also enjoy anthologies as they allow me exposure to authors I'm not familiar with. Some of my now auto-buy authors have come to me via their short fiction work. One story here was a DNF for me: Outrunning the End due to a 14-foot centipede with a saddle and handlebars sticking out of its head. All I could picture was one of those toddler inchworm ride-on toys. Sorry, I can't do silly monsters. The story might be good, I don't know. There is one tale here that is a true standout for its beauty, message and true horror, and that is Back Seat by Bracken Macleod. The Lansdale inclusion, Not from Detroit is a close runner-up in the same vein, but more traditional horror with a folktale vibe. Any book that includes artwork deserves honors, and here it makes up for the stories that didn't cut it for me. The table of contents as well as my personal rating for each of the stories is as follows: Crossroads of Opportunity/Doungjai Gam & Ed Kurtz 2 Where the Wild Winds Blow/Matt Hayward 2 Not from Detroit/Joe R. Lansdale 4.5 A Life That is Not Mine/Kristi DeMeester 4.5 Mr. Hugsy/Robert Ford 5 Swamp Dog/Lisa Kroger 5 No Exit/Orrin Grey 5 The Long White Line/Michael Bailey 2 Jim's Meats/Kelli Owen 3 Back Seat/Bracken Macleod 5 The Heart Stops at the End of Laurel Lane/Jess Landry 3 Titan, Tyger/Jonathan Jana 3 Your Pound of Flesh/Nick Kolakowski 3 Requital/Richard Thomas 1 That Pilgrims' Hands Do Touch/Damien Angelica Walters 5 Outrunning the End/Cullen Nunn 0 Motel Nine/Christopher Buehlman 5 Dew Upon the Wing/Rachel Autumn Deering 4 Room 4 at the Haymaker/Josh Malerman 4.5 The Widow/Rio Youers 4.5

  26. 4 out of 5

    Brian Bogart

    We’ve all been there before. You’re driving along, the lights from your car’s high beams splashing the black top ahead of you, the fog seeming to part and then swallow the space behind you. You may have taken a wrong turn, or an errant shortcut- but now you are unsure where you are. The GPS has been negligible on the journey and now whines and screams in digital confusion. You turn the radio down, pretending that the silence will somehow get you back on track. Then, there’s a shriek of fear and ag We’ve all been there before. You’re driving along, the lights from your car’s high beams splashing the black top ahead of you, the fog seeming to part and then swallow the space behind you. You may have taken a wrong turn, or an errant shortcut- but now you are unsure where you are. The GPS has been negligible on the journey and now whines and screams in digital confusion. You turn the radio down, pretending that the silence will somehow get you back on track. Then, there’s a shriek of fear and agony, somewhere in the darkness. Well, maybe not that last part. But D. Alexander Ward has compiled a collection that could make your imagination run wild the next time you are in that position... Full Review here: http://kendallreviews.com/lost-highwa...

  27. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    We’ve all been there before. You’re driving along, the lights from your car’s high beams splashing the black top ahead of you, the fog seeming to part and then swallow the space behind you. You may have taken a wrong turn, or an errant shortcut- but now you are unsure where you are. The GPS has been negligible on the journey and now whines and screams in digital confusion. You turn the radio down, pretending that the silence will somehow get you back on track. Then, there’s a shriek of fear and ag We’ve all been there before. You’re driving along, the lights from your car’s high beams splashing the black top ahead of you, the fog seeming to part and then swallow the space behind you. You may have taken a wrong turn, or an errant shortcut- but now you are unsure where you are. The GPS has been negligible on the journey and now whines and screams in digital confusion. You turn the radio down, pretending that the silence will somehow get you back on track. Then, there’s a shriek of fear and agony, somewhere in the darkness. Well, maybe not that last part. But D. Alexander Ward has compiled a collection that could make your imagination run wild the next time you are in that position... Full Review here: http://kendallreviews.com/lost-highwa...

  28. 5 out of 5

    Gabby Agnese

    Where do I even begin? With most horror anthologies, the quality ranges from terrible to the lower side of mediocre. This is especially the case with themed anthologies. Before picking up this book, I expected redundancy. After all, how many different ways can one display the horror of the road? To my delight, I was quickly proved wrong. Every author in “Lost Highways” approached the subject in a unique, wonderful way. The talent with which these tales were presented stayed consistently stunning. Where do I even begin? With most horror anthologies, the quality ranges from terrible to the lower side of mediocre. This is especially the case with themed anthologies. Before picking up this book, I expected redundancy. After all, how many different ways can one display the horror of the road? To my delight, I was quickly proved wrong. Every author in “Lost Highways” approached the subject in a unique, wonderful way. The talent with which these tales were presented stayed consistently stunning. My personal favorite was “Dew Upon the Wing.” As with many of the other stories, I was left uncertain and craving for more. If you are a fan of horror anthologies, do yourself a favor and purchase “Lost Highways”.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Horror DNA

    Anthologies are a love/hate issue with me. I love exploring an unknown author's works and finding new obsessions but I hate how brief some of the stories are and how I'm left wanting more. This is not a problem with Lost Highways: Dark Fictions From the Road. This is an amazing collection of stories each with its own unique voice and feel and no two stories are alike. It's a roller-coaster of a read with lots of cool tales and very few duds. You can read Jennifer's full review at Horror DNA by cli Anthologies are a love/hate issue with me. I love exploring an unknown author's works and finding new obsessions but I hate how brief some of the stories are and how I'm left wanting more. This is not a problem with Lost Highways: Dark Fictions From the Road. This is an amazing collection of stories each with its own unique voice and feel and no two stories are alike. It's a roller-coaster of a read with lots of cool tales and very few duds. You can read Jennifer's full review at Horror DNA by clicking here

  30. 4 out of 5

    Baker St Shelves

    A horror anthology featuring driving. Driving on the highway can lead to some scary situations. Paranoia that your car might break down, hitchhikers, and abandoned roads can leave you with dread. This books has stories that bring all the possible fears that come with driving and while not every story is a hit, there are plenty that keep you tense.

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