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About Ben Lathrop
Ben Lathrop has written and taught on the history of cinema with a focus on the horror genre and cult audience behavior. He is a native Iowan, former television horror host and present librarian. He lives with his family in Cincinnati, Ohio.
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Shallow Waters—where nothing stays buried.
With 21 Dark Fiction & Horror tales diving beneath the surface of life, death, and the mystery that lies beneath.
Shallow Waters is the official monthly flash fiction challenge hosted by the award-winning Crystal Lake Publishing. Every month a new challenge is posted online, with authors submitting via email. The best submissions are then posted on Crystal Lake’s Patreon page (an exclusive behind the scenes community of readers and authors), where patrons read daily entries and vote for the winner. What you’ll find in these Shallow Waters anthologies include the winners as well as the most popular of our finalists. Stay tuned for more volumes in this series, or find Crystal Lake Publishing on Patreon to enter or vote on future challenges.
Volume four includes suspenseful stories of death, Halloween, twisted love, karma, and travel horror.
Introduction by Joe Mynhardt
“Turkish Delight On the Blue Line” by Shoshana Edwards
“VII” by Mark Allan Gunnells (winner)
“Unfinished Education” by Jonah Buck
“Odor Mortis” by Red Lagoe
“Hook-Hand Man’s Last Night on Lovers’ Lane” by Patrick Barb
“A Table Set for One” by Dani Brown (winner)
“Love Letters” by Richard Thomas
“Mixed Marriage” by David Bernard
“Starlight and Fairy Dust” by Chloé Harper Gold (winner)
“Meme” by Michael Patrick Hicks (winner)
“As the Crow Flies” by Kevin Lucia
“I Didn’t Know What Love Was” by Ben Lathrop
“The Talk” by Lori Michelle
“Devour” by Austin James
“Sanctuary” by David J. Rank
“That Which Makes Me Happiest” by L. F. Falconer
“Reversal of Fortune” by Sheri White
“Thelma Takes the Devil” by Linda J. Marshall (winner)
“In That Dress” by Anthony D Redden
“What You’d Do for Love” by Mark Allan Gunnells
“Sansara” by Oleg Hasanov
“Oppenheimer’s Door” by Alexander Zelenyj
In this volume…
- Russian horror comes out of the shadows
- A man, his dead wife, and a Great Emptiness…
- We often say we’d do anything for those we love...but do we mean it?
- As traffic to his killing grounds declines, a murderous figure from urban legend contemplates a change of scenery
- Come to the Crossroads. He’s waiting. So is she
- Friendships are fragile and rarely live up to expectation, as the kind elderly man with his lovely candies will soon learn
- Haunted by his daughter and promised a new one by his bride, Donnie can’t stop eating
- Some messes need to be left!
- A runaway witch won’t let her limited knowledge of hexes and spells deter her from her goals
- Karma’s a bitch when the latest internet craze leads to murder—or is it merely an elaborate hoax?
- What happens when desire becomes obsession?
- Meet-cute with a handsome single dad takes an unexpected turn
- They say love lost feels like death; love found can be so much worse
It’s end of October 1985 and the crumbling river town of Dubois, Iowa is shocked by the gruesome murder of one of the pillars of the community. Detective David Carlson has no motive, no evidence, and only one lead: the macabre local legend of “Boris Orlof,” a late night horror movie host who burned to death during a stage performance at the drive-in on Halloween night twenty years ago and the teenage loner obsessed with keeping his memory alive.
The body count is rising and the darkness that hangs over the town grows by the hour. Time is running out as Carlson desperately chases shadows into a nightmare world of living horrors.
On Halloween the drive-in re-opens at midnight for a show no one will ever forget.
Proudly brought to you by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from The Darkest Depths.
Interview with the author:
What was the inspiration for this novel?
In the late 90’s, I produced and starred in a TV show where I hosted public domain horror movies in character as “Boris the Undead Hepcat,” kind of a mash-up of Dean Martin and Beetlejuice. The show was definitely amateurish, but also a true labor of love and an ode to all the horror hosts I’d grown up with. Over the years I’d thought about trying to bring the show back, but none of my ideas for it were very satisfying. Then one night I was playing The Cramps during my commute home and kind of letting my mind wander. Listening to Lux Interior tease every possible threat and innuendo out of old rockabilly lyrics put this image in my head – It looked like my old horror host character, but it was something else. Something much darker. A real monster pretending to be a fake one. This book is his story.
Tell us a little about your lead characters.
David Carlson is police detective haunted by past failures and the everyday tragedies of working class crime. He’s a relative new comer to the town of Dubois (“rhymes with noise”) Iowa, but he’s made it his home and is committed to protecting it. While struggling to find clues, Carlson develops a bond with video store clerk James West. James is 19 and still trapped in the small town he never belonged to. He dreams of escape…and finds it at the movies.
Why should readers give your work a try?
Midnight Horror Show comes from untold hours haunting video stores. From long, lonesome drives through endless cornfields. It comes from desperately searching the airwaves and staying up way too late to get a glimpse of something magical, and terrifying, and true. This book is my love letter to the monsters, who were there for me when no one else was.