BOOK REVIEW – North American Lake Monsters by Nathan Ballingrud

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Title: North American Lake Monsters

Author: Nathan Ballingrud

Genre: Anthology

Publisher: Small Beer Press

Publication Date: June 28, 2013

Pages: 217 pages


After reading A Head Full Of Ghosts and raving about it on IG, Paul Tremblay replied to my tag (insert groupie moment here) and suggested I try Wounds: Six Stories From The Border Of Hell by Nathan Ballingrud. While waiting to get the copy I ordered, I decided to try his first collection, North American Lake Monsters.

The first story was my favorite from another book, The Humanity Of Monsters. I found great pleasure in reading You Go Where It Takes You again. It affected me as much now as it did the first time I read it.

I sorted the stories into two categories. Here they are:


  • You Go Where It Takes You
  • The Good Husband
  • The Monsters Of Heaven
  • S.S.
  • Sunbleached


  • Wild Acre
  • The Crevasse
  • The Way Station
  • North American Lake Monsters

Monsters come from different backgrounds. There are both human and inhuman monsters. Nathan Ballingrud spoke about both types in his book.

I loved the philosophical questions some of these stories brought up. What determines a monster? The Good Husband was a story which made the reader look at the other side of depressed patients and their families.

S.S. helped me understand why someone would become the member of a group, which to me and many other people, is the most reprehensible group in North America. What may seem like a particularly depraved collection of people to others is sometimes the only family the members have.

Being a horror buff, I’ve read different types of vampire stories but Sunbleached was different from the rest. I was enthralled by this variation of the theme.

The Monsters Of Heaven was interesting. That’s the best word I can think of for this story. It was odd but for some weird reason I totally enjoyed it.

The other stories were all enjoyable. Just because they didn’t make my favorites didn’t mean they weren’t excellent. This book is a great read not just for horror readers but anyone who wants to take a philosophical look at both human and inhuman monsters alike. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

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