North American Lake Monsters by Nathan Balingrud

// came across Nathan Balingrud’s North American Lake Monsters on a Bookriot list titled “5 Books That Are Legit Nightmare Fuel,” by Rachel Weber. Conveniently, I had been in desperate need of some “nightmare fuel,” so to Amazon I went. I don’t know that I would label these stories as scary in a traditional sense, but they are bothersome and thought-provoking, and some are downright troubling. I loved it.

The common thread throughout most of these stories is the juxtaposition of real-life horors with supernatural ones. Which is more terrifying is often unclear. For instance, “The Monsters of Heaven” features a couple coping with the kidnapping of their young son. All the while, glowing, alien-like creatures dubbed “angels” begin appearing across the county, but each one is broken or injured in some way. “North American Lake Monsters” tells readers of Gary, a man who just finished serving a six-year jail sentence, and tries to reconnect with his wife and adolescent daughter amidst the discovery of a massive dead sea creature that has washed ashore. Balingrud consistently indicates that these supernatural elements are not nearly as terrifying as what life itself can have in store.

I absolutely loved this collection of stories. Every single one. That’s why this post is so short; I have nothing to rant on and on about for paragraphs on end. Go read this now, but leave the light on when you do.

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