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Cradle Lake by Ronald Malfi

Cradle Lake (2013)

by Ronald Malfi

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When Alan Hammerstun inherits a quaint ranch house in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, he and his wife Heather seize the opportunity to leave New York and the haunting aftermath of two miscarriages. Eager to start over in the rural North Carolina town, they hope this new beginning will be the antidote to Heather’s severe depression. For a time everything seems perfect. Too perfect, in fact. The neighbors are all young, handsome, healthy, and friendly. While surveying his new property, Alan finds a dirt path through the forest designated by stone markers carved with strange symbols, which culminates in a grassy clearing. One night Alan dreams the path ends at the foot of a lake and dives in; when he awakes gritty with lake grime and improved health and strength, he wonders if it could cure Heather’s depression and infertility as well. When the townspeople warn Alan of the lake’s powers, he must decide if the community’s secret is a nightmare or a miracle.

My Thoughts:

"Some gifts are cursed." This is, very often, a haunting and disturbing story. In places it is genuinely terrifying. It's also a book concerned with themes of hope, redemption and how your past can poison your present. Alan Hammerstun's aspirations to "fix" his predicament is by turns, heart-breaking and admirable; a character imbued with an innocence that is gloriously defiant and willfully ignorant. Readers will be hooked early on as the atmosphere gets increasingly darker and the situation becomes increasingly desperate. ( )
  Carol420 | May 31, 2016 |
Semi - Pet Sematary rip-off. Grim and predictable without any characters I felt remotely invested in. Alan and Heather have suffered two miscarriages when Alan's estranged uncle dies, leaving Alan his house in North Carolina. Near the house is a lake that is supposed to have special healing powers, although they come with strings attached and some of the outcomes aren't pretty. The lake doesn't bring people back from the dead, but it's pretty close to Pet Sematary with the whole scenario of abusing Native American healing magic with horrific results. It's obvious what Alan is going to do after he finds out about the lake and it ends as you can probably imagine. ( )
  grammarchick | Jan 5, 2016 |
At the heart of this excellent story is a dilemma. The great spiritual one bequeathed and entrusted to us the world as we know it, and invited us to treat with respect and not to destroy this wonderful gift. The greed and distructful nature of man is forever present and proceeds to demolish that which was given in trust.

Alan Hammerstun and his wife Heather have moved from downtown Manhattan to a quiet suburb in the state of Carolina. Heather has recently suffered two horrific miscarriages, is clinically depressed, and has attempted to end her own life on two occasions. Alan, deeply in love with his wife, is hopeful that this new start will rejuvenate their relationship. What follows is a deeply moving, thought provoking story that invokes elements of horror, spiritualism, and human greed creating a tight and compulsive read challenging the readers intelligence from the opening scenes.

There is a wonderful list of characters; Hank Gerski, Don Probst and Gary Jones neighbours with a secret to keep aided and abetted by the somewhat unlikeable Sheriff Hearn Landry. In addition there is the murderous intentions of Owen Moreland and the spiritualistic presence of "George Young Calf Ribs" At the centre of this unfolding drama is Cradle Lake...cold and inviting, invigorating yet destructive in the extreme...."You have no concept of what the lake is capable of. There's a power here, a certain strength. And it's not just in the lake but in the land itself. All around us"

Hank Gerski warns Alan of the dangers of Cradle Lake explaining that the healing process of the water contains evil intentions and is best left alone. An incident happens when young Cory Morris is in a serious collision with a car and rather than request the assistance of an ambulance Cory is lifted and carried to Cradle Lake. where he is miraculously healed. All the residents wish to keep the rest of the world ignorant of the Lake's healing powers but Alan realizes there is a way that he can use the power of Cradle Lake to strengthen his resolve and more importantly bring back life to his beautiful Heather....but a price will have to be paid.

Owen Moreland butchered his wife Sophie "put the barrel of a pump-action Winchester to the center of Sophie's forehead and spread her brains along the front hallway of their home" before inserting a toe in his shotgun and very efficiently ending his own life. On visiting the scene of this atrocity Alan sees the words "Devil's Stone" painted on the walls and his curiosity into the origin of these words leads him on a journey where he meets the spiritual "George Young Calf Ribs" and begins to discover and understand the true meaning and horror of Cradle Lake and now appreciates the impact this will have on his life unless he adheres to and obeys the advice and warnings from "George Young Calf Ribs"...."It has become a bad place. His tone was simple, matter-of-fact. It no longer hides and offers rejuvenation to those worthy enough to find it. Now it calls to whoever is careless enough to seek it out. That is its revenge on the ones who have soured its waters and poisoned its land"...."Leave that house immediately" he told him. "Burn it to the ground so no one else can live there after you. Do it before it's too late."

This is not a happy book but a thoughtful, sad and intelligent read of one mans journey to find some closure and redemption and to put an end to the sadness that permeates his life. It is amazingly poetic in it's language and visionary in the story that it tells. It is a book that should be read by all, an astounding achievement by Ronald Malfi it comes from me to you with the highest recommendation. ( )
  runner56 | Jan 20, 2014 |
“Cradle Lake” by Ronald Malfi

Award winner Ronald Malfi brought my complete senses into a haunting novel. There, I embrace a thrilling horror that is best described as memorable. I won’t soon forget the anxiousness as I rush from one page to the next to find out just what happens next.

Alan and Heather Hammerstun had a bad run of things in New York, so when Alan discovers his uncle Phillip, who he hasn’t seen in a long time, wills him his house in North Carolina, he thinks it’s a perfect plan for them to start over.

But he couldn’t be more wrong.

Their new home is not picturesque; it has its problems and needs a lot of attention. The people living in the town and the actual town itself seem to be concealing a secret. And Alan finds out what it is—Cradle Lake. Seems innocent enough, but it’s evil bubbling about, not peaceful waters.

Suffering from depression and dealing with past attempted suicides, Heather struggles to find her way. Just when Alan and Heather think they can be a family again, the real facts about the lake materialize, but it’s too late. Even neighbors who try to friend them can’t help. Alan is caught in a web of paranoia, a house that is alive in its own right, and a town he thinks is crazy.

Absolutely recommended if you like a great horror. I look forward to more of Malfi’s work. ( )
  StarrReina | Aug 11, 2013 |
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When Alan Hammerstun inherits a quaint ranch house nestled in the foothills of the Great Smokey Mountains, he seizes the opportunity to take his wife, Heather, away from New York. The couple has been haunted by the aftermath of two miscarriages, and the rural North Carolina town is just what they need to start over. For a while, everything seems perfect. Too perfect, in fact. The neighbors are young, handsome, and healthy and everyone is very friendly. But the town harbors a secret - one that seems like a gift, yet comes at a steep price...… (more)

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Medallion Press

3 editions of this book were published by Medallion Press.

Editions: 1605425109, 1605425141, 1605425184

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