Book Review: Storm Lake

Amazon Cover

Storm Lake by Val Tobin


If you go down to the woods tonight — don’t.

This gripping horror story is no teddy bears’ picnic.

Thirteen-year-old Rachel and her little brother are looking forward to a weekend of canoeing and spending time with their friends up at the family cottage on Storm Lake in Ontario, Canada. But something terrifying has birthed itself from the trees, and the kids find themselves trapped in an isolated marina fighting for their lives…



I don’t read horror and did not realize that was what I was getting when I picked up this short story while it was free on Kindle.

That being said the story totally sucked me in the whole way. I curled further and further into a ball while reading it as each of the children’s protectors failed. I was scared, terrified, and ready to put a metal room on my house by the end of the forty-one pages.

Then the writer in me started analyzing how the story was built. Classic start of normality so you care about the character and the introduction of the sinister without it being sinister – then danger is hinted at, then observed, then shown, then brutally thrust into the characters lives. A moment of slow to capture your breath and reestablish caring for these characters (far deeper than you should for a short story), then it gets worse and worse. They do everything right, but this is a horror story. Each time you think the stakes can’t get any higher, they do. 

If you want to figure out how to write a good horror story, this would be a wonderful one to study. Well done, Ms. Tobin. Very well done.

Note that since I read this short story, Ms. Tobin created a full-length novel followup. This short story works fine as a stand-alone.