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text 2018-02-12 04:36
A View from the Lake - Greg F. Gifune
A View from the Lake - Greg F. Gifune

Katherine and James purchased lake property in rural western Massachusetts when they were in their mid-twenties. They rented out the various cottages while James worked on his poetry. It was an idyllic setting and life. That is, until James discovered the body of a boy floating by one of the cottage docks. The accident sent devastated James and he slowly sank into madness and depression from a broken mind. Katherine watched as James became more and more recluse and angry until one day he disappeared without a trace. Trying to pick up the pieces of a shattered life, Katherine makes the decision to sell the property in the spring and to try and start a new life. All she has to do is get through the winter. Not an easy task now that she's hearing strange thing that sound like James. Is this all in her mind or is he out there somewhere?



I've read a handful of Gifune's work and most of them are noted for the story being enveloped in shadows and fog, to the point where it's hard to tell what's going on, what's real and what's not. A View from the Lake is no different. But where it is different than my other experiences with Gifune's stories is that there is no pay off. The last 1/3 doesn't ratchet up and have this wonderful revelation that ties everything together. In fact, the ending came out of the blue and left you with more questions than answers. The characters weren't all that interesting and I didn't feel for Katherine or James. I know this is one of Gifune's earlier works and I think it shows. When you read his later works, you'll see that he commands things so much better.



2 Confusing Hallucinations out of 5


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review 2014-06-30 00:00
A View from the Lake
A View from the Lake - Greg F. Gifune Here is my better, more thorough review of this book for my Review Month
The Goodreads description is:
The modest lakeside resort in the small town of Blissful Point, Massachusetts once offered an alternative to the crowded beaches of Cape Cod. Tourists rented cabins, swam, relaxed, and enjoyed the miles of surrounding forest in a peaceful and safe environment. Katherine lived there for years with her husband James, a poet, and their cat Barney. They ran the small resort during the hectic spring and summer months, then hunkered down and endured the often brutal and desolate winters in relative isolation. Their lives were uncomplicated, happy and quiet - or so Katherine thought - until one summer morning when the dead body of a young boy is found floating in the lake. From the moment the child accidentally drowns, Katherine watches as her husband slowly begins to lose his grip on reality, spiraling down helplessly into insanity. And then he's gone, vanished from their home without a trace. The authorities drag the lake and search parties comb the woods, but to no avail. James is gone. Months later, as a blizzard descends over Blissful Point, Katherine, alone at the resort, faces her final winter on the lake. But things are no longer what they seem. Perhaps they never were. Are there others out there, in the woods, in the snow, in the lake, waiting and watching and luring her toward the same madness that claimed James? Is there a lingering and primordial evil haunting the lake, bringing with it the truth behind its existence, the answer to the mystery surrounding her husband's disappearance, and the life she thought she knew, or is her own grip on reality beginning to loosen? A View from the Lake is a haunting novel of dark literature that will not soon be forgotten.


Sorry I rely so much on Goodreads descriptions, I'm just not very good at summing up the plot of books without becoming a stupid rambling mess.

The description calls this novel haunting. You have no idea how true that is.

I read this book last month and gave it 4.5 stars, which at the time I was being really nice to it, because when I first finished it I kind of hated it because you never really know what is happening. Were the events in this book supernatural? Was Katherine going mad? Did the lake spread this madness like a disease to her friends? Why did James go apeshit crazy?

Well if you are a reader used to getting all your questions answered, A View From The Lake is probably not for you. But then again I usually like everything tied up in a little bow by the end of my stories too, but when I didn't get that here it made me strangely appreciate this book even more.

Because that ambiguity, and uncertain air that pervades the whole book provides some of the most real suspense I've ever read,. And the atmosphere of that cold, snowy lake makes everything even more creepy and chilly (pun intended).


This book also is packing some extremely creepy and frightening imagery. Definitely some of the creepiest scenes I've ever read are IN THIS BOOK.


And one of the scenes near the end of this book, when Katherine finally is confronted and learns the partial/kinda/sorta truth as to what is going on is definitely my favorite part of the book. I've probably thought of it at least once a day since I finished the book.

But even when this story is scary it is also very much an emotional story, with Katherine's life being a mess since James's disappearance.

I love this book, and I'm on the verge of proclaiming Greg F. Gifune a horror-writing god.


5 chilling/haunting stars out of 5.

Read this book my friends. You won't forget it for a long while.

I'll be reading The Bleeding Season in a week or two and I hope it lives up to my high expectations.



Original reviews:
4.5 out of 5

Update: It has been a few weeks and scenes from this book still "haunt" me. Only truly great books can do this. I'm upping this to 5 stars.

5 out of 5
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text 2014-04-24 18:08
Author Spotlight-Greg Gifune
The Rain Dancers - Greg F. Gifune
A View from the Lake - Greg F. Gifune,Erin Wells,TM Wright
Judas Goat - Greg F. Gifune
The Bleeding Season - Greg F Gifune
Dreams the Ragman - Greg F. Gifune
Heretics - Greg F. Gifune
Sorcerer - Greg F. Gifune
Apartment Seven - Greg F. Gifune
Saying Uncle - Greg F. Gifune
House of Rain - Greg F. Gifune


Greg Gifune is an author that I discovered soon after discovering book communities online that celebrated horror and dark fiction. A lot of people in various groups at Goodreads spoke highly of his work, so I reluctantly checked it out. Why reluctantly, you ask? First: because I'm a contrary bitch. (Thanks Moonlight Reader for the term!) If there's a bandwagon behind a book or author, I tend to avoid it like the plague. Second: I figured if his work was that good, I would have already heard about him, right? I was very wrong in that assumption and below,  I will tell you why. 


I will be honest in saying that the first Gifune book I read didn't work all that well for me. That book was Gardens of Night. I did end up giving it 3 stars because it was very well written, but I did come away from it disappointed. It left me wondering what all the hubbub was about. Regardless, I decided that I would give him one more try.


That try was The Rain Dancers (Delirium Novella Series).  All I could say was WOW. First off, the cover art is beautiful. (If you like it, check out Daniele Serra's site, his work is incredible!) Secondly: atomosphere, atmosphere, atmosphere. I've read a number of his works at this point and atmosphere is something I know I can count on from Mr. Gifune. In this particular novella, it's raining heavily outside when a stranger knocks on the door of a house. From there this novella travels deep down into the dark. I'm not sure what I expected from this story, but The Rain Dancers delivered it in spades. From that moment on, I knew I would be counted among Greg's many fans. 


At this point I had started an online reading group of my own, and we decided to read The Bleeding Season.  This was where Mr. Gifune's writing skills came into play in a big way. This read was a full length novel with a familiar premise. Childhood friends gather together  in their hometown for the funeral of another friend that had committed suicide. What makes this book different? Atmosphere? Originality? A gritty realism that any reader will recognize as truth? How about all of the above? One of my favorite quotes of all time comes from this book: "After all, Goodness is a state of grace. Evil, is a state of mind".  This book is as good as dark fiction gets.


Moving on to A View From the Lake. This novella brings to mind another word that I have come to associate with Greg Gifune and that is ambiguity. I loved this novella, it had atmosphere (of course), characters questioning their sanity, a creepy-ass setting and an ending that left a few things up to the reader. I'm a reader that enjoys trying to figure things out for myself. Not everyone is, and I realize that. However, I love it and my imagination went to town on this one. 


One other thing that I do want to mention is the fact that Mr. Gifune has said that there is a common thread that runs through all of his work. When reading A View From the Lake, I think I finally caught on to what it was. Another novella where I believe I caught the thread was Lords of Twilight This is yet another story packed with atmosphere and yet another instance of Greg letting the readers interpret the story for themselves. Plus, there was a puppy and who doesn't love puppies? 


I will wrap this Spotlight up here in the hopes that I've interested at least one person just enough for them to check out something written by Greg Gifune. If you like atmosphere, ambiguity and flat out excellent writing, his work is for you. Give it a shot, you won't be disappointed!

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review 2013-04-26 00:00
A View from the Lake
A View from the Lake - Greg F. Gifune I hate to say but not my favourite Gifune...but I still rate him as a powerful author with an emotional level of writing that many aspire to but few attain!
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review 2013-01-20 00:00
A View from the Lake
A View from the Lake - Greg F. Gifune, T... A View from the Lake - Greg F. Gifune, T.M. Wright This story had some of the most chilling moments I've ever read.

Kathleen and James own some property next to a lake in the state of Massachusetts. The property consists of their own home as well as a few cabins which they rent out during the summer months. One day, James goes out to the lake and finds the body of a young boy.

After that, things start to go bad. James becomes more and more withdrawn and spends a lot of his time scribbling in a journal which he won't let anyone else see. When he does talk to Kathleen, it's about things she doesn't understand and she's becoming more and more convinced that James is going insane.

Then James disappears. His journal does too. Kathleen is left to try to figure out what happened-from the dead child in the lake, to the whereabouts of James. She seeks out a friend to hear her story and help her figure out what is going on.

As a huge snowstorm begins to blanket the lake and her home, she tries to find answers to her questions. Is insanity contagious? Is there something else going on-something evil hidden in the snow? Something evil hidden in the lake? There is a clue in the title, it's not a view "OF" the lake. It's a view "From" the lake.

The author respects the reader enough to let them draw some of their own conclusions and I like that.

If you enjoy truly chilling, creepy moments in your horror fiction rather than blood and guts,then this is the story for you.
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