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Cradle Lake

3.6  ·  Rating details ·  336 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
When Alan Hammerstun inherits a quaint ranch house from his late uncle, nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, he seizes the opportunity to take his wife Heather away from New York, where the couple had been haunted by the aftermath of two miscarriages. The rural North Carolina town is just what the Hammerstuns need to start over and get their life back on ...more
Hardcover, signed limited to 150 numbered copies, 317 pages
Published February 2011 by Delirium Books (first published 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Aug 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-horror
When I began this book it felt like a medium to slow paced story that I had read before. It had the feel of a patchwork of story ideas from famous authors that have influenced the present author. The writing was technically sound, intricate and at times darkly haunting and beautiful (due largely to specific diction) but the story itself didn't feel like it was moving. There was a cardboard cut-out sense of the characters. It almost felt as if the writer was suffering over each word choice, putti ...more
Feb 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
24/2 - Cradle Lake by Ronald Malfi - let's see if you can give me nightmares. I wish I'd had E. watching over my shoulder, guiding me to the great horror writers, while passing by the dubious ones (still up in the air as to where Cradle Lake belongs in those categories). To be continued...

25/2 - I started this last night and have read a little over 100 pages. Near the beginning Malfi himself mentioned Ira Levin's Stepford Wives and I immediately began seeing the town's husbands/men as Stepford H
Feb 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Malfi is in top form in this novel with his two "best" key elements: atmosphere, and characterization. In CRADLE LAKE, we have a married couple, Alan and Heather Hammerstun, moving into a house left to them in the will of Alan's reclusive uncle. Heather is suffering from severe depression, and Alan is hoping that the move will give them a "brand new start" in life.

Enter the mysterious lake, embowed with apparent healing properties that come--occasionally--with a cost. (view spoiler)
Feb 09, 2017 marked it as to-read
This hardcover copy is 96 of 150 signed and numbered copies signed by Ronald Malfi.
Trev Twinem
Jan 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, lovehorror
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 cl
Jun 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Suggested by Kimberly. I didn't even know this book existed and have to say it is the most powerful book that I have read by Malfi so far. Thank you, Kimberly!

I will say that I "enjoyed" this novel but I put that in quotes because it is hard to say that you enjoy a book that makes you feel anxious for these likeable and realistic characters and just uneasy in general. I actually felt a bit overly anxious in general the whole time that I was reading it. Every now and then a book can just knock yo
Dec 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alan Hammerstun inherits the house of a long lost uncle. Alan can't understand why the house was left to him, instead of his two children. Alan and his wife Heather, jump at the chance of leaving the Big Apple and moving to a small town in North Carolina, Both Alan and Heather, hope that this move will strengthen their relationship. Heather is deeply depressed, after having two miscarriages. Heather's depression overtakes her and she tries to commit suicide by lashing her wrists. Alan must take ...more
Emily Crow
I enjoyed one of the author's other books, Floating Staircase, so I decided to give Cradle Lake a try. Let's just say that my reactions to this one were rather mixed. It's the story of a married couple, Alan and Heather, who move to his uncle's creepy old house in rural North Carolina to escape bad memories from their life in New York City--said memories concerning Heather's miscarriages and suicide attempts. There is a trail to a spooky dark lake behind the house, and things get complicated fro ...more
Dec 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Alan and Heather Hammerstun, after the emotional trauma of two miscarriages (and Heather’s two suicide attempts), are ready for a fresh start. An opportunity comes along at just the right time – Alan’s late uncle has left him with a house in a small North Carolina town, and the couple leave their New York home, hoping it will be a good place for healing. It is, as it turns out, though not in the way they’d considered. In the woods surrounding the house there’s a lake that seems to be a panacea. ...more

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Dawn

*Beware of possible Spoilers*

Alan Hammerstun and his wife decide to move after inheriting his uncle’s home in North Carolina. The house needs repairs but Heather needs the time to heal from her miscarriages. Heather is wasting away, literally. She is detached, a shell of a person. Alan is willing to do anything to help her.

The neighbors seem friendly, especially Hank. It seems like the perfect place for Alan, Heather and
Jul 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was excited to receive this book for review. It was a little extra added book from the publisher that came along with " Floating Staircase. " by the same author, Ronald Malfi. I really enjoy Malfi's writing style. This book, however, left me in the middle on my feelings towards the plot like. I have broken my positive/negative aspects into categories below.

Positive Aspects:
Mr. Malfi's writing style is poetic and superb. He has a beautiful way of creating a scene around the reader sot tha
Alisha Marie
Ahhh, Cradle Lake...or as I'm now not-so-fondly calling it "In which we have a whole lot of meh." I'm calling it that because, as you probably guessed it, for me Cradle Lake was just, well...a whole lot of meh. Nothing too impressive...

My favorite horror books are the ones with a semi-slow build up with just enough action to get you really creeped out. Cradle Lake was a lot of slow build up...that led absolutely nowhere. It was somewhat intriguing at the beginning. However, once I finished it, I
Benjamin Uminsky
Apr 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
So, I have really enjoyed Malfi's stuff so far, including Cradle Lake. The Native American bad juju angle was a nice touch in this story that added a creepiness factor to the overall story. While I enjoyed the story, I guess it was a little bit of a let down from the Passenger. I think the characterization in Passenger was much stronger than in Cradle Lake. I certainly liked the the protagonist (Allen) in this story, but despite Malfi's efforts to flesh out the wife (Heather) in this story, I st ...more
Kevin Lucia
Jun 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As usual, Ronald Malfi has served up the finely-tuned, flowing prose that's earned him such respect, creating heart-achingly human characters that seem all too real...especially when they travel down roads we know they shouldn't. And yet, we follow them all the way there, because Malfi has crafted a weakness there that we all know too well.
Naomi Blackburn
May 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read my full review:

My opinion: I love me some Ronald Malfi writing. This man can go creepy, creepy, creepy! When he ties things up with a nice red ribbon...that ribbon is blood red. Cradle Lake was no different. The second I saw this book even being advertised, I knew I had to have it. Lucky for me, my library gets RM books.

As to be expected, his writing was excellent in this book and the release of the story was slow and methodically that kept me guessing. Character devel
Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin
Wow! This was one creepy book.

Alan inherited a house in a rural area from an uncle he barely new. He thought it would be a nice do over for him and his wife Heather after two miscarriages and two attempted suicides.

They have a huge forest behind the old house and not too far out into the woods they have Cradle Lake. Don't want to add any spoilers so I'm just saying Alan witnessed a miracle from the lake. But this all comes with dire consequences. He is warned by the neighbors and a Native Amer
Glenn Rolfe
Another fun read from Ronald Malfi. This one is not as good as some of his previous works, but the man's gift as a storyteller is remarkable. I was hoping for something a little different at the end, but I was still satisfied.
I've come to expect greatness every time...and I know that's not fair, but Malfi has the ability to do it.
Feb 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First book I have read by this author and I loved it! It was creepy.
Jun 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! Super CREEEPY! One of the few books I really couldn't put down.
Jul 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: goodreads-2016
Good paranormal read. It was a very different twist on what I've read in the past. I was guessing threw the whole book. I was very surprised with the ending. A very refreshing read.
Jul 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author writes beautifully. His writing, even though horror, is comfort food. Just so many plot threads, that a couple get mixed up. Still, he has me hooked.
May 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star-books
What can I say, I love Ronald Malfi !!!
May 13, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I checked this book out from the library and never seemed to get to it. After rechecking it for two more three week periods, my time with the book was up. Finally, I turned the book back in and downloaded the e-book version. That is what helped me to get started on it and once I got to it, I got through it at a decent pace. What attracted me to the story was that it was a horror story with the main characters being a married couple whom had suffered miscarriages in their past. I thought it might ...more
Jackie Sonnenberg
This had a very strong Stephen King tone and mood...Everything from writing style to overall themes. It reminded me of Pet Sematary.

Kenneth Hursh
Urbanites Alan and Heather Hammerstun have endured two miscarriages and Heather’s near-fatal depression. When Alan’s late uncle leaves Alan a house in rural North Carolina, the Hammerstuns decide to move there and start anew. Near the house is a lake whose waters are, for some, miraculously healing, and for others, horrifically toxic. Alan and Heather test the waters.

His ulcer is cured and his tattoos fade. Her depression and the scars it left behind recede. And they end up expecting another chi
Tony-Paul Vissage
With the very first sentence, the reader’s immediately put on guard. This is a Ronald Malfi novel after all, so we know Alan’s inheritance of the old house in North Carolina isn’t just going to be a tale of a New Yorker adjusting to life in a small town. The story progresses swiftly with that feeling of dread raising to continuous anxiety as Alan learns about the murders and is warned away from the lake by Hank. Eventually there’s the question…how much is he imagining and how much is real? The a ...more
Starr Gardinier
Jun 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“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
Jul 12, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Once you start reading Malfi's book it's the characters that immediately draw you in. My curiosity and empathy for the characters were deeply evoked just by turning to the second page. Not many author has that talent. Not to mention his techniques on narration. it's like a spider web you probably wouldn't feel it at the beginning but By the time you do you already cocooned yourself to the creepiness, gruesome, horror of the book.

This story reminds me a combination of Pet Cemetery and The Shining
Del Herman
Drawing from the likes of Ira Levin and Stephen King and drawing upon some nightmarish scenarios, author Ronald Malfi does manage to create an interesting if not compelling horror tale. But interesting is pretty much all this book receives in terms of prestige. I feel it had the potential to be a great book, but the language was rather dull and a lot of the book's concepts are a bit ridiculous even for a horror novel in which the "suspension of disbelief" is necessary. Personally I just didn't g ...more
Randy Evans
This book had a good story line and was well written and the characters were view-able but the ending left me with a "well crap" feeling. I definitely didn't have that "I glad I read this" feeling. It's a story about a guy who along with his's troubled wife moves into a house which he inherits from his uncle which happens to be next to a lake with magic powers. Against the warnings from the towns people and a old Indian on a mountain top both of which tells him there is a "gave and take" in usin ...more
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Ronald Malfi is an award-winning author of many novels and novellas in the horror, mystery, and thriller categories from various publishers, including Little Girls, this summer’s 2015 release from Kensington.

In 2009, his crime drama, Shamrock Alley, won a Silver IPPY Award. In 2011, his ghost story/mystery novel, Floating Staircase, was a finalist for the Horror Writers Association Bram Stoker Awa
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“You can run away, but darkness has quick feet and large wings, and it will follow you...” 1 likes
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