By Chad Lutzke, John Boden and Robert Ford

Published by Crystal Lake Publishing, August 23, 2022

Review by The Horror Zine Staff Reviewer Heather Miller

Buy the book HERE


Wounds to Wishes is the first volume in Crystal Lake Publishing’s new Dark Tide series. The volume contains three short stories by indie horror legends Chad Lutzke, Robert Ford, and John Boden.

The theme of this collection is the horror of grief and loss, and the stories reflect this theme in entirely unique yet equally heartbreaking ways.

The collection starts with Chad Lutzke’s piece, “The Strangest Twist Upon Her Lips”, which tells the story of a man whose fiancé has just committed suicide. Caught up in the throes of his grief, the main character begins making his way through a bizarre bucket list of experiences he and his lover had planned to tackle together.

Next up is Robert Ford’s “My Only Sunshine”, the tale of a mother desperate to see her murdered daughter one last time. The mother finds herself accepting help from a strange man who not only gives her the chance to say good-bye, but also to find her daughter’s killer.

Last in the book is John Boden’s “Suet”, a farmland folk-horror which centers around a middle-aged man returning to his grandparents’ farm after his grandfather’s death. What he finds in the old man’s journals will shock and horrify him, and that horror will latch on and never let him go.

The three stories are loosely interconnected.  A brief moment – an item, a location – from one will make its way into the next. The connection between the first two stories was obvious, the one between the last two requires a little closer attention. 

Each of these stories deals with the loss of a loved one but also with the loss of self-identity in the main characters as they struggle to figure out just exactly what life is without this important person.  All of the stories are expertly written, incorporating elements of thrillers, folk horror, and grief horror, with an overarching feel of psychological dread and panic. Darkness and desperation fill the pages as the characters fall further into the black holes of their own searches for answers.

Altogether, these three stories make up an excellent collection that you will not want to put down until you’ve read the final page.