Cover Image: Lakebed

Lakebed

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Member Reviews

Devoured this one in a couple of days!

Absolutely LOVED the setting. Making the mountains and cliffs of Utah totally spooky. I’ve always felt the crippling isolation in the mountains; but this just brought it home for me.

I’m also a sucker for “too good to be true” tales. And this was one of those! Everything lining up with the stars? Think twice! It’s not what it seems.

The main characters, Ryan and Kris, weren’t necessarily looking for something new. It just dropped in their laps and everything seemed to align to bring them to the Animal Sanctuary. The antagonist was a real explosive and dare I say, insane? was a good addition!

The book was fantastic and I’ll be reading more Utah horror from this author!
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Creepy story of a couple running the rat race in LA but are offered the opportunity of a life time to work at an animal rescue in an isolated area in Utah. If the offer seems too good to be true then it most likely is. Readers a bit squeamish about animal death might want to skip this one but I was able to breeze past those sections. The end fell apart for me but otherwise, this was a solid read.
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Animal Rescue: The Road To H3ll Is Paved With Good Intentions

This book was a mindbender. The prologue hit hard, afterwards tainting every moment the couple shared, no matter how ordinary, with a sense of dread. Expecting, but not knowing where and when the jump scares were going to appear had me holding my breath.

I couldn't help but root for Ryan and Kris. They were nice people and a nice couple. Chris Coppel endowed each with little quirks that humanized them and deepened their characters.

The dialogue was good and the world-building was even better. I could see the desolate beauty of the scenery without ever having been there. And I could similarly sense that there was something very wrong with everything about the place, the animals, and their coworkers. I even caught myself yelling warnings to Ryan and Kris, like "No!,"  "Stop!," and "What are you doing!?" As if I could save them...

I read a free advanced readers' copy of Lakebed, courtesy of the author, publisher, and NetGalley, but I don't owe them anything but thanks. My honest opinion is that this is a well-written and unusual book in the horror genre and I recommend it highly!
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Kris and Ryan are finding it difficult to live in Los Angeles.  When they receive a letter inviting them to an animal sanctuary in Utah, they decide to go.  It seems like a simple thing to do.  At a motel, they stay at, people appear to not be friendly.  Why?  When they arrive at the sanctuary, they are given a tour of the sanctuary.  They are invited to come and live their.  They are told that they will give them a house plus more in exchange for their work.  They go back to their home in Los Angeles and find themselves living next to a very loud neighbor, having band practices and loud parties.  Kris and Ryan complain but everyone that comes next door are as loud as the former people.  Kris and Ryan decide to go and live at the animal sanctuary.  It is understood that if they don’t like living there, they will go back to their home in Los Angeles.  What happens when they return to the animal sanctuary?  Are they happy living there?  

In this horror novel, the author writes about an experience that has twists and turns that are unexpected and at times shocking.  I actually found it extremely fascinating how Ryan and Kris cope with becoming vegetarians and other different aspects living an alternative lifestyle.  It’s a story that surprised me.  The ending was not what I expected.  It’s a horror novel that doesn’t have violence.  It wasn’t a novel that was boring.
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Umm...looking at all the other reviews I'm thinking maybe this book was just not for me. There's nothing I disliked about it, but also nothing that I'd jump up and down for. It was a very decent horror mystery with a fair amount of twists, turns, and shocks. But for some reason, I found myself struggling through it, I felt maybe it was a tad bit too long for this story or maybe it's because I consume thriller/horror for breakfast, lunch, and dinner lol. I guess I was expecting something more when I read the blurb. Positively recommended if you are new to this genre though. Oh and that cover is great, that's what grabbed my attention to start with :)

Thanks to Netgalley, author, and publisher for the eARC. All opinions are my own.
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Wonderfully atmospheric writing and a creepy story that kept my attention.  Loved the descriptions of nature and the sanctuary in Utah.  Pacing is a little slow to start but picks up nicely.
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Seriously, hand me any book that’s set out in the desert or just about any western national park and I will gladly hand you a 5-star review. I LOVED Chris Coppel’s novel Lakebed, and here’s why!

Okay, okay, so I’m a little biased. I live down south amongst the thick forests and swarms upon swarms of mosquitoes. And the humidity!! Don’t even get me started! But out west, it’s a dry heat. It’s flat. There are hardly any trees. It’s a stark contrast, like day and night. And the scenery is one that you will have to go see for yourself to truly understand its beauty. It’s stunning! When Coppel says “red rock”, he means it. Shades of orange and red and taupe that should only exist on some other planet. But it exists here, and it is so vividly described that even if you haven’t ventured to that neck of the woods, you will be transported there! 

I found the couple to be quite funny and charming, reminding me of my relationship with my husband. We tease and pick at each other and will rope outsiders in so that they can be part of the joke. Ryan and Kris were fantastically written and I loved to hear whatever sly comment one had to say to the other. They represented a healthy relationship and I loved to see it! Really, I thought all of the characters were well written and each fit their role quite nicely. Of course, we have some characters that are just horrible people through and through and some dialogue was tough to get through, but they added their piece to the overall story. 

I’ll admit, there were some elements in the ending that were a little on the cheesy side. I won’t say anything specific, but I think if you give this one a read, you’ll know exactly which part I’m talking about! I won’t dock any stars or parts of stars because of the silliness because that’s part of the reason why I found this book to be so charming, but some other readers may not like it! Overall, I thought the ending was really good! I’ve seen quite a few horror stories and so I figured this is where we would end up, but I didn’t think we would end up here in the way we did it. Consider me a Chris Coppel fan! 

Many thanks for the advance digital copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review!
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This book had potential, but it never went anywhere.  The reader is never really sure about what is going on, much like the husband and wife main characters.  There are a series of bizarre encounters and strange happenings and I was willing to go along for the ride.  But the ending makes no sense at all.  It's like the author couldn't figure out how to end the book so he went for the "they were dead the whole time!" ending, which makes no sense at all, especially when they also somehow managed to go back in time..  At the beginning of the story the main characters google the animal sanctuary and read all about it; if it had washed away in a flood years before they would have learned about it before the story got started.

Plus having American characters use British slang is ridiculous.
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This is a straightforward horror/thriller which tells the story in a pretty linear fashion although, towards the end, there is some discombobulation as you try to work out what is going on. This is a good thing. 

The first few chapters are a bit slow and tell rather than show, but as the story moves on, I did feel drawn in although the pacing wasn't particularly consistent. Coppel's vivid descriptions of the Utah wilderness are beautiful.
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The story was interesting in a B-movie sort of way, and there were definitely some creepy moments and imagery here and there--but the writing was mediocre at its best. It felt like nothing was really ever fleshed out, and the details that WERE included seemed sophomoric and unnecessary. The characters were flat (or completely nonsensical). If this is the author's first novel, it's a good start--maybe he will improve in the future!
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Maybe it’s just not my style, but I just cannot get into Coppel’s writing. It feels stilted and the beginning of the book feels completely different than the later half. Overall, just meh.
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There goes Chris Coppel, making Utah creepy once again. King has Maine, and Coppel has Utah. 
   This is my second read by the author, and it wasn’t chosen based on first impressions, because those, to be honest, were underwhelming.  Legacy had a kitchen sink of clichés approach and stupid characters to boot.  So this was more of a random second chance, easy enough given how short the book is.  And lo and behold, it worked. 
    This book had all the Legacy didn’t, from plot originality to reasonable characters. Kudos to the author for stepping up his game.
    So a nice LA couple gets a mysterious but most opportunely timed job offers to work in a fancy, albeit remote, animal sanctuary. There’s high salary, free place to live, good cause.  It’s a Marlon Brando of an offer, you can’t refuse it and they don’t.  They box up their lives and set off for Utah.  And soon enough, like most things too good to be true, this dream set up turns into a nightmare.  Although technically nightmares are a kind of dreams…
    But soon enough doesn’t quite cover the slow but steady escalation of creeping unease of the narrative, from an erratic psycho boss to erratic nature outside. In fact, the rattlers alone should have done the trick, but…people put up with a lot of crap for a paycheck.
    So this was fun. And not dumb fun either, but legitimately entertaining kind of fun. It featured likeable and charismatic characters and a properly  eerie atmosphere  to engage and disturb the readers in all the right ways that genre fiction does. It featured strategically placed light notes to balance out the overall darkness and a nice dual layer ending.  And it was paced just right. Much to enjoy, genre fans should definitely check this one out.  Recommended. Thanks Netgalley.
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“If you don’t adapt up here, the canyon will expel you.”

The best kind of horror is the bone chilling kind that wakes you up in the middle of the night so you can check the windows and doors…again. Chris Coppel delivers that and more in Lakebed.
  
The invitation comes when Ryan Cooper, an administrator at UCLA, and his wife Kris, a book editor who works from home, are ready to give up on LA. The noise, the traffic and problems with his job have left them frustrated and angry. So when they are invited to visit the For Paws animal sanctuary in a remote part of Utah, they accept. A lucrative job offer for Ryan with the bonus of part time work for Kris follows and within weeks they are living in a rent free home with magnificent views next to friendly neighbors. What comes next will have you turning pages at a breakneck pace, pausing only to check that nothing is behind you.

Lakebed is horror fiction at its best! The realistic setting pulls you in, the characters are well described and believable. A fast paced plot moves the story quickly to an exciting conclusion. I’m looking forward to a movie! 5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley, Publishing Push and Chris Coppel for this ARC.
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I really enjoyed this creepy and mind-bending story about a couple who move to a remote animal sanctuary only to discover they may be in danger. 

My hands got sweaty every time one of our main characters decided to be rebellious and blatantly disregard rules that were set in place, but never quite explained to them. Made for deliciously suspenseful horror. Bravo!
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