The Pale White: Chad Lutzke
Reviewed By Steve Stred
- Publisher: Crystal Lake Publishing
- Publication Date: September 27, 2019
“It’s been dark for an hour and I’m the first one up.”
I’m going to jump straight to the elephant in the room, so that I can address it and get on with it.
I was a bit nervous reviewing the new Lutzke. My last review of his work; “Same Deep Water As You,” ended up being picked apart and misconstrued by another reviewer. I recognized my review and spoke up about it. We worked together to patch things up regarding what happened, but I still went into this worried about the outcome at the end of everything.
This is my third Lutzke. I enjoyed ‘Out Behind the Barn,’ with John Boden and didn’t mind ‘Same Deep Water As You.’ As I said back then, I just felt ‘Same Deep…’ wasn’t a horror story and it threw me for a loop expecting that.
I approached ‘The Pale White’ as I have with all of Chad’s stuff – I didn’t read the synopsis, but still expected high levels of emotions delivered with excellent writing. Double-check.
The story follows three young, imprisoned prostitutes, held against their will and forced to do horrendous acts that the clients have paid for.
As the story unravels, Lutzke gives us some back story and makes sure to have the reader continuously get emotional. These girls have not ever had anything easy. They’ve lived brutal, awful lives and when a sliver of hope emerges, they pounce. It’s here that Lutzke delivers some Grade A+ gore. From there we get into an absolutely emotional devastating ending. I’m going to try and remain completely spoiler-free, but wow. Sob fest.
It’s interesting for me to see that the older I get, the more emotionally connected I become to stories that feature any part of the book set in the Pacific Northwest. Having grown up in British Columbia, Canada, we always considered ourselves the “upper” Pacific Northwest. Recently The Homecoming by Andrew Pyper, Dead Aware by Eleanor Merry and now The Pale White all feature prominent portions set in the PNW and it seems to connect with something deeper within this reader.
This would have been a one-sitting read if I didn’t have six other books on the go, which works really well with how Chad paces this book. Quick, short bursts of story really ramp everything up in the best ways possible.
I said it back then and I’m saying it again; Lutzke is having a phenomenal indie author moment. Seeing the TOC’s he’s appearing on and the company he keeps continues to drive me as a writer. Between Lutzke and Kealan Patrick Burke, they’ve ensured that DIY as an indie author is possible and something to strive for and be proud.
The Pale White
After being held against their will in a house used for trafficking, three girls plan their escape.
Alex: A hardened goth-punk who’s convinced she’s a vampire with a penchant for blood.
Stacia: A seventeen-year-old raised by an alcoholic mother, her fellow captives the only family she’s ever truly had.
Kammie: The youngest of the three—a mute who finds solace in a houseplant.
But does life outside the house offer the freedom they’d envisioned? Or is it too late, the scars too deep?
A coming-of-age tale of revenge and survival that explores a friendship and the desperate measures taken to ensure they stay united, held together by the scars that bind them.
Steve Stred writes dark, bleak horror fiction.
Steve is the author of the novels Invisible & The Stranger, the novellas The Girl Who Hid in the Trees, Wagon Buddy, Yuri and Jane: the 816 Chronicles and two collections of short stories; Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery and Left Hand Path: 13 More Tales of Black Magick, and the dark poetry collection Dim the Sun.
On September 1st, 2019 his second collection of dark poetry and drabbles called The Night Crawls In will arrive. This release was specifically created to help fund the 1st Annual LOHF Writers Grant.
Steve is also a voracious reader, reviewing everything he reads and submitting the majority of his reviews to be featured on Kendall Reviews.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog OJ.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
You can visit Steve’s Official website here