What prowls the woods of Flathead Lake? A Campfire Nightmare ~ Review and Giveaway

Posted: May 26, 2016 in Blog Tour, giveaways, reviews, urban fantasy
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A Campfire Nightmare

Nightmare Series

Book One

Jeffrey Stagg


Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Stagg Literature, LLC

Date of Publication:  March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1517744441 ASIN: B01CRQKFZO

Number of pages: 344 Word Count: 117,824

My Review

When I was a youngster, I always wanted to go to summer camp. Never did get to go. After reading this tale, perhaps that’s a good thing.

Jimmy and Michael are best friends. They’ve always looked out for each other. In school they were the target of bullies. When they are given the opportunity to go to CAMP, Colman’s Amateur Music Program, they are so excited.

Located on the shores of Flathead Lake, the camp is quite isolated. After the boys settle into their cabin, it’s time for the meet and greet. It takes two shakes to see they’ll not be escaping the bullying. One of the rich kids soon has his little gang of entitled brats looking down their noses at the poor kids. Thus the bullying and harassment begins and camp becomes a nightmare.

At first, this story is mostly about the two friends, their troubles with the bullies and their enthusiasm for learning from some of their favorite famous musicians. It’s only after the director has all of the kids gathered around a campfire and tells them of the Flathead Native Americans and their legendary battle with monsters, that you get the first hint of the horrors to come.

There were two things I found implausible in this story. Had me questioning why the characters did what they did. I’d share them with you but they’re both spoilers. And perhaps it’s just me. This is a camp of young kids after all.

Once the strange noises and nightly visits from something in the woods start happening, it’s like the story starts steamrolling down the hill. One thing after another happens, and what the kids thought was a legend becomes real, and very frightening.

There’s a mythical element here that I really enjoyed. It was unexpected and helped clarify a few things for me. I thought something was a bit odd in the beginning and this cleared that up also.

I liked most of the characters too. They had depth. The ones I didn’t like, I don’t think I was supposed to. And how they all interacted felt genuine.

A scary good campfire story that all can enjoy. The creatures are scary enough to satisfy the more mature reader, while not too scary for the younger readers. It’ll have you looking into the deep dark woods and huddling closer to the fire. Did anyone bring the fixins for S’mores?

4 Stars



IN AGES PAST, the Flathead Native Americans fought a war against a monstrous force that stalks the woods surrounding Flathead Lake. So says William Rox, legendary musician and director of the prestigious Colman’s Amateur Music Program, known as CAMP.

Jimmy Downs is thrilled to be attending CAMP—or he would be, if he weren’t being bullied by campers who seem to think wealth can buy talent. Jimmy doesn’t have money, but he can drum like no one else. As for the bullies, at least his best friend, Michael Munday, is with him. The two have had each other’s backs all of their lives.

But bullies are about to become the least of Jimmy’s worries. Dark, hulking figures begin surrounding the woods around camp…figures that bear more than a passing resemblance to Rox’s campfire stories.

Jimmy and Michael are about to become players in a very old war—assuming they survive.


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The black-cloaked figure knelt by the lake, examining the muddy soil. A great northern storm had rolled through hours ago, but the air was still frigid. Waves crashed against the stony shore, waterdrops splashing up against his waterproof black covering.

His fingers traced along the print clearly pressed into the mud. It was a large paw print, something like the shape of a wolf’s but the size of a bear’s. He examined the mark on the ground and then moved to where he should have found the creature’s front paws, but not surprisingly, he instead found what appeared to be humanlike handprints, with long, triangular fingernails jutting out from the tip of each finger. The cloaked man placed his own right hand within the print, knowing that the muddy outline was easily twice the size of his own pale hand.

His left hand tightened around the shaft of his bow as he stood up.

Even though it was nearing one in the morning, his eyes clearly made out the many prints that had been made throughout this particular clearing.

He had warned the other guardian that something was going on.

“Why so many?” the man asked aloud as he pulled down the hood of his cloak. “There shouldn’t be this many here anymore.”

“What’s that?” a British man’s voice called from the darkness.

A flashlight’s beam bobbed through the trees, weaving back and forth until it fell upon the pale man’s form. The man lifted one of his hands to block his sensitive eyes from the somewhat dim beam. He indicated the soil in front of him that marked the passing of their quarries.

“A pack,” the pale man told his companion, moving the tip of his weapon to indicate how many individual creatures had passed through there. “You should keep the camp closed this year.”

“No,” the huge British man answered, snapping his response a little more testily than he had wanted. “It needs to be open. You know just as well as I do that we need to stay open.”

“Even at the risk of the lives of hundreds of people?”

His companion stepped forward and jammed a double-edged longsword into the ground as he examined the pathway. The flashlight was a head lamp, mounted with a pair of bands that wrapped around his head. As his head shifted from one set of prints to another, a feeling of anger began flooding into his soul.

“I need you to thin out this pack. You can shoot the sods from afar, and with that horse of yours, you’ll be able to stay ahead of them.”

“I can do that,” the pale man agreed, pulling his hood back up, still watching the back of the big man.

“There’s something going on this year that we don’t understand quite yet,” the British man told his friend, standing up and pulling the sword from the moistened ground. “Something feels different. It feels wrong…and right at the same time.”

“Maybe the legends are true, and the natives’ stories are coming to pass,” the archer suggested, beginning to stroll into a particularly dark portion of the forest, his fingers tightening on the dark wood of his bow as he disappeared into the night.

Finding himself alone, the swordsman stood and peered up into the sky at the bright round moon hanging in the air, twinkling stars engulfing the night. This was Big Sky Country, and it was true to its name. His eyes searched the heavens, hoping that an answer would reveal itself.

He let out a huff of hot breath, and the air clouded before his flashlight dimming the light slightly.

Shaking his head and turning to stare at the spot where his companion had disappeared, he whispered to himself, “I hope not. We’re not ready for them yet.”

As his words disappeared into the night like his breath, a clear rumbling sound thundered through the night on his left. Reaching down slowly, he drew his sword once more, its silver blade sparkling with the light of the moon.

“God above, keep me safe that I might be able to open the camp.”

The rocky growl turned into a mix of a scream and a roar as the furry eight-foot monstrosity leaped at the man, humanlike hands reaching out with razor claws. Swinging the sword out wide, the man pivoted to meet the demon in the darkness.

Author Jeffrey Stagg

Jeffrey Stagg

Jeffrey was born in Ogden, Utah in 1989.

Born to a podiatrist from Utah and a rancher’s daughter from Montana. Stagg was able travel throughout his childhood finding solace and inspiration in the wild.

His interest in nature has made Stagg realize that the melding of natural world with magic was where he could excel. To keep ideas alive, Stagg is an avid nature photographer, imagining book scenes wherever he travels.

While attending Weber State University, Stagg was able to work as an artisan cheese maker for the award winning Beehive Cheese Co. in Ogden, Utah. It was there that the details of A Campfire Nightmare came together. During the 5 years he was employed at Beehive, Stagg has created story lines for many series he is in the process of writing.

Now, Stagg works as an educator and works with students in reading and writing. Encouraging those around him to spend more time in books.

Stagg Literature / Goodreads / Facebook


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  1. Mary Preston says:

    Not much better than a scary campfire story.

  2. Oh I love scary campfire stories so I put this one on my wishlist. :)

  3. Hello Everyone!

    Laura, thank you so much for the honest and kind review. I appreciate the time you spent reading and thinking about it. I was waiting half the night to see what you had to say about it. If you have any questions or notes you’d like to share with me, I would love to hear them!

    If anyone has any questions or want to talk about anything, I’m more than happy to talk. But, of course, no spoilers. This little campfire story of mine has been a fun ordeal and I love talking about it.

    Take care!

    Jeffrey Stagg

    • fuonlyknew says:

      Hi Jeffrey. I had to remind myself these were teen boys, not men.LOL Then it all fit for me. I love the legend you wove into this. It really added to the suspense. And your characters feel so real. I hope you continue with this. I’ll be first in line! And thanks for commenting. Feel welcome to chat!

      • Haha Well, Thank you so much Laura!
        I have had many people ask me why people would make the decisions Jimmy, Michael and Kylee did and all I can say is “They’re teenagers”. When I was a teenager, my friends and I did horribly stupid things just because we thought we knew better or that nothing could hurt us. It’s a concept that most boys have at that age. Plus, teenage boys are hilarious when they interact with girls.

        I appreciate this opportunity! And I hope my books to come will keep you interested.

  4. kim hansen says:

    Nice review.

  5. steph y says:

    Do you think this YA appropriate? It sounds like something my daughter would like.

    • fuonlyknew says:

      Yes. It should be no problem for her to read it. The main characters are mostly teen boys and girls. Clean, no sex. Just some creepy critters appearing now and then.

    • Hey Steph y,

      I definitely would say it is appropriate. I had an 11 year old tell me she enjoyed it, even the creepy bits, and I know that there are some kids younger than that reading it. Though, I would say that any younger than 11 have a harder time with concept understanding and keeping things in mind through the entire book.

  6. Sandra Watts says:

    Sounds pretty cool. I like a good scary book.

    • fuonlyknew says:

      There are some scares, especially the last few chapters. I really like to Native American lore the author used. Made it kind of mystical.

  7. This sounds like a fantastic read!!

  8. I love when the ending grabs you and saves the book. Happy reading, Laura!
    sherry @ fundinmental

    • fuonlyknew says:

      It gets pretty intense. Not horrifying, just edge of your seat and a bit creepy. A good clean scary story:)

  9. diannekc says:

    This sounds like a very interesting read. Would like to read “A Campfire Nightmare”. Thanks for the giveaway.

    • fuonlyknew says:

      It was fun. There was a lot more going on than just the creature. I enjoyed the character dynamics.

  10. Deb P says:

    The book sounds interesting, thanks.

  11. Hey Laura! I really appreciate your great and honest review, I was wondering if you could be the first reviewer to do one for my goodreads.(it looks super sparse with no reviews on it.) Thank you for all you’ve done!

  12. Mindy Bel says:

    Thanks for the great giveaway!
    The book sounds amazing!