•‘s Anne Nickoloff included Mistakes by the Lake in her roundup of books by Cleveland authors released in 2020: “Cleveland history fanatics will enjoy Brian Petkash’s collection of stories…. The 10 fictional tales mark different points in Cleveland history, highlighting the 1954 World Series, the 1960s Cuyahoga River fire and the city’s 1920s trolley systems.” This list was also featured in The Plain Dealer:
  • Sarasota Magazine‘s Cooper Levey-Baker (and good friend of mine) wrote about Mistakes by the Lake in What We’re Reading Right Now: “Petkash’s tales are often grim, but humor worms its way in, as well, tying together stories of loss and longing from many different epochs. Recommended for dedicated Clevelanders, the Cuyahoga-curious or just anyone who enjoys sharp prose.”
  • Writer Ander Monson gives a nice shout-out in this interview with Ann Arbor District Library’s Pulp: “I’m pumped up about a forthcoming book … called Mistakes by the Lake. A dark—gothic, really—tour of loss in Cleveland.”


  • “Petkash’s work ultimately provides an inventive, nuanced review of Cleveland’s history…. The city serves as a backdrop for ordinary citizens, the kind who work in stockyards and at depressing pizza joints. In this way, Petkash echoes a Drew Carey quotation that he chose as one of his epitaphs [sic]: “I love the normalcy of Cleveland,” Carey said. “There’s regular people there.” … Petkash’s passion for the city, its people, its sports teams, and its history is clear on every page. He knows the streets and the alleys and the pizza joints. He knows Carey’s “regular” people and brings them to life with deft language and ambitious stories.” —Charles Ellenbogen, Cleveland Review of Books
  • “The stories [in Mistakes by the Lake] offer a glimpse of lives that we didn’t notice, or that we saw but chose to look away from…. [Petkash’s] compassion comes through in his sparkling prose and riveting imagery. You know that for once these people are seen.” —Jen McConnell, The Main Street Rag
  • “At times I needed to set the book aside until I felt strong enough to pick it back up again.  And I did want to pick it back up as the book is compelling.” —Jennie Reads (Book Blogger)
  • “There’s loads of history in this cleverly written collection.” —Lori’s Book Loft (Book Blogger)
  • “A very beautiful and authentic collection of stories.” —Moonflower (Book Blogger)
  • “With a gorgeous cover, this book is for you if you can bear wonderfully written, sad stories.” —book.amour (Book Blogger)
  • As a finalist for The Novella Award, Mistakes by the Lake garnered this review from Vulpes Libris.


  • Award-Winning Finalist in Fiction: Short Story category of the 2022 American Fiction Awards (Mistakes by the Lake [Collection])
  • Award-Winning Finalist in Fiction: Short Story category of the 2021 International Book Awards (Mistakes by the Lake [Collection])
  • Finalist: Southeast Missouri State University’s 2018 Nilsen Prize (Mistakes by the Lake [Collection])
  • Honorable Mention: Glimmer Train‘s Family Matters Contest (“Dispossessed”)
  • Shortlisted: The Novella Award (2015), a collaboration between Liverpool John Moores University, Sandstone Press, Time to Read, and NAWE (Mistakes by the Lake)