David Morrell is best known for testosterone-fueled thrillers like Extreme Denial
and First Blood
(whose excellent movie version, reissued on DVD in 1999
, stars Sylvester Stallone as Rambo). But Morrell has also penned many frightfully scary short stories. In Black Evening
, he presents 16 of his favorites, each with a fascinating introduction explaining what provoked him to write it.
"The Dripping" (1971) came to the author in a dream that most would regard as a nightmare. In this eerie little number, a father faces his worst fear when his family goes missing. Morrell suffered his own family tragedy in January of 1987, when his son Matt was diagnosed with bone cancer. "Orange Is for Anguish, Blue for Insanity" (the Horror Writers Association's best novella of 1988) was written shortly before Matt's death. Writing about a mad painter kept Morrell sane: "The made-up horror was paradoxically providing a barrier from real-life horror." But after Matt's death, Morrell was besieged with panic attacks, and could do nothing but "stare at the ceiling" for three years. A harrowing story about lost children and a long buried family secret, "The Beautiful Uncut Hair of Graves" (another HWA award-winner) signified Morrell's return to short fiction. The title is taken from Walt Whitman's poem about death and children; John Rambo's name is a pun on Arthur Rimbaud. Morrell is a genre writer with a poet's soul.
And whether he's writing stories of subtle psychological terror or conjuring up scenarios of pure horror, Morrell never fails to scare the bejesus out of us. --Naomi Gesinger
--This text refers to the
Mass Market Paperback
From Publishers Weekly
Though best known for his high-action thrillers, Morrell has traveled many side roads in his long writing career--horror novels, westerns, even a highly personal account of his teenage son's losing battle with cancer. Now, he offers up a generally intriguing but uneven collection of 15 short stories written over a 20-year period ending in 1992. Many of the entries here are vintage Morrell, featuring dark themes, dark humor, bursts of action, a setting that's slightly askew and a main character driven by fear. "The Typewriter" tells of a writer's panic when his magic typewriter no longer turns out bestsellers. "At My Back I Always Hear" is a haunting account of a college professor (which Morrell once was) stalked by a student. The best of the stories showcase Morrell's ability to capture pure, hard-driving suspense, often culminating in unspeakable tragedy or bizarre discovery. These include "Orange Is for Anguish, Blue for Insanity" and "The Beautiful Uncut Hair of Graves." The weaker links among the entries are those with a decidedly creepy bent representative of Morrell's horror period. Among them are "The Dripping," Morrell's first published work; "Black Evening"; and "For These and All My Sins." Even the less successful stories, however, have a gripping quality--some twist or mood that drives the plot forward and locks a reader's attention. Morrell (The Brotherhood of the Rose) prefaces all the stories with personal anecdotes and other autobiographical reflections that place them in a meaningful context. In a foreword and afterword, Morrell talks about his career thus far.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.