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Black Evening [Hardcover]

David Morrell
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 7 1999
A presentation of a career-spanning examination into the author's own life, this collection includes both his first published short stories and his latest award-winning stories.

Product Details


Product Description

From Amazon

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 edition.

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.

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Morrell is a master of the horror novella. Dec 5 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Although his novels often include horrific elements, David Morrell rarely deals with the supernatural and macabre in his longer works. Rather, he explores those topics in his shorter work, such as those gathered in his 1999 collection BLACK EVENING. These well-crafted tales, written between 1971 and 1992, are ample credentials for recognizing Morrell's status among the modern masters of horror.
The stories selected for inclusion are presented in order of composition. In Morrell's words, they "wear their age well." "Tales of dark suspense," he continues, "their approach is different from that of my international thrillers. You won't find spies and round-the-globe intrigue here. What you will find are the stark emotions behind that intrigue: fear and trembling."
Fear does indeed lurk at the heart of these stories, and in many
permutations. This may be fear for the safety of your loved ones ("The Dripping"), fear of being exposed as a fraud ("The Typewriter"), or the fear of being caught up in someone else's delusions ("But at My Back I Always Hear You"). Each successive story peers deeper into the dark, revealing just how close at hand it really is. Whether he is writing about an apocalyptic thunderstorm, a high school football team that owes its
success to an idol, or a town paralyzed with fear over the presence of a serial killer, Morrell writes with an edge of the seat immediacy, an urgency that communicates his characters' fears directly to his readers.
How good are these stories? Consider this: the majority found homes in the premier anthologies of the eighties and nineties, including WHISPERS, SHADOWS, NIGHT VISIONS, PRIME EVIL, and DARK AT HEART.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Black Evening Aug. 27 2003
By M.R.B.
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Am not a fan of short stories, but these were very good.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond Excellent! Aug. 20 2001
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I am new to David Morrell's works, but that will soon be remedied, after I listened to the unabridged version of his short stories.
Not only are the stories EXCELLENT, but I imensely enjoyed the author's commentary before and after each one.
And he makes his points, plots and story lines, with little vulgarity, which is becoming much too common in the latest Stephen King works.
Kudos and I will be hearing more.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Finally in one volume May 19 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
There have been several times that I have bought an anthology like "Prime Evil" so that I could read an otherwise unreleased Stephen King or Clive Barker story, and ended up being blown away by the stories of David Morrell. Finally, K-Tel-like, everyone can enjoy these powerful, imaginative stories without having to buy a dozen other books.
While this collection does not contain all of Morrell's short fiction, it does contain all that I had read in other anthologies, most notably the powerhouse novella "Orance is for Anguish, Blue for Insanity," one of my all-time pieces of fiction, short or otherwise. I am a fan of author notes in collections, and Morrell doesn't disappoint. While he doesn't expound the way that, say, Harlan Ellison does, there are short notes before each store in addition to a Foreword and Afterword, and these add a texture to the book that I think makes your first read more enjoyable and increases the re-readability. Plus if you've already read a couple of these in anthologies it is nice to see the author's perspective instead of the anthology editor's perspective before the stories.
I read this during a particularly hot summer week and found it to be perfect for this setting...the stories are engrossing enough that I forgot about the heat, and a few times I caught a genuine bit of a chill! Anyone who enjoys dark stories or speculative fiction should give this great book a read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Horror Fiction Lifted to the Level of Fine Art Jan. 12 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Ordinarily I am not a huge fan of horror stories, but I can honestly say that Black Evening is frightfully fantastic. This spine-tingling collection of sixteen tales explores the dark side of greed, power, and madness. Morrell is able to pack a lot of punches and twists into his short (but not so sweet) stories. Moreover, his writing expresses his compassion and intelligence like that of an accomplished literary great.
An added bonus to this book is the foreward at the beginning of each story. Morrell discusses his development as a writer and shares with the reader his personal tales of triumph and tragedy: from his meeting with his idol, writer Stirling Silliphant, to the death of his teenage son to bone cancer. Each story seems to be weaved around an event that touched Morrell's life. This authenticity makes for a more eerie read. For example, "But at My Back I always Hear," is about a professor who is stalked by a female student infatuated with him. Morrell himself faced this dilemma while teaching at the University of Iowa. Other scary topics covered include an art historian who follows his subjects' break with reality and ultimate demise; an amateur writer who becomes a best-selling novelist with the help of a ghostly typewriter; and a high school football team that is victorious because the coach is dabbling in witchcraft and produces an evil good luck mascot.
Two of the stories in Black Evening won Best Novella, Horror Writers of America Award. One story was a nominee for this same award and one other story was a finalist for the World Fantasy Award. Morrell stated that the first piece of advice he received as a young writer was to write about what he feared most. Obviously he took that advice to heart and left us with some chilling entertainment.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars the most incredible collection i've ever read...
never in my life have i been so captivated by a short story then when i read "Orange is for anguish, Blue is for insanity", the other stories included are tremendous as... Read more
Published on Oct. 27 2000 by Justin P. Hook
4.0 out of 5 stars I can't summarize this in one line...
"Black Evening" is sheer evidence of Morrell, a very talented storyteller at work. He keeps the prose going. Read more
Published on May 31 2000 by Edward Gordon Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this Book!
I am a horror story lover...not usually in the short story format. But I REALLY ENJOYED this book. Every story was good with the very enjoyable "twisted-weird" story... Read more
Published on April 20 2000 by MaryAnn Peck
5.0 out of 5 stars A good chance to look into the evolution of a great writer.
This collection of short stories is a great chance to get into the mindset of a wonderful writer! I first met David Morrell's writing in "First Blood", moved on to... Read more
Published on March 2 2000 by K. Moots
5.0 out of 5 stars A mean trick from Morrell
the seductive part of his talent is that he makes writing seem easy...when anyone who has tried to write, knows it is not! Read more
Published on March 1 2000 by Bookman
5.0 out of 5 stars Great stories, vintage Morrell!
I just read a few of the stories in "Black Evening" and had a lot of scary delights. David Morrell is great when it comes to suspense and thrillers and now, horror. Read more
Published on Feb. 6 2000 by Zes
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