Black Evening Hardcover
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Although these stories are by and large very good...at least a head and shoulders above other anthologies of the like that I've had a chance to read, there's yet another point I want to make here, and I know, this point doesn't really encourage you, review reader to go out and get this book, I know, but I feel like I should tell you.
For those who weren't familiar, before reading this book, I should let you know now (even though Morrell will tell you this in the book himself) that in the late 80s, he suffered the tragic loss of his 15-year old son, Matthew, to bone cancer. (This story is told in David Morrell's book, Fireflies, available here.) The grief of this tragic loss is something that is present in virtually every story here. For people who don't like to be constantly hammered over the head with that theme, I guess this book isn't a good choice.
Now for why this book IS a good choice, I guess I could simply say it contains one of the best short stories I've ever read..."The Typewriter". "The Partnership", "But at my back I always hear", "The Storm", "For these and all my Sins", "Mumbo Jumbo", "Dead Image" and "Orange is for Anguish, Blue is for Insanity" It's quite a lot of stand-outs, but, yes, these are my personal picks. These are enough to make you want to buy the book, and buy the book, you should!
Most recent customer reviews
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. Read morePublished on Aug. 20 2001
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 morePublished on Oct. 26 2000 by Justin P. Hook
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 morePublished on April 20 2000 by MaryAnn Peck
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 morePublished on March 2 2000 by K. Moots
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 morePublished on Feb. 29 2000 by Bookman