Acclaimed author David Morrell (First Blood, Creepers) is praised for his riveting short fiction as much as he is for his best-selling thrillers. His stories appeared in many Year’s Best anthologies and received prestigious awards. In his second collection, Morrell leads you through an adrenaline-charged Nightscape of serial killers, third world revolutionaries, a policeman stalking a murderous cult, a son obsessed by his cryogenically frozen father, a psychology professor forced to suffer intense confinement, and a doctor combating an epidemic that he fears will destroy the world. Complete with autobiographical introductions in which Morrell links the stories to painful incidents in his life, Nightscape includes a mini-novel, “Rio Grande Gothic,” set in Morrell’s home of picturesque Santa Fe, New Mexico, where mysterious shoes appear day-after-day in the middle of a road. Soon it becomes shockingly evident that the shoes are the aftermath of ritual murders. Morrell received the 2009 Thriller Master Award from the International Thriller Writers organization.
“Best known as the author of numerous thrillers, Morrell (The Protector) also has a reputation for crafting sophisticated short horror and science fiction. This solid collection presents a sampling of his work in both genres. The two standouts are “If I Should Die Before I Wake,” a harrowing account of a small-town doctor facing the influenza epidemic of 1918, and “Rio Grande Gothic,” a novella about a Santa Fe police officer who becomes obsessed with the shoes someone is repeatedly leaving on the highway. His fellow officers consider him eccentric until one pair turns up with feet still in them. Also strong [is} “Nothing Will Hurt You,” in which the father of a girl murdered by a serial killer becomes obsessed with bringing the monster to justice. Morrell’s stories tend to combine clean, understated prose and a shocking surprise at the end. Of particular interest are the general introduction and introductory notes to each story, in which the author ties his fiction to sometimes painful events in his own life.”
“Morrell, an absolute master of the thriller, plays by his own rules and leaves you dazzled.”
—Dean Koontz, New York Times bestselling author of Odd Thomas.
“David Morrell is, to me, the finest thriller writer living today, bar none.”
—Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author of The Jefferson Key
Between novels, I write short stories. They’re a wonderful way to experiment with new techniques. Also, they give me a chance to explore subjects that aren’t big enough for 500 pages in a novel. While most of my novels are high-action thrillers, a few (The Totem, Long Lost, Creepers, Scavenger, and The Shimmer) have dark suspense elements that put them in the horror category. Don’t think of vampires and haunted castles. The horror I’m talking about is psychological. In Nightscape, my second collection of stories (after Black Evening), some of the stories are almost short novels. One of them, “Front Man,” comes out of my friendship with the wonderful TV and film writer, Stirling Silliphant (Route 66, Naked City, In the Heat of the Night), who made me want to be a writer. (There’s an essay about him and Route 66 on the BIO page of this website.) In his later years, Stirling became a victim of ageism in Hollywood. Producers started feeling that he was too old to appeal to teenagers, whose tastes are important in the film business. In “Front Man,” an aging writer hires a young man to pretend that he wrote the elderly writer’s scripts. Suddenly, the scripts are in great demand, although nothing has changed except the name on them. This biting analysis of Hollywood deals with the tense-to-the-point-of-violence relationship between the fake writer and the true one. Based also on my own West Coast adventures, the story has lots of insider information.