by Terry Dowling
Winner of the 2007 International Horror Guild Award for Best Collection
First Australian publication
It’s Dark in Here…
Not just with the absence of light, but with things made for the dark, that work best when the wind is in the trees and the sun has gone from the sky.
There’s a carnival, of course – and such a one! – and a six-sided mirror room on a rainy evening. There’s a model of a ship made from bone, a hotel room with the hint of a clown’s face on the wall, a gun that grows its own bullets (you know they do!).
There’s a train, too, that train, called up by a harmless holiday prank. There’s the ultimate maze, a dream of blind gladiators, a truly unforgettable cabinet of wonders. Here you’ll find the most deadly tomb of all and, yes, revealed at last – the truth behind what ghosts really are! All waiting among these bits of darkling shimmer, in this sharp narrow place, this careful trap.
A trap? You see how it is. This is your next step on the lonely road. The next wrong door you open. The next game you play on the midnight board, with forgotten rules and the sharpest of pieces. How it’s to be done this time: with eighteen stories by one of the very best dark fantasy writers we have.
* The Daemon Street Ghost-Trap
* The Bullet That Grows in the Gun
* The Gully
* The Bone Ship
* Beckoning Nightframe
* La Profonde
* The Saltimbanques
* They Found The Angry Moon
* The Ichneumon and the Dormeuse
* The Quiet Redemption of Andy the House
* The Maze Man
* One Thing About the Night
* Jenny Come to Play
* Cheat Light
* Scaring the Train
“One of the best recent collections of contemporary horror.” – Carl Hays, American Library Assocation
“The everyday and ordinary show an unexpected malignant side in this collection of 18 uniquely disturbing tales of the fantastic. Dowling grounds his tales in mundane situations, then pulls back slowly to reveal (as the narrator of “Scaring the Train” calls them) “those moments of incidental framing reality where every commonplace surprises you.” In “Cheat Light,” a roll of film left in a pawnshop camera reveals images of an otherworldly origin. “Clownette” tells of a peculiar blotch on a hotel wall that proves to be something much worse than the harmless mildew stain it’s mistaken for. “Maze Man,” whose protagonist is trapped in an invisible maze that only he cannot penetrate, is one of several stories in which architecture motifs suggest alternate realities encroaching on our own. This selection of stories new and old makes for one of the year’s more satisfying dark fantasy reads.” – Publishers Weekly starred review