Reviews - What do customers think about The Dark Country?
A horror writer's writer! Feb 28, 2008
I'm short on time but I have to say: Dennis Etchison is a horror writer's horror writer! This is a fine, FINE collection of terrific writing in or out of the horror genre. Get it!
An Author Who Takes Chances Jul 4, 2005
If it only contained "The Dead Line," this anthology would still be worth five stars. That story is one of my top ten favorite horror shorts of all time. But there are plenty of other great offerings here, including "The Late Shift," and "Daughter of the Golden West." It's true that not every story works as well as "The Dead Line," but Etchison is a writer who is willing to take chances. He doesn't play it safe, and that means that every story is not likely to engage every reader. When the story does engage, however, it hits on all cylinders.
Charles Gramlich Author of Cold in the Light
My first book by Etchison Nov 28, 2003
This author has always baffled me!? I just don't understand what he is trying to do, does he write dark psychological horror with some sort of underlying deep message? if so he's not succeeding. I can't stand authors that write cloudy vague(here you figure it out) endings either. His books just aren't scary and I've read many since "The Dark Country" if you have insomnia read this book it put's me to sleep within 10 min. of picking it up, that's hard to do.
AN UNUSUAL COLLECTION OF MODERN-DAY HORROR TALES Oct 23, 2003
"The Dark Country" was Dennis Etchison's first collection of short stories, and originally appeared back in 1982. This reader picked up an out-of-print copy recently, after seeing that it had been included in Jones and Newman's excellent overview volume, "Horror: 100 Best Books." Well, I don't know if I would place it on MY personal top 100 list, but this book certainly is a unique collection of shuddery, gruesome little tales. Readers looking for horror stories depicting monsters, ghosts, demons and other manifestations of the supernatural would be best advised to look elsewhere; the only monsters in this volume are of the human kind, and the only demons are those found in the minds of the assorted oddball characters. These are all very much (post)modernistic stories, and there are no crumbling castles or Carpathian villages to be found. Some of the tales even take place in the not-too-distant future, and have a decidedly sci-fi overtone. Without exception, every story herein is a distinct little gem, but like gems, some of them are flawed. For me, these flaws take the form of either too much or not enough information. In some of these tales, such as "You Can Go Now," Etchison gives us loads of detail, and at the story's end, it all seemingly doesn't add up to very much. In others, such as "Today's Special," one feels that not enough has been supplied to fully "get" the story. Etchison is a very stylish writer--sometimes almost too stylish--and that flashy style often comes at the expense of clarity. Often, these stories must be reread in order to pick up on hints missed on the first go-round. Or perhaps one will feel compelled to reread lines, just to revel in the frequent beauty of the writing. Etchison certainly does have a handy way with a simile; for instance, when he writes "...the sky...was turning a soft, tropical orange of the kind one expects to see only on foreign postage stamps." Or when he writes "The river smelled like dead stars." Yes, the ol' boy certainly does know how to write descriptive and imaginative prose, and in MOST of the cases here, that prose is in the service of tales that do hit the reader squarely. One of my favorite tales in the collection is one of the most straightforward: "Daughter of the Golden West." It concerns a bunch of gals who are decidedly, um, man hungry. There is a loosely linked trilogy of tales concerning organ transplants (these are the tales that tend to sci-fi) that are also very well done. Other tales in the book will make readers never look at butcher shops, or salesmen, or clairvoyants, or oral sex, or laugh tracks, or late-night convenience store clerks in quite the same way ever again. For every head scratcher of a story in the book, there are two killers. So yes, the book is a mixed bag of sorts, but even the problematic tales hold one's interest and invite reexamination. After finishing these 16 morbid little stories, I was sorry to see the book end. Etchison's is certainly a unique voice in the horror field, and if other readers have a similar reaction to mine, they will feel compelled to read more of him. This is, as I mentioned up top, an unusual collection, and I do recommend it.
not a good country Apr 10, 2003
i must say: i really liked his writing style. so i hoped and hoped. but no. the stories here aren't much of stories. seem like confusion on paper. i'm afraid i must demand plots, ideas. i know i'm being unclear, but that's because the author is too. the way he carries out the story, you sometimes wonder what you are reading about