The modern city is often overlooked in horror fiction. It nearly always seems to be the suburbs or the countryside that harbours the worst monsters. But the city can be equally as terrifying – dark and predatory, filled with shadows even during daylight hours, alive with monstrous entities and a playground for the demons of our own minds. Maybe we don’t think of the city as a supernatural place because we’re too focused on the human evil that exists there but, as the stories in this excellent collection warn us, there is more going on beneath the surface of a city’s reality than we might suspect.
Dark Cities is a selection of all-new tales of urban terror written by some of literary horrors most illustrious names, including Ramsey Campbell, M.R. Carey, Tim Lebbon and Christopher Golden (who also edited the collection). Unlike many anthologies, there isn’t one entry in Dark Cities that lets the side down. Among the best of the bunch are the stylish opener “The Dogs” (which puts a cheeky canine spin on one-night stands and apartment living), “In Stone” (which may make you think twice if you enjoy wandering the city after dark), and “We’ll Always Have Paris” – probably the cleverest and most satisfying tale – which follows the hunt for a serial killer through a time-shifting metropolis that cannot be trusted. There are also a couple of great coming-of-age horrors (“The Society of the Monsterhood” is the best) and Golden’s own entry, “The Revelers”, is also a high point. Ramsey Campbell’s “The Stillness” is an intriguing proposition but horror die-hards will probably see the end coming from a mile away and, for those of us who don’t get out much (sound familiar, Starburst scribes?!), “Dear Diary” could be the antidote. In fact, even the very weakest story – about a thief of impossible things, hired to break into a house where time stands still – is well worth taking a look at. All-in-all, a pretty impressive smorgasbord.
But be warned: If you’re a city-dweller, don’t read these stories at night.
DARK CITIES / AUTHORS: VARIOUS / EDITED BY: CHRISTOPHER GOLDEN / PUBLISHER: TITAN BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW