At Home in the Dark, edited by Lawrence Block, is an eclectic and entertaining anthology with tales that are mostly criminal. (A Western and a horror and a dark fantasy are thrown in for good measure.) The stories are related less by content than by their dark undertones. “Nightbound” by Wallace Stroby is a single chase scene through New York City’s imposing nightscape. A bag of stolen cash is the thief’s prize, and, if she’s caught, her life is the price.
Duane Swierczynski’s “Giant’s Despair” is a brilliant and surprising working-class tale about love, loss, and what a grandfather will do to protect his family. Its climactic scene is a study in heightening reader tension without losing believability. “Night Rounds” by James Reasoner is a bleak Western that is both surprising and satisfying. Joyce Carol Oates, who is an institution of genius all by herself, contributes “The Flagellant,” featuring an impenitent man, or so it seems, serving life in prison for a crime even he is unable to understand.
At Home in the Dark also includes stories by Jim Fusilli, Elaine Kagan, Joe R. Lansdale, and a novella-length dark fantasy by Joe Hill.