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Publisher's Summary

Etchison's fiction is justly famous for its creepy ambience, and explores the terrain mapped out by Philip K. Dick, Thomas Harris, and any number of black and white horror movies. This is his legendary first collection, carefully corrected by the author for this new edition. The title story won both the World Fantasy Award and the British Fantasy Award in 1982, the first time a single work received both major awards.

Contents include 16 groundbreaking stories and an introduction by Ramsey Campbell.

  • "It Only Comes Out at Night"
  • "Sitting in the Corner, Whimpering Quietly"
  • "The Walking Man"
  • "We Have All Been Here Before"
  • "Daughter of the Golden West"
  • "The Pitch"
  • "You Can Go Now"
  • "Today's Special"
  • "The Machine Demands a Sacrifice"
  • "Calling All Monsters"
  • "The Dead Line"
  • "The Late Shift"
  • "The Nighthawk"
  • "It Will Be Here Soon"
  • "Deathtracks"
  • "The Dark Country"

©2013 Dennis Etchison (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc., and Skyboat Media, Inc.

What listeners say about The Dark Country

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

So boring

I feel bad not giving it it’s full chance by not listening to the entire 7h but one hour in and I had to remove from library. Not gripping, at all, poorly read, and just plain dull, there’s so much better on audible. Just my opinion but I’d keep searching if I were you :/

16 people found this helpful

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I don’t understand the glowing reviews

While it is true that some of the story ideas were good, the author just doesn’t deliver. At times his attempts at being ostentatious completely miss the mark, it hid his repetitive use of the cliff hanger which really put me off. The problem with his use of the cliff hanger is that there seems to be a conclusion to make but the story does not sufficiently provide it. For example, if you mix two colors together, you get...

Furthermore, he ineptly uses similes and metaphors or other devices like personification. One example is something like “the radiator was filled with the bodies of suicidal insects”. In reality, an insect can’t rightly escape the path of a car traveling at 50+ mph. Perhaps the car is a serial killer?

Many authors write great stories without using these devices. Some write equally greatly using them. This author just comes across as pretentious, lazy and inept.

I for one am very glad of not purchasing this.

7 people found this helpful

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great stories

found all the stories great. listened to some of them twice. my only complaint is the man with the bass voice was hard for me to understand sometimes. being older, some tones are hard to understand clearly. bass being one of them.

6 people found this helpful

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Boring

Listen to the whole thing and found it rather bland and uninteresting. I feel like I didn't really understand the point of most of the stories and they left me with questions.

4 people found this helpful

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Totally worth the listen.

My only complaint is the overly long intro, another scary story could have been included.

3 people found this helpful

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Bait and switch author tag.

The stories were alright, but honestly, why is Ramsey Campbell tagged as the author of this book? It's misleading and need to be refiled under the the true author's name.

2 people found this helpful

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Interesting but odd

Look elsewhere if you are hoping for a good book. Some stories just end or seem unfinished

2 people found this helpful

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Too boring to finish

The narrator is so monotone and the story was so boring and confusing I couldn't bring myself to finish it. I've sat through some extremely boring books before but I just couldn't keep listening..

1 person found this helpful

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A Strange Collection of Strange Tales

The Dark Country collects sixteen short stories from Dennis Etchison's career, some particularly short, and all of them brimming with imagination. Unfortunately, many of the stories in this collection end without any conclusion, needlessly terminating in cliff-hangers that left me less than satisfied. The style of writing and the quality of the storytelling were both great. It was the lack of any real ending to many of the stories that limited my enjoyment at times.
In most cases, I take the time to provide some manner of synopsis for each story included in a collection like this, but I will instead focus on a few of the stories that stood out to me as being the best of those included. In all honesty, some of the more surreal and peculiar tales would be impossible to review without giving everything away.
It Only Comes Out At Night is an excellent way to kick off the collection, as we join a husband and wife on a road trip through the desert. A lonely rest area is transformed into a sinister and horrific place where unknown threats lurk and unwary travelers might never leave. Etchison captures the eeriness and isolation of late-night travel on empty stretches of highway, as well as the almost sinister ambiance of those out-of-the-way oases we find ourselves stopping at against our better judgment. Whether it's because we're exhausted, we require fuel, or we're desperately in need of a restroom, long-distance travel has forced all of us to stop at one of those rest areas or convenience stores arising seemingly from nothing as they appear in the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately for the couple at the center of Etchison's tale, this rest area might live up to those nightmare scenarios we imagine.
The cruel and monstrous twist awaiting readers at the end of The Pitch is both darkly comedic and altogether too plausible. A random gentleman offers to perform the sales pitch for a variety of kitchen gadgets in a shopping center, displaying the ease with which any slicing and dicing needs might be completed, with a special focus on the safety mechanisms. Buyer beware. Always check your purchases before use.
The Late Shift builds an atmosphere of mystery and confusion as two young men stop at an all-night convenience store where they swear they recognize the attendant behind the counter. Something isn't right, and their attempts to uncover the truth might just provide an unsettling first-hand understanding of why overnight workers seem a little unusual.
Finally, the collection closes with The Dark Country, a story of a Mexican vacation and horrible mistakes made in response to a series of thefts. This final story showcases both the inherent bigotry of the Americans and the in-group vs. out-group thinking that emerges within the collected tourists as they begin perceiving the locals as predatory outsiders.
The various narrators brought different qualities to light within the stories they performed. It seems as if some thought went into the distribution of stories, to pair each tale with the voice best suited for the narrative in question.

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Story good... Book bad

To put it shortly I must have misunderstood the extent at which this title would focus on a dystopian ideal of what medical death could be like..... more than a horror story or rather less than; this collection-cum novel (i say based on its continuity of theme) cannot seem to get beyond the fact and further the ideal of a negative impact to post death donation. Flesh peddling in the age of DNR to this Johnny One Note creation seems to have an interest in brainwashing everybody into believing there is absolute zero value in post-death Exploration which is in fact the evolution of most Medical Science to this date; even some of the horrific trials which were regrettable; by painting an image that no one can die and donate them selves or even their cells without coming under some horrific fate. Said fates, coincidentally in a great many of these stories, seem to rely very heavily on the trope / ideal of Johnny got his gun, the One video by Metallica, and many other Twilight Zone / Creepshow type tropes of the very outdated post death autopsy mythos.....

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  • Sheridan Le Fanu
  • 10-02-21

Some real gems

Very surprised I had never heard of Dennis Etichson before as there are some truly brilliant and terrifying stories in this collection. He is compared to Stephen King in the forward and there is no question that his best stuff is equal to King. His style is uniquely descriptive and perhaps not quite as accessible as Kings work. Some of the stories I didn't quite get: if you miss an important word the meaning can be lost. I wasn't blown away by the organ transplant series - he seems to have a fixation on this and wrote three stories on the topic. The best one is "it only comes out at night". Definitely a worthwhile listen.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Julia
  • 09-28-21

de Cuir is great but that's about all.

Had to skip large portions towards the end as Etchison's writing is too contrived for its own good. Narration fine.

1 person found this helpful

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  • English Teacher
  • 02-11-22

Better on Paper?

Well written and well read, but not written to be read aloud. Better in print, perhaps.

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  • Where?
  • 11-04-21

Skip the Female Narrations

This isn't horror and the stories range from obscure to weird and plain old mundane boring. My favorite narrator was the guy with a really deep voice. The author's narrating style was just OK with a strange staccato meter and occasional annoying hysterics. I ended up skipping the last story narrated by the female because it was getting on my nerves.