Cover Image: Before I Wake

Before I Wake

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Member Reviews

I've been a fan of David Morrell since I first read The Brotherhood of the Rose over 20 years ago. He's smart, and talented, and knows his stuff. And he wrote an excellent book on the how-to's of writing.
This collection of short stories surprised me because of how many supernatural stories are here. Practically none of this novels feature this, so it's fun to see him explore something that obviously interests him in the "playful" setting of a short story.
Highlights for me included:
"The Architecture of Snow": A reclusive writer finds himself confronted by an old school editor--someone interested in his books as art, and not merely how they'll sell well.
"The Granite Kitchen": A terrific dim sum of a story about a realtor who's perhaps too real...
"The Companions": I won't spoil a thing.
"The Opium-Eater": A wonderful companion piece to his trilogy about Thomas de Quincey, the opium-addicted genius.
There's not a bad one in the bunch.
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Before I Wake is a departure from what I expected from David Morrell. Rather than a full length novel there are 14 short stories.  Unique to each is the author’s introduction telling why he wrote each one.  
There is something for everyone here.  It is difficult to give a rating to the entire collection as some were 5+ and others a 3.  
All in all well worth it. 
Thanks to Netgalley for an eArc for review purposes.
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The only writing I've read of David Morrell's previously was The Totem. This new collection of short stories was varied, enjoyable and entertaining. My favorite short story was The Opium Eater as it was unlike anything I've read since The Glass Book of the Dream Eaters by Gordon Dahlquist. This collection is highly recommended.
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BEFORE I WAKE is a collection of previously published short stories by David Morrell (he of Rambo fame).  Although the stories fall into various genres ranging from horror to action to historical, as well as a variety of topics they all contain the Morrell stamp and style and each is prefaced by an introduction explaining the circumstances that led to the germination of each tale.

The stories are compelling, clever and often dark and take the reader into seductive new situations and landscapes as they eagerly turned the pages, racing from one unusual story to the next.  

Morrell’s expertise and ingenuity as a storyteller is on full display in these tales.
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I'd never read anything of David Morrell's before this book, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Sometimes short stories are not the best way to be introduced to an author's work, as they can sometimes vary in quality. But this book is an exception, because every story is terrific. I also really enjoyed the introduction to each story. An excellent book that I highly recommend.
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I didn't realize this was a book of short stories, until I started it.  I love all of David Morrell's books, and enjoyed the stories.  There are 14 of them, and they are all good, and some are unexpected returns of some of his best characters!  Think I loved "The Interrogator" most, but it's really hard to choose.  So many good ones and I love Morrell even more now!  Highly recommend!
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I received an advance copy of this short story collection from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  

Great short stories by a modern master with extremely generous introductions that in some cases are as interesting as the stories themselves.

	Time Was
Would have made a very good Twilight Zone episode.  Give this one the Richard Matheson seal of approval.

	The Architecture of Snow
Explores the collision of art and the business of selling art—in this case literary fiction.  Perhaps this is why some literary lions choose to retreat to their dens and hide from fame and the public.

	The Companions
Interesting story.  I felt the location as much as the plot line.  This story has such a strong sense of place (perhaps because some of the events are real) that I was enjoying that almost as much as the interesting supernatural story.

	My Name is Legion
One of the best antiwar stories I have ever read.  What makes is so much worse (or better) is that it actually happened—which is very disturbing and demonic as the title suggests..  Morrell’s research uncovers a story most of us have never heard but should already know.  

	The Interrogator
Another antiwar story.  More about spies than war, but is there really a difference?  The story shows how once you cross a line of seeing other people as subjects or means to an end, there really isn’t anything or any way to bring you back.

	The Granite Kitchen
Written for Ellery Queen magazine.  Having been a fan of that magazine and that style of mystery story, this was a perfect addition to that collection.

	The Spiritualist
Arthur Conan Doyle is one of my favorite authors and I just ate this story up.  Not true, but should have happened.

Supernatural story about an author who emulates his literary idol to a dangerous degree.

	Blue Murder/The Controller/The Attitude Adjuster/The Abelard Sanction
These stories share common characters and dive deeply down into the “personal protect” (don’t say body guard) rabbit hole with a strict adherence to reality.  I emerged from them feeling that I got sense of what that profession is all about.  My favorite was The Attitude Adjuster because of how dark it was.  The descriptive intro is as good as the stories on these.  

	The Opium Eater
Explains the beginnings of De Quincey's addiction to opium. This tragic story is a nice companion piece to one of the best historical mystery series I have read. Murder As A Fine Art, Inspector of the Dead and Ruler of the Night are fast paced thrillers as well as thought provoking.  

Dark reimagining of the Little House on the Prairie books.  I  doubt I could read them now and not think of Morrell’s take on the whole Ingals family history.

Fantastic collection of stories.  5 stars.
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Before I Wake by David Morrell – 4 Stars

Publisher: Subterranean Press

ISBN: 9781596069121


There were fourteen short stories in this collection; all good with about eight a 4 Stars +. I particularly enjoyed the way the stories were introduced by the author. Each was prefaced with why it was written, the style, the authors that influenced him to write the story, and what you should probably take out of it. Also his use of real people as characters not only was interesting, but also provided somewhat of a biography of each. I received a good overview of authors and previous characters I never knew. I particularly liked “The Granite Kitchen” which is one of the shortest and was funny in its presentation, despite the sadness of events. Also “The Spiritualist” stood out, pitting Sherlock Holmes against his spiritualist author Conan Doyle in a basement encounter discussing why he now had to wear the deer skin hat, smoked a large, curved calabash pipe and was killed off by Doyle only to be “reused” in later books which he noted was really an imposter. Through the prefaces you also learned about the other books written by the author that were written similarly to the short story allowing you to explore your desire to read one of his novels.


Well written and worth the read.




Reviewer: Rich
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Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity to preview 

Listen young readers this is the creator of "Rambo" and yes the book is better than the movie.  I think I have read everyone of his books.  Short stories are  not my style but I am hoping along with all his other fans this is just the short prelude (3rd) to another super book.  Enjoy a master a work kids!!
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Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity to preview Before I wake by David Morrell.  Morrell's return to my favorite author list is welcomed.
I love some of his earlier work - Shimmer, Creepers.  This is a novel with short stories - some i liked and some not so much, but all in all, a fun way to pass the time without investing alot of "time".
3 stars.
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It is to be expected that an accomplished author such as Mr Morrell would handle any form of literary endevour with the same masterful touch as any other.  In this, Mr Morrell's third selection of short stories published, the truth of the matter is that he does.   The current volume contains fourteen stories ranging in themes from Science fiction to horror but all presented with a forward by Mr Morrell indicating a short background of what he did with the stories.  A few have characters from his novels as well as independent situations involving those individuals introduced elsewhere.
     A review of a volume such as "Before I Wake" presents the difficulty of trying to capture all of a book filled with different situations.  That part normally captured in a full length novel must merely include the comment that the author is the tried and true master of all his creations. I read all of the book in one sitting, liked most of the stories, some not so much, and did find that the experience is only different from the author's novels in that the situation presented must be done in a shorter time.  
     In the accepted rating system of stars - one or more up to five -I can't do anything else but give five stars because of the way the author has easily grabbed my attention and allowed me the pleasure of a wonderful reading experience.  Read the book, at the very least you will find one or probably many stories to become fascinated with.
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I have enjoyed David Morrell’s work for years but I believe this is the first time I have had the opportunity to read his short fiction.  This is an author who knows his form and grips his audience.

The same talent that makes Morrell’s novels captivating works well in these shorter fictions, and I enjoyed the author’s varied approaches.

If you have not read David Morrell, his work (including the book) comes with my recommendation.
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The third exceptional  collection from accomplished author David Morrell, this set includes introductory explications by the author for each entry. For me, these explicatory anecdotes significantly deepened my interest in and attention to the stories. I also appreciated the wide range included, from supernatural/spooky (very) to historical fiction to contemporary thriller.
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David Morrell is a vastly underrated gem in the literary world. I have loved all his books for their complexity, ingenious plots and downright weirdness. His talent is showcased in this treasury of short stories that run the range from creepy to odd to touching. A writer with tremendous range who continues to write original prose in a sea of cookie cutter authors
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