Before I Wake

Before I Wake


Dust jacket illustration by Francois Vaillancourt.

About the Book:

Before I Wake is David Morrell’s third short-story collection and his first since the 2004 publication of Nightscape. It’s been a long wait between these volumes, but the wait has now ended in spectacular fashion. Before I Wake shows us Morrell at the top of his game. Each of the stories gathered here is a compelling, beautifully crafted gem. Each is the clear product of a world-class storyteller.

There are fourteen stories included here, and they encompass an impressive range of themes, settings, and approaches. Morrell, of course, has long been an acknowledged master of the authentic, edge-of-your-seat action thriller, and that aspect of his talent is on full display in such stories as “My Name Is Legion” and “The Interrogator.” But there are other types of stories here as well. Some, such as “Time Was” and “The Companions,” reflect the early influence of such seminal writers as Rod Serling and Ray Bradbury. An assortment of literary figures, among them J.D. Salinger (“The Architecture of Snow”), Arthur Conan Doyle (“The Spiritualist”), and Laura Ingalls Wilder (“They”) make vivid, often surprising appearances in this volume. And admirers of Morrell’s novels will find some unexpected treasures. Saul and Erika (The Brotherhood of the Rose and The League of Night and Fog) return in “The Abelard Sanction.” Cavanaugh (The Protector and The Naked Edge) is featured in a trio of protective-agent stories, beginning with “Blue Murder.” Finally, the notorious Thomas De Quincey, protagonist of three of Morrell’s greatest novels (Murder As a Fine Art and its companion Victorian mysteries) makes a most revealing confession in “The Opium-Eater.”

The stories alone are worth the price of admission, but Morrell also includes an introduction and fascinating, often highly personal story notes. Before I Wake is a thriller fan’s dream, a rich, resonant collection that reminds us, once again, of its author’s enduring—and unmistakable—importance. This is popular fiction as it should be written. It doesn’t get better than this. 

Limited:1500 signed numbered hardcover copies

From Publishers Weekly:

“One highlight is a prequel to his Thomas De Quincey trilogy, ‘The Opium-Eater,’ which presents the tragic and moving backstory to the writer’s addiction. ‘The Abelard Sanction,’ a coda to his Mortalis books, centers on the intriguing premise that intelligence operatives of any country can find refuge in safe houses established across the world where, ‘in extreme situations, any member of any agency would be guaranteed immunity from harm.’ …This is a perfect showcase for Morrell’s versatility.”

From Booklist:

“These 14 stories are representative of the breadth of Morrell's work, from eerie Twilight Zone–type tales through action and espionage fiction… Compelling reading for fans of genre fiction.”

From Kirkus Reviews:

“Morrell, who provides personal introductions to each of the stories, openly acknowledges the influences of such writers as Hemingway and Ray Bradbury… he is old-school in a good way in terms of his craftsmanship and his emphasis on story and character.”


Table of Contents:

  • Introduction
  • Time Was
  • The Architecture of Snow
  • My Name is Legion
  • The Interrogator
  • The Granite Kitchen
  • The Spiritualist
  • Vastation
  • Blue Murder
  • The Controller
  • The Attitude Adjuster
  • The Abelard Sanction
  • The Opium-Eater
  • They


François Vaillancourt
David Morrell
Deluxe Limited
376 pages
United States
Subterranean Press
Out of Print