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Dark Cities

3.28  ·  Rating details ·  297 ratings  ·  68 reviews
An anthology of horror stories in urban settings—whether back alleys, crumbling brownstones, gleaming high-rise towers, or city hall. Terrifying urban myths, malicious ghosts, cursed architecture, malignant city deities, personal demons (in business or relationships) twisted into something worse…virtually anything that inspires the contributors to imagine some bit of urban ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published May 16th 2017 by Titan
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Average rating 3.28  · 
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 ·  297 ratings  ·  68 reviews

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May 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
(I freely admit to some bias as my story "The Society of the Monsterhood" is in this anthology)

Very cool collection of horror/dark fiction set in cities. Nathan Ballingrud's story "The Maw" kicked my ass, dragged me out into the city square, and then kicked my ass some more. Ow.
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a solid anthology that starts off with one of the most WTH stories I've ever read, and ends with a disturbing tale about tough love and fatherhood.

I picked up this collection because it's absolutely chock full of some of my favorite horror writers. That being said, it's no surprise that the standouts for me come from those writers. I loved We'll Always Have Paris by M.R. Carey, a story that took me completely by surprise. Sanctuary by Kealan Patrick Burke is exactly the kind of story I
The Grim Reader
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Christopher Golden has assembled some A-grade writers for this anthology of speculative tales that sees horrors lurking deep within the city streets. I do like a themed anthology, and when authors such as Tim Lebbon, Jonathan Maberry, Joe R. Lansdale Kealan Patrick Burke and Seanan McGuire are included, it’s safe to say that I’m keen to explore the dark places their characters inhabit . I jumped around a little with this anthology, reading stories in a completely random order. I Don’t know why I ...more
Aly is so frigging bored
I only read Sherrilyn Kenyon's story, and it freaked me out.
Feb 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories, horror
Original dark shorts about cities, supposedly, running the gamut from straight horror through weird fiction to urban fantasy. Some clunkers, but also a good number of solid creepy entries from the usual heavy hitters. A disappointing number were just stories that happened to take place in a city, rather than centering the cityscape or urban crowds or terroir or whatever. I know psychogeography has become a joke but this was the perfect opportunity to explore it in a meaningfully weird way!

Jun 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes I read anthologies from front to back, first to last as they appear. Other times I skip around, picking out the authors I know I like and then going back to pick up the ones that are new to me or that I haven't been overly impressed with previously. Luckily, this time I indulged in the cherry-picking peripatetic style, reading the stories by Maberry and McGuire, Burke and Benson, Green and Golden (sometimes alliteration happens, what can you do?), Lebbon and Lansdale & Landsdale, ...more
Alex Can Read
Jul 12, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
TW: bestiality, rape

I have to seriously question the thought process of Christopher Golden in choosing to put The Dogs as the first story in this anthology. I question why it was even included in the anthology, but if it were to be included, it should not have been the first story. Yes, this is a horror anthology, but that story alone made me put the book down and walk away. It took me over a week to talk myself into picking it up again to skip to the short stories from authors I already know I
Aug 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Christopher Golden has assembled an absolutely stellar cast of authors for this anthology, and the combination does not disappoint.

The stories run the gamut, from a rather unsettling look at the lives of dogs of the city, to eldritch horrors slowly warping their surroundings, to an absolutely brilliant - and hilarious - look behind the writing scenes from Sherrilyn Kenyon.

Grit, by Jonathan Maberry, was a surprise and I want much more from that universe please! And The Maw, from relative newcomer
Alan Baxter
This anthology plays with a great theme and has some cracking stories in it. Not all of them worked for me, a couple of real misses, though taste is arbitrary, of course. But the good ones are outstanding and make the cover price worthwhile. Standouts for me included stories by Nathan Ballingrud, Cherie Priest, Paul Tremblay and Christopher Golden. I'm always leery of an editor including a story in their own anthology, but Golden's is one of the best in this book. Dark, urban, gritty, noirish ...more
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Kind of disappointing, considering the lineup of authors. Paul Tremblay's and Scott Smith's tales were the best. Ramsey Campbell's and Tim Lebbon's were pretty good. Most of the others didn't feel like they even belonged in the collection, based on the description on the back cover. They were so generic they could have found their way into a dozen anthologies of varying themes.
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaway-wins
1.5 stars that I gave 2.5 solely because of Seanan McGuire's offering, which was, undoubtedly, a breath of fresh air in comparison to the rest of the book.

The authors, I feel, all chose to go weird esoteric and kind of Pan's Labyrinth-y but not in a way that gave any sort of narrative fulfillment when it came to their respective endings. I wonder if Golden (whose story comes in a distant second place in terms of enjoyment) gave the authors a list of criteria needed to be met, and they were not
Mar 01, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
WARNING: that first story is terrible, with bestiality and rape, among other things, and a deep sense of hopelessness and terror that's depressing and horrifying. Not for the faint of heart.

The others are more standard horror. A bit creepy, ghost stories, lurking shadows... something to scare a little, but not make you want mind bleach. It would be a solid three stars if not for that first one.
May 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This has some absolutely excellent short stories in not all of which are blatantly horror but a rather strong stomach is required to get past the first story which does involve a form of bestiality.
The final story by M.R Carey is however brilliant and really the sort of thing to stop you sleeping at night.
Of course some stories were a tad mediocre but this being a short story collection it's easy enough to flip past the ones that aren't holding your interest or even just plow through them as
Olga Zelenova
Honestly, the first story in here messed me up and soured me on the rest of them. I’m pretty sure I read every other story through a much more negative lens. In fact, the first one was so repulsive to me that I considered quitting. And then the last one made me regret my decision.

So consider this a five-star review for everything in between, and a negative three for those two. The math works.
Aaron Badgley
Horror stories, set in the an urban setting. Some work, some are not my cup of tea. Overall, a good read.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Most of the stories in this collection were pretty good, some were absolutely exceptional, but I downgraded my rating because of the first story. 4.5 without it.
There are a lot of comments about how horrible the opening story is, and if that makes you want to read it even more, let me spare you the trouble with a brief synopsis. Not only is it unnecessarily graphic, there's a chasm of a plot hole. Spoilers below:

Dogs are blackmailing humans into feeding them murder victims, but said dogs lose
Pamela Scott

Dark Cities is a great collection of contemporary horror stories. I love it. I thought every story was great. The stories are not what you traditionally think of as horror stories, but the tales are dark and sinister. I loved every one. The stories are dark sinister and creepy as hell. I’ll think twice about walking along through city streets at night after reading these. I must confess I had bit of a Buffy fan-girl when I read Amber Benson’s story (she
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was going to give this 3.5 or 4 stars because there are a few stories that don't bring the horror. But those last 2 or 3? The last story! I don't have kids, but the last story left me messed up! The one before that is by an author I really like the work of. There are some real freaky stories in this collection! Great for your favorite horror lover.
Sep 09, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some real standouts here, including Grit by Jonathan Maberry, Sanctuary by Kealan Patrick Burke, and (my personal favorite) The Maw by Nathan Ballingrud. The authors I picked this up for were weaker in my opinion (Scott Smith, Scott Sigler, Christopher Golden.) We’ll Always Have Paris by MR Carey also stuck the landing with its blend of old and new.
I would strongly recommend skipping the first story in this collection. There was a very unpalatable, or maybe more accurately, horrific rape scene that almost made me not move on to the other stories.
Danny Seipel
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: discarded
Little horror but plenty of telegraphed endings. Quite pedestrian efforts in several cases.

Still, I enjoy short stories and most anthologies have a few good ones at least so I persevered past the half-way mark. Then it wa due back and I gave up becasue I couldn't be bothered logging on to renew it. It just wasn't interesting enough.

So, I haven't read past The Society of the Monsterhood, which I actually liked quite a lot; it was a one star rating up until that point - I give that story on it's
This was a pretty neat collection and reminded me that I really enjoy well-done horror and hadn't read much of it in a while. The editor definitely made the right call in opening with "The Dogs," easily the book's strongest story and some fucked-up shit (I kept thinking I'd called the farthest the author would go and then the story kept being like "LOL, girl, no - you ain't seen nothing yet" and it was impressive just how messed up it wasn't afraid to be). Mike Carey's contribution was also ...more
So many unusual and freaky short stories. It's always hard to rate a book filled with this many stories but I give it 3 stars because more than half of the stories I did not like. I just wasn't feeling them, they felt like they needed more of an ending, and some were just disgusting or just not scary at all.
These are all short scary stories that all take place in different cities.
There were a couple of good ones. I enjoyed the Sherrilyn Kenyon story of course. She never fails to impress. A very
Adrianne R
Feb 20, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not the best book I've ever read. There were a lot of strange stories in here and most of them i was not a fan of. ESPECIALLY the very 1st story about the dogs. VERY DISTURBING!!! Literally had to force myself to continue reading the book. I was determined to read the story submitted by one of my all time fave authors, the one and only Mrs. Sherrilyn Kenyon and I was disappointed that her story was the shortest in the book I think. I pushed o to try and finish the book but I didn't. I ended up ...more
Sarah Augustinsky
So... let's just talk about the book without talking about "The Dogs" because... yeah. MAJOR sexual assault trigger warning for that entire story.

Other that that, I found some of the stories totally awesome (not sure on the names but - Dark Run Hill by Joe and Kasey Landsdale, the one by Ashley Benson I think?, and Grit by Jonathan Maberry or if I have the story titles wrong, the guy who tried to quit smoking, the man who got tattoos of people with their blood in it, and the girl who haunts her
Derek Wright
Really nothing to see here, these collected samples further provoking me to conclude that contemporary horror, with few exceptions, is crowned with all the glory and quality of self-publishing and midlist. Of the whole book, I made it to half. Only the better standouts based on the recommendations of other reviewers more experienced in the contemporary scene, but I could not go on.

The exception in this heap of unremarkable items is a real jewel though: Smith's completely unhinged opener is
Feb 14, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I have just finished the sample from Amazon and it’s already enough for me to throw this book away and never look at it again. Sure there might be some good ones in there but the first one? I would not hesitate to call the first one awful and disturbing. I love dogs with all my hearts and I can’t stand when someone wrote a story about a dog raping a human. That’s very difficult for me to understand and absolutely disturbing. That entire short story has really ruined my day. I would not recommend ...more
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I could not have anticipated how much I would enjoy this anthology. I've begun dabbling in these collection type books for a while and this one has blown all others out of the water. I LOVE the idea that these weird and supernatural things are lurking right under our noses and several of the stories were like that. I don't doubt I'll be re-reading this anthology (but skipping the first story: see below) many more times.

**My ONLY issue with the very first story - it included a highly disturbing
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
IDK about any of this. People say the first story is some story that has never been made about dogs but in my novel in progress there are similar things if you allow also for Bob Leman's seminal "Window". It's all werewolves really. Seanan Mcguire's story was a long rant about gentrification and The Crack is about child abuse and from a survivor's pov I should know about that. But in the end we can draw our own maps and the cities are dark in a way that requires you to have light in them in the ...more
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Christopher Golden is the award-winning, bestselling author of such novels as The Myth Hunters, Wildwood Road, The Boys Are Back in Town, The Ferryman, Strangewood, Of Saints and Shadows, and (with Tim Lebbon) Mind the Gap. Golden co-wrote the lavishly illustrated novel Baltimore, or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire with Mike Mignola, which they are currently scripting as a feature film ...more
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