cover image Dark at Heart

Dark at Heart

David Morrell. Dark Harvest, $21.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-913165-64-5

The impulses motivating nearly all the sociopaths and killers featured in these 20 well-crafted tales are most often of a sexual nature, leading to details of dismemberment, child abuse and, often, gruesome revenge. The foolproof cure for pedophilia offered by the psychiatrist in Andrew Vachss's ``Treatment'' is disappointingly facile, although the bumbling, ultimately successful sleuthing of three tough-talking amateurs brings a woman-hating dog-trainer to gratifying justice in Joe R. Lansdale's spirited ``The Events Concerning a Nude Fold-Out Found in a Harlequin Romance.'' In ``An Evening Out with Karl'' by Bill Crider, a vicious rapist is unexpectedly repaid in kind by the statuesque beauty whom he targets as his next victim. These and stories by Chet Williamson, Stephen Gallagher and Ardath Mayhar, among others, comprise a grim, graphic collection with villains as cold-blooded as they are dark-hearted. (Apr.)