From the Foreword by J.A. Konrath: "Crouch is one of the best thriller short story writers I know. He uses words like an artist uses a paintbrush; to hurt, to stun, to shock, to provoke, to touch. This collection also features my very favorite short story of all time. Not just my favorite by Crouch, but the best one I've ever read by anyone. It's called "Unconditional." It is flat-out brilliant and unforgettable, and that one tale is worth the price of this entire collection." From the author of DESERT PLACES and LOCKED DOORS comes this complete collection of short stories and novellas. *69 - Tim and Laura West receive a bizarre voicemail on their answering machine that seems to have unintentionally recorded a brutal murder. But what happens when the killer realizes their mistake? This story develops over one terrifying evening, and this young couple will never be the same. REMAKING - Tragic events unfold in a snowy, sleepy Colorado town. From the first scene, in which a man sits alone in the cold, watching a father and son in a diner, you know something is about to go horribly wrong. You may think you know what's happening, but in this thrilling, heartbreaking story, nothing is as it seems. ON THE GOOD, RED ROAD - A group of four hard men trying to reach a remote 19th Century mining town become stranded in an early blizzard and resort to drastic, terrifying measures, to stay alive. SHINING ROCK - An older couple encounter a strange and menacing visitor during a camping trip in the North Carolina mountains. Friendly at first, this stranger seems to know them, seems to know their secrets, and as things escalate, they become convinced that they may never leave these mountains alive. PERFECT LITTLE TOWN - Ron and Jessica Stahl are a power couple from California, on a Christmas holiday in Colorado. When they stop for the afternoon in sleepy Lone Cone, they're charmed by the quaint tourist town. But the folksy hospitality will vanish as the sun drops behind the mountains. The Stahls couldn't have picked a worse night of the year to get snowed into this perfect little town with a dark, dark secret. SERIAL - The classic horror short I wrote with J.A. Konrath, in which we turn our attention to the twin golden rules of hitchhiking: # 1: Don't go hitchhiking, because the driver who picks you up could be certifiably crazy. # 2: Don't pick up hitchhikers, because the traveler you pick up could be a raving nutcase. So what if, on some dark, isolated road, Crazy #1 offered a ride to Nutcase #2? THE NEWTON BOYS' LAST PHOTOGRAPH - At 25 words, the shortest story I ever wrote. But it packs a wallop. THE METEOROLOGIST - Peter, a disgraced meteorologist and chronic wanderer, has traveled the country for years in his Winnebago, in search of the only thing that gives his life meaning. He's just arrived in the middle of nowhere-Hokie, Kansas-for the same purpose, but when he meets a waitress named Melanie, another sufferer, he's faced not only with his first real human contact in years, but perhaps someone who can save him. UNCONDITIONAL - A conversation between two people-devastating, tragic, and beautiful. THE PAIN OF OTHERS - Letty Dobesh, a gorgeous, degenerate thief, is fresh out of the clink and back to her old tricks-in this case, burglarizing suites at a luxury hotel in Asheville, North Carolina. But when she's surprised by returning guests on her last room of the day, she's forced to hide in the closet to avoid getting caught, and inadvertently overhears a hitman being contracted to murder the wife of a wealthy lawyer. This 60,000-word short story collection also contains a foreword by J.A. Konrath and introductions to each story by the author. BLAKE CROUCH is the author of four novels and numerous short stories, including "Serial" which he co-wrote with J.A. Konrath and has been downloaded more than 300,000 times. He lives in southwest Colorado, where he is at work on a new book. His website is www.blakecrouch.com.