Take three of the leading names in contemporary horror writing, commission one-third of a book’s worth of stories from each, and the result is Dark Visions
“The Reploids“: Edward Paladin shows up in place of Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show, while Carson is nowhere to be found. A subsequent investigation by detective Richard Cheyney finds strange items in Paladin’s possession, hinting that he may not be from our reality: His passes for the studio are the wrong color, and he has a bright blue dollar bill with a picture of James Madison on it.
Weird uncollected short story that introduces a well-known concept (parallel worlds) but with a very interesting twist; events take place live on a TV set. Unfortunately, the Reploids ends abruptly after a good start.
“Sneakers“: John keeps seeing a pair of old sneakers in the same toilet stall every time he enters the restroom. As time passes, flies build up around the sneakers, but no one else seems to know what is going on or even to notice anything. But he is certain that there is a ghost in the stall.
“Dedication“: A black house maid working in a hotel cleans the room of an eccentric alcoholic writer who is a frequent guest there. The maid consumes some of the writer’s semen, left on his sheets, as part of a possible black magic spell in the hope that it will pass talent and ability along to her unborn son.
“Metastasis”: A man suffers a near-death experience in a car crash on the way to visit dying relative. After his crash, he finds he has acquired the ability to see “cancer vampires”, hideous creatures which are responsible for the spread of cancer in our world.
“Vanna Fucci Is Alive and Well and Living in Hell”: The godless truth behind Brother Freddy’s Hallelujah Breakfast Club.
“Iverson’s Pits”: Dealing with horrors from the American Civil War. Iverson’s pit really shook the %2^£ outta me, it’s my fave in this book and I have almost had forgotten the other stories for it
George R. R. Martin
The Skin Trade: Martin’s werewolf novella won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novella in 1989, and was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award.
This is a collection of short stories, and the one that really stands out for me is The Skin Trade by George R.R. Martin. Imagine a light-hearted private detective story with elements of werewolf (although they’re not all wolves)mythology thrown in, and you’ve got the general idea. I really think this was the inspiration for Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series, although she took a darker, more police procedural approach, and worked in necromancy and vampirism as well.