Though perhaps best known as an editor of anthologies of horror and dark fantasy (Destination Unknown, etc.), Crowther proves in this generous debut story collection to be a master of those genres. From the hypnotic stream-of-consciousness of "Incident on Bleecker Street" to the casual violence of "The Visitor," his writing in the 26 entries here--including poetry and an excerpt from a novel-in-progress--exhibits a stunning range. The power of music supplies the resonant theme of both "Head Acres" and the title story; in the former, music leads to death, while in the latter, music transcends it. "Home Comforts" turns the familiar slayer-vs.-vampire plot on its head, while the evocative and touching "Too Short a Death" shows that vampires can be as human as anyone else. "Gallagher's Arm" is a light Lovecraftian pastiche and an effective query into Machiavelli's claim that "the end justifies the means." There's sly humor as well as horror in "Eater" and "Shatsi," and the volume closes with a series of informative Story Notes. Reports of the demise of the darker genres abound, but vigorous, genuinely fearsome work such as Crowther's demonstrates that the genre is decidedly undead.