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Not all Mr. Nolan’s stories achieve the high quality of the ones just described, though all are skillfully written and worth the reader’s attention. The reader might find it more profitable to refrain from reading the annotations with which the author has prefaced his stories until the end, for some of them include spoilers.

These otherwise-engaging stories would have benefited from one last round of proofreading. After becoming engrossed in a story, it is disconcerting to stumble over a reference to a World War II fighter pilot who shot down “eight Nazi plans,” or a character claiming he has fallen in love for “the fist time in my whole life.”

To undertake stories in the realm of dark fantasy is easy, but to do it well is a gift — and the author performs with flair. Reading “Nightshadows” validates the late Rod Serling’s claim that Mr. Nolan’s fiction “is wonderfully wild, fascinating, beautifully written.” Here are stories that voyage into the mist-shrouded shipping lanes of the mind where many readers fear to venture.

James E. Person Jr. is the author of “Earl Hamner: From Walton’s Mountain to Tomorrow” (Cumberland House).