Posts Tagged ‘Stephen King’

Book Review – In the Tall Grass (Kindle Single) by Joe Hill and Stephen King

October 26, 2012 1 comment

In the Tall Grass (Kindle Single) by Joe Hill and Stephen King

Book Description:

In the Tall Grass begins with a sister and brother who pull off to the side of the road after hearing a young boy crying for help from beyond the tall grass.

Within minutes they are disoriented, in deeper than seems possible, and they’ve lost one another. The boy’s cries are more and more desperate.

What follows is a terrifying, entertaining, and masterfully told tale, as only Stephen King and Joe Hill can deliver.


In the Tall Grass  (Kindle Single) is a new short story by horror legend Stephen King and his son Joe Hill that should carry a warning – DON’T read on full stomach! (I read it after a pleasant lunch of grilled chicken sandwich, and was so sick to my stomach when I got to the end of the story. I was just thankful I hadn’t been eating sardines….)

What can I say about this Kindle single? Well, I definitely don’t see myself reading it again. It starts out great – super creepy – when the brother and sister first hear a kid’s cries for help coming from the field of grass, and they set of in pursuit. Cal and Becky were really likable characters, and I was all tied up in knots worrying about them. And the suspense just ratcheted up the longer they were stuck in the grass looking for the kid (And then each other).

But then, the story suddenly changed direction – I won’t give spoilers – but that’s when I ended up way more grossed out than scared. Pity – I really enjoyed reading it before things turned disgusting.

But then, maybe if you like that type of horror – you’ll probably like this way more than me?


In the Tall Grass (Kindle Single) by Joe Hill and Stephen King (Scribner) is available on Amazon as a Kindle Single.

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by RSS Or by Email.


Book Review – Mile 81 by Stephen King

September 5, 2011 Leave a comment

Book Description:

With the heart of Stand By Me and the genius horror of Christine, Mile 81 is Stephen King unleashing his imagination as he drives past one of those road signs…

At Mile 81 on the Maine Turnpike is a boarded up rest stop on a highway in Maine. It’s a place where high school kids drink and get into the kind of trouble high school kids have always gotten into. It’s the place where Pete Simmons goes when his older brother, who’s supposed to be looking out for him, heads off to the gravel pit to play “paratroopers over the side.” Pete, armed only with the magnifying glass he got for his tenth birthday, finds a discarded bottle of vodka in the boarded up burger shack and drinks enough to pass out.

Not much later, a mud-covered station wagon (which is strange because there hadn’t been any rain in New England for over a week) veers into the Mile 81 rest area, ignoring the sign that says “closed, no services.” The driver’s door opens but nobody gets out.

Doug Clayton, an insurance man from Bangor, is driving his Prius to a conference in Portland. On the backseat are his briefcase and suitcase and in the passenger bucket is a King James Bible, what Doug calls “the ultimate insurance manual,” but it isn’t going to save Doug when he decides to be the Good Samaritan and help the guy in the broken down wagon. He pulls up behind it, puts on his four-ways, and then notices that the wagon has no plates.

Ten minutes later, Julianne Vernon, pulling a horse trailer, spots the Prius and the wagon, and pulls over. Julianne finds Doug Clayton’s cracked cell phone near the wagon door — and gets too close herself. By the time Pete Simmons wakes up from his vodka nap, there are a half a dozen cars at the Mile 81 rest stop. Two kids — Rachel and Blake Lussier — and one horse named Deedee are the only living left. Unless you maybe count the wagon.


Mile 81  (Kindle Single) is a new short story by Stephen King that should tide his fans over while waiting for the release of  11/22/63: A Novel in November (especially since it contains an exclusive excerpt from that new book about a teacher time traveling to stop the assassination of Kennedy).

Mile 81  has an entertaining concept (which I won’t spoil, but here’s a strong hint – think Christine and From a Buick 8, but with young kids involved). This is supposed to be a horror short, but I found myself inappropriately laughing out loud at the ridiculousness of certain sections. It’s very pulpy cheese (Tales from the Crypt-like), so don’t be reading this short story with high expectations. Still pretty entertaining though (just not scary enough and really too short).  The ending is pretty abrupt and not really adequately explained – I would’ve preferred this short story lengthened to novella length if only to flesh out the ‘villain’ more.

I’ve always liked the way Stephen King writes his young characters – and the spunky characters of 10-year-old Pete Simmons and 6-year-old Rachel Lussier are classic King, but I did find it very odd that the kids were swearing so much. (Maybe he meant to make the children a little older?)

Mile 81 by Stephen King (Scribner) is available on Amazon as a Kindle Single. You can also get the short story at B&N.

For a second opinion – here’s some reviews of Mile 81 by other bloggers:

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by RSS Or by Email. [tweetmeme source=”randomizemeWP” only_single=false

Book Review – Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

February 13, 2011 4 comments

Book Description:

I believe there is another man inside every man, a stranger . . . writes Wilfred Leland James in the early pages of the riveting confession that makes up “1922,” the first in this pitch-black quartet of mesmerizing tales from Stephen King. For James, that stranger is awakened when his wife, Arlette, proposes selling off the family homestead and moving to Omaha, setting in motion a gruesome train of murder and madness.

In “Big Driver,” a cozy-mystery writer named Tess encounters the stranger along a back road in Massachusetts when she takes a shortcut home after a book-club engagement. Violated and left for dead, Tess plots a revenge that will bring her face-to-face with another stranger: the one inside herself.

Fair Extension,” the shortest of these tales, is perhaps the nastiest and certainly the funniest. Making a deal with the devil not only saves Dave Streeter from a fatal cancer but provides rich recompense for a lifetime of resentment.

When her husband of more than twenty years is away on one of his business trips, Darcy Anderson looks for batteries in the garage. Her toe knocks up against a box under a worktable and she discovers the stranger inside her husband. It’s a horrifying discovery, rendered with bristling intensity, and it definitively ends “A Good Marriage“.

Like Different Seasons and Four Past Midnight, which generated such enduring films as The Shawshank Redemption and Stand by Me, Full Dark, No Stars proves Stephen King a master of the long story form.


Speaking as a King fan who wasn’t too impressed with his bloated (and dragging) last novel Under the Dome, I’m happy to report that with this four-novella collection Full Dark, No Stars, Stephen King has his writing mojo back! Yes, the Kindle edition is a bit expensive at $14.99, and yes, it would have been nice if it was at least the same price as the paperback, but I’m pretty happy with this one. Full Dark, No Stars is a more-than-solid effort from Stephen King, with King once again excelling in telling us stories about ordinary people who find themselves in pretty horrifying situations (that we all hope & pray we never have to deal with ourselves. Ever).

What I’m most impressed with is how authentic and distinctive each voice is in the four stories. A farmer recounts the unravelling of his life after he commits a murder in “1922“. In “Big Driver,” a cozy mystery author, who is raped and left for dead, exacts revenge from those who wronged her. A dying man makes a deal with the devil in “Fair Extension” and in “A Good Marriage“, a wife discovers that a monster lurks within her loving husband of 30 years. All four stories are richly detailed and superbly characterized with very real characters that will have you cringing or shuddering with them as they face their hells on earth. The strongest stories for me were “A Good Marriage” and “Big Driver” – maybe because they featured strong women characters who I liked and could sympathize with, whether or not I agreed with the choices they made. If I were to pick the weakest, it would have to be “Fair Extension” which ended on an IMO unfinished way – I just figure that deals with the devil ought to always result in some personal bad consequences 😉

For those worried that the stories are too scary, I wouldn’t really describe them as outright scary. They’re gruesome and grim and can be creepy – but not the type that makes you scared of the dark afterwards. Like I’ve said, I thought that Stephen King really delivered in showing us the dark side of humanity in this book, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Full Dark, No Stars to both the longtime King fan or to new readers who have yet to read him.

Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King is available on Amazon as a Kindle edition ($14.99), Hardcover ($15.17), Paperback ($9.99) or Audible Audio Edition ($23.95).

The eBook is also available for $14.99 on B&N Nook, Sony eBookstore. Kobo Books has the book listed at $16.29.

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by RSS Or by Email. [tweetmeme source=”randomizemeWP” only_single=false

Book Review – Stephen King’s ‘Under the Dome: A Novel’

December 7, 2009 2 comments

Book Synopsis:

On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester’s Mills, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener’s hand is severed as “the dome” comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when–or if–it will go away.

Dale Barbara, Iraq vet and now a short-order cook, finds himself teamed with a few intrepid citizens–town newspaper owner Julia Shumway, a physician’s assistant at the hospital, a selectwoman, and three brave kids. Against them stands Big Jim Rennie, a politician who will stop at nothing–even murder–to hold the reins of power, and his son, who is keeping a horrible secret in a dark pantry.

But their main adversary is the Dome itself. Because time isn’t just short. It’s running out.

By gosh, Stephen King’s still got IT – the ability to write a good yarn, I mean, that will keep you compulsively turning the pages until it says The End. While Under the Dome: A Novel is far from being one of Stephen King’s best, it definitely still has the basic ingredients I need to keep me interested in a novel of the thriller variety – an intriguing kernel of a ‘What If’ idea, fast pacing, and an explosive bloodbath of a climax worthy of a good Hollywood disaster movie (yeah, my tastes run a bit blood-thirsty). I liked the touch of Sci-fi in this story instead of the supernatural elements / monsters Stephen King usually has. Also, there’s a touch of realism with how the Dome’s effects on the weather, the wildlife including the birds, the plants, the river and just the total ecology of the sealed-off town is dealt with. The amount of attention to imagery is particularly strong in this book, with many paragraphs devoted to something akin to a camera panning over the town and zooming in on interesting events. So, what indeed happens when a town in the US of A essentially becomes a goldfish-bowl prison? Well, people end up doing a whole lot of bad (and worse) things to each other, and a whole lot of people die. This is a Stephen King novel afterall.

It could have been so different though. Okay, I know I just said that this novel is filed under ‘thriller’, but I think that it could have been a pretty good introspective psychological profile on cabin-fever instead. How will normal human beings (without inserting psychotic mad-men into the story) cope and adapt to the situation of being cut-off indefinitely from the rest of the world? Stephen King sadly doesn’t go there, however, more’s the pity – instead, the plot devolves immediately into basically the same familiar King storyline – good people versus evil people and there’s no gray in the middle. In the first half of the novel, the ‘Dome’ actually becomes a subplot, with the tale of how Big bad Jim Rennie sets himself up as emperor and ruler for life of Chester’s Mills pretty much THE story. The bad guys (Rennie and his army of cronies and delinquents) are bad from the start and are laughably cartoonish i.e. totally psychotic or stupid and have no redeeming qualities whatsoever. I wished that the ‘bad’ people had started off a bit morally-neutral, and then ‘became bad’ as the story went on. Would have been more interesting psychologically. Stephen King does better work with his ‘heroes’ who are better fleshed-out human beings. Dale Barbara and Julia Shumway make a good team, same with Rusty, Piper, Rommie and the other members of the rag-tag resistance movement. I particularly liked how he drew the children of Chester’s Mills (Scarecrow Joe and his pals), even minor characters (like the resourceful boy Ollie) became very real to me.

Another peeve of mine with this novel, I became really irritated with how Stephen King kept on turning on the foreshadowing – virtually telling you what happens before it actually happens – then he spends the next couple of chapters telling you exactly what happened. Confused? Me too, way to kill the suspense, buster! I didn’t need all that warning that certain character(s) will die or this or that horrifying event(s) will happen.

The novel picks up when the attention goes back to the ‘Dome’ and I wished that the Sci-fi elements were more fleshed out. I thought that the denouement was too rushed and the way it was resolved was disappointing, but to be honest, I was a bit unsatisfied with it only in the sense that I wanted more details. So, it’s actually a good thing.

Yes, this is a behemoth of a novel, with more characters than you can count, and it has its faults – but Stephen King does have the gift of keeping things interesting at more than 1000 pages. If you’re looking to be entertained by a ‘What If’ scenario for a couple of dozen hours (or days, depending on how fast you read) – picking this book up is a good bet. It’s also a good last-minute stocking-stuffer if you’re a bit lazy with the Christmas shopping.

Under the Dome: A Novel is available on Amazon as a Hardcover ($14.00, currently at 60% off, savings of $21.00), Kindle Edition ($9.99) or Audiobook ($26.39).

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by RSS Or by Email. [tweetmeme source=”randomizemeWP” only_single=false


%d bloggers like this: