I missed to read Stephen King’s stories a lot! You may know that most of his short stories including Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, The Body from “Different Season”, Mist from “Skeleton Crew”, Lawnmower Man, Children of the Corn from “Graveyard Shift”, 1408 from ”Everything’s Eventual” adapted into successful movie scripts. ( Even though only good thing about Lawnmower Man seeing his cameo as a priest!)
This time: We luckily have four fantastic stories in our hands and best part is one of them belongs to Holly Gibney! After Mercedes Man trilogy and Outsiders, I already missed the character and welcomed her with open arms.
But don’t worry, all those stories are also unique, mysterious, entertaining and it actually helped me get rid of my frustration after I read “Institution” ( I know what you’re thinking! I already gave four stars to that book but frustration part comes from different writing style. When you resume reading same author’s books nearly 3 decade, you may sense something is not right and the words in the book won’t get clicked with your expectations and your literature taste)
This book brings back the joy of reading old school King stories and stop thinking about you’re just a prisoner in your house and living in a mad mad world.
It gave me so much fun and reminded me of my emotions when I was a small kid and watched “Back to the future” for the first time: mesmerized, enchanted and purely joyous and happy. Every time, when I read a new King’s book written by his regular sarcastic, witty, dark, awkwardly absurd tone with detailed and differentiated characterization, I turned into that small girl playing hooky, hiding under blankets, drinking Mexican Coke and devouring each page, barely breathing- right now I’m the same, only difference is I’m consuming alcohol and drinking from bottle!
Let’s take a close look to the stories:
Mr. Harrigan’s Phone: ****stars
The story is narrated by little Craig, living with his dad, got attention of rich and old billionaire Mr. Harrigan who mysteriously moved to the town and listened to his bible reading at the church offers him a job at his house including watering plants, reading him books, dusting his silver antiques. He pays him hourly and sends him postcards, scratch lottery tickets at holidays which defined as cheapster by his father (because Mr. Harrigan plays with billions and only pays $5 for hour.) Till one day, he won nearly half million dollars from scratch lottery ticket! (Yes! The universe rewarded young guy in a different way!) And Craig shows his appreciation by purchasing Mr. Harrigan an Iphone 4 which made him reluctant to accept at first but Craig advertised the product wisely and made the businessman addicted by showing how to read business news daily and track Dow Jones index to decide his next investment steps.
Iphones helped them form a special and interestingly immortal relationship because after Mr. Harrigan dies, Craig hides the phone in his coffin and get buried with him. He kept calling Mr. Harrigan, listening his voicemail message (Surprisingly for years the phone never got out of charge and when Craig tells a problem to Mr. Harrigan like a school bully kicked the shit out of him and he leaves a message about the incident, next day he finds out his bully is dead! A creepy, emotional, Amazing Stories meets Twilight Zone story!
“Life of Chuck”- ***** stars
The story begins with the end of the world and told backwards with three acts including three important parts of Chuck Krantz. At the apocalyptic world shattered with earthquakes, collapse of networks and communication sources, billboards emblazoned with an eerie message: “39 great years! Thanks Chuck!” Before everything gets weirder at each page when you reach to the other act and learn more about Chuck’s back story, you get more surprised his connection with the universe’s collapsing. Especially his childhood life and living with grandparents, prying around the house to know more about ghosts ends with twisty revelation connecting with the beginning of the story. It was brilliant.
If It Bleeds- ***** stars
The story starts Outsiders’ detective Ralph Anderson’s returning to his house after family holiday and finding the envelope sent by Holly Gibney. When he opens the envelope he finds a drive named “If it bleeds” including audio spectrograms and a folder containing photographs. Holly wrote a note tells him: “If I do die, you choose to continue what I’ve started please be careful. You have a wife and son!”
I’m not gonna give much details but I can only say that large explosion at a middle school in Pineborough, Pennsylvania resulted numerous casualties, many of children and teachers. Holly realizes another outsider, a grief vampire feeding itself by consuming people’s pain and sadness may be involved with the incident and she will do whatever it takes to hunt him alone even though it means this will be her last task!
This is the best story of the book and I wish we had more Holly but don’t worry, I think she will have her own novel sooner. I can feel it.
Rat- **** stars
A passionate writer Drew Larson got attention of literature world with his short story but after that, his writing attempts end with psychical and mental breakdowns. He keeps his job as academician for the sake of his marriage. But now he wants to give another try and convinces his wife to work on his new project at her father’s isolated cabin in the woods. (From the beginning you may sense something really spooky will come out, right?) As he starts his assignment to writer a western thriller (I wish he shared the plot with someone instead of keeping himself so somebody may have stopped him!)
The story gets eerier as Drew makes a haunted bargain with a rat for accomplishing his plan to create a fantastic novel. But… Yes… It is time for me to shut up and stop giving more details!
Overall: I enjoyed the stories. I had quality time with the author’s brilliant story telling skills. Those are the stories I’ve missed so long! I’m rounding up 4.5 stars to 5! I highly recommend it to not only my one and only KING lovers but also to the well written thriller and fiction lovers as well.