Many of the short stories in Night Shift will be familiar to fans of their feature film and television adaptations: Children of the Corn (which became both a 1984 film and a 2009 HBO television adaptation), Cat's Eye (a 1985 film that included adaptations of "Quitters Inc." and "The Ledge"), Maximum Overdrive (a 1986 film based on "Trucks"), and Graveyard Shift (a 1990 film).
Besides the 20 stories, Night Shift also includes an introduction by author John D. MacDonald, and an entertaining forward from King, who tells the reader why he loves scary stories--and is quite convincing on why they should, too. It will be up to the reader to determine whether they should indulge in these early King offerings in the dark of night. It might be advisable to keep all of the lights on.
As King tells the reader,
"Let's talk about fear. We won't raise our voices and we won't scream; we'll talk rationally, you and I. We'll talk about the way the good fabric of things sometimes has a way of unraveling with shocking suddenness.
"At night, when I go to bed, I still am at pains to be sure that my legs are under the blanket after the lights go out.
"I'm not a child any more but ... I don't like to sleep with one leg sticking out. Because if a cool hand ever reached out from under the bed and grasped my ankle, I might scream. Yes, I might scream to wake the dead. That sort of thing doesn't happen, of course, and we all know that. ... The thing under my bed waiting to grab my ankle isn't real. I know that, and I also know that if I'm careful to keep my foot under the covers, it will never be able to grab my ankle."
Forewarned is forearmed.
Images from top: King in the '70s and the '00s.