Written by Stephen King. A collection of 20 short stories, one teleplay, one poem, and one piece of non-fiction.
The Doctor’s Case
The End of the Whole Mess
The Fifth Quarter
It Grows on You
The House on Maple Street
The Moving Finger
My Pretty Pony
The Night Flier
Sorry, Right Number
Suffer the Little Children
The Ten O’Clock People
Umney’s Last Case
You Know They Got a Hell of a Band
Overall, this is probably a more enjoyable collection than Night Shift. But it lacks a real stand-out like Night Shift’s The Last Rung On The Ladder or The Woman In The Room.
Anyway, here are some brief comments on some of the stories:
Chattery Teeth – Pure grisly fun. Vividly described, but without any point other than to shock/amuse.
The Doctor’s Case – Sherlock Holmes fans will either love King’s attempt here, or absolutely hate it. Me, I loved it.
The Fifth Quarter – Cheesy and overdone. But oddly enjoyable.
The End of the Whole Mess – Probably my favorite story in this collection. (I have a sick fascination with end-of-the-world scenarios.) Genius do-gooder fucks up, big-time…
Dolan’s Cadillac – Ah, sweet revenge. You root for the protagonist 100%, even though he’s an obsessed, soon-to-be killer…
The House on Maple Street – Odd fact: This story, while fairly mediocre, is unique in that it’s accompanied by an illustration (at least it was in my hard-cover edition). Just thought I’d point that out…
The Moving Finger – Like Chattery Teeth, this is pointless fun. Darkly comical, and quite gory.
My Pretty Pony – This is King at his non-supernatural best. “Time flies when you’re having fun,” explained…
Sneakers – Creepy, with homoerotic undertones. Must have been written when King was all coked up…
Rainy Season – Like The Moving Finger or Chattery Teeth, but without the humor. Sheer bizarre horror.
Sorry, Right Number – King’s teleplay. A bit of a tear-jerker. Pretty good, if you know how to read the teleplay format…
Suffer the Little Children – King seems to have a thing for evil children, doesn’t he? Grim stuff…
You Know They Got a Hell of a Band – Corny, but good fun. The general concept though, of an eternity (more or less) spent in a quasi-hell, is something King has turned to numerous times. I must admit, this topic unnerves me quite a bit. Mind, the story itself is not really scary. But the thought of having to be somewhere you really don’t like for a really long time…
And, finally, The Ten O’Clock People – This is basically King’s version of They Live. In this version, you don’t need sunglasses; just a semi-addiction to cigarettes…
I welcome all thoughts/comments below…