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Stephen King Value Collection: Lawnmower Man, Gray Matter, and Graveyard Shift PDF, ePub eBook A collection of three bone-chilling dramatic audio productions (total of 16 unabridged classic stories) from Stephen King's Night Shift. All 16 stories are read by John Glover. Tales from Gray Matter include: The Boogeyman I Know What You Need Strawberry Spring Gray Matter The Woman in the Room Battleground Tales from Graveyard Shift include: Graveyard Shift The Man Who Loved Flower A collection of three bone-chilling dramatic audio productions (total of 16 unabridged classic stories) from Stephen King's Night Shift. All 16 stories are read by John Glover. Tales from Gray Matter include: The Boogeyman I Know What You Need Strawberry Spring Gray Matter The Woman in the Room Battleground Tales from Graveyard Shift include: Graveyard Shift The Man Who Loved Flowers The Last Rung on The Ladder Night Surf Jerusalem's Lot Tales from Lawnmower Man include: Lawnmower Man The Mangler Quitters, Inc. The Ledge Sometimes They Come Back Unabridged applies mainly to the individual stories; however, it also applies to this audio book, itself. This is "Stephen King Collection: Stories from Night Shift" Not to be confused with "Night Shift." This set does contain 16 of the 20 stories from the the book "Night Shift," as listed above. This set is actually a collection of 3 other audiobooks, "Gray Matter," "Graveyard Shift" and "Lawnmower Man," all of which have stories found in the book, "Night Shift." "Children of the Corn," "I Am the Doorway," "One for the Road" nor "Trucks," is included in this set. 10 Audio CDs / 12 Hours (Approx)

30 review for Stephen King Value Collection: Lawnmower Man, Gray Matter, and Graveyard Shift

  1. 5 out of 5

    R.

    What I learned from Night Shift: It ain't easy to quit smoking. That I know what you need. That I am the doorway. That he walks behind the rows. That sometimes they come back. It ain't over in 'Salem's Lot. Don't drink bad beer. Get off your ass and mow your own lawn, goddammit.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    King's first short story collection comes in at 4.125 stars. As you can see below, I rated and reviewed each story. Then, I added all the ratings together and took the average to get my overall rating. This was my second time through and better than I remembered. A few stories that could be skipped, but you might as well read them all to get the full experience! ************************ Jerusalem's Lot - 4.5 stars And earlier story of the same town and environs found in the novel 'Salem's Lot. Writ King's first short story collection comes in at 4.125 stars. As you can see below, I rated and reviewed each story. Then, I added all the ratings together and took the average to get my overall rating. This was my second time through and better than I remembered. A few stories that could be skipped, but you might as well read them all to get the full experience! ************************ Jerusalem's Lot - 4.5 stars And earlier story of the same town and environs found in the novel 'Salem's Lot. Written in a style - letters and journal entries - that reminded me a lot of horror classics like Dracula and Frankenstein. This is a nice little taste of demonic shenanigans and eerie foreshadowing. A great way to start off a short story collection! Graveyard Shift - 5 stars Time for some spring cleaning! Nature is crazy sometimes. Your boss can be a jerk sometimes. Combine the two and you get this terrifying story of revenge. I spent most of the time cringing! Night Surf - 2.5 stars Not bad, but not really a full story. As it takes place in the world from The Stand, it feels more like a writing exercise that King used to help build the bigger story. Or, maybe an anecdote he was thinking about including, but pulled it out of the final product. Without knowing the backstory of The Stand, I am not sure this story will mean much to a reader. I Am The Doorway - 5 stars This story explains the cover of the edition I am reading. Great horror sci-fi. King does a great job jamming a lot of content in ten pages or so. I also love it when the very last sentence of a story hits just as hard as the whole rest of the story. Awesome stuff here! The Mangler - 5 stars More demonic possession - I am sensing a theme here! I am pretty sure that most King fans consider this short story one of his classics. It led to a series of what I am sure are very cheesy horror movies. I never saw them, but I have read this short story many times and I know that I love it! The Boogeyman - 4 stars This is an allegorical tale about a racist, sexist, generally unpleasant man who is willing to judge others but cannot see his own faults. But, you can't hide from the boogeyman! Gray Matter - 4 stars Does this taste a little bit off to you? In an age of e-coli and biohazard scares, this story will play off your fears about what might be out there waiting to get you from the inside out. 10 out of 10 on the gross meter! Battleground - 5 stars Definitely one of my top 5 favorite Stephen King short stories. Probably the best King ending of any of his stories. This story is short but sweet and worth reading even if you don't read the rest of the book. Trucks - 5 stars The basis for King's only directorial endeavor, the classic Maximum Overdrive (yeah, I said classic! FIGHT ME!) They also made another movie based on it, but I am not sure why. What if all those semis on the interstate took over? Maybe they're mad? There is a nostalgic place in my heart for this story! Sometimes They Come Back - 3.5 stars You guessed it - demons again! This was the longest short story so far in the collection. When reading short stories I feel like they have to be crafted perfectly to get in, get out, BOOM! You end up blown away in just a few words. While I enjoyed this one, I think it rambled on just a little bit too long and the end was probably the least shocking of any so far in the book. Strawberry Spring - 4 stars I like the story telling in this one a lot. I also think is is interesting how the rumor mill and media twisting of stories we see today was just as big of an issue back in the 1970s; everyone had a different take and everyone believed it 100%. A bit of a cheesy twist at the end, but overall, not bad! The Ledge - 5 stars This is another short story favorite of mine. Also, this is one that made its way to the big screen in the 80s classic Cat's Eye. No demons or monsters in this one, just humans pushing morality and fear to the limit in the name of money and pride." The Lawnmower Man - 3 stars I remember reading this story a long time ago and it is always what I think of when I think of King short stories that I do not like quite as much as the others. It is just out there; kind of creepy, but not super enthralling (to me). They also (for some reason) made a terrible movie based on this that was mainly just the same title. Quitters, Inc. - 5 stars Another classic King short story and probably one of his most well known. Like the previously discussed story, The Ledge, this is also one featured in the 80's King movie Cat's Eye. The plot of this one is just so oddly cool and the means to an end so logically maniacal that you can't help but say "That's f#%$ed up! But, kinda makes sense!" I Know What You Need - 4 stars Stephen King's version of the movie What Women Want. But, of course, it isn't a comedy! Children of the Corn - 4.5 stars Kids can be super creepy! You won't taking driving through the country-side for granted after this one. This is another classic King that I think most people have heard of. Also, I believe it has led to more movies than any other King story or novel. I just checked and there have been 10 - the earliest in 1984, the most recent in 2018. The Last Rung on the Ladder - 2 stars Meh. Not a bad story, but just kinda doesn't feel right in the context of this book. So far, my least favorite in this collection. The Man Who Loved Flowers - 4.5 stars Now that is an awesome way to tell a whole story in 6 pages. Well executed and mysterious. To be blunt, young love can be painful! One for the Road - 4.5 stars We've been here before . . . many times . . . and we will definitely go here again someday. But, whenever we go, evil is sure to follow. A very creepy sequel! The Woman in the Room - 2.5 stars As my mother is in a nursing home, I struggled a bit with this one. Kind of an unexpected end to this collection. I think it would have done better to end on the story before this one.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Fabian

    These are short stories (though not really novellas) which actually serve as delectable intros to popular King mythologies (for a staggering example see [or better yet, don't {with the exception of "Trucks" a.k.a. "Maximum Overdrive" for B-level entertainment and "Children of the Corn" with its quaint moments of childlike chills}] all the movies made from like eight of these tales.) Here, King is at his most bizarre, most morbid. Most of his part-time heroes & (just a few) heroines, end up d These are short stories (though not really novellas) which actually serve as delectable intros to popular King mythologies (for a staggering example see [or better yet, don't {with the exception of "Trucks" a.k.a. "Maximum Overdrive" for B-level entertainment and "Children of the Corn" with its quaint moments of childlike chills}] all the movies made from like eight of these tales.) Here, King is at his most bizarre, most morbid. Most of his part-time heroes & (just a few) heroines, end up dead or suffering the loss of a child, wife, mother. Sometimes one story seems to bleed onto another one by motif (corn... rats... snow... death machines... death [duh]). The editing I must admit is masterful. The most avant-garde stories bookend it nicely; it even makes reference to 'Salem's Lot, one book I must admit I still have to read, and there are comical undertones & some misogynist parts (!!!!). I love how un-Stephen King this is, for someone who's used to being satisfied with around 76% of his work.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Will M.

    Also posted at my blog: https://killerscorpion.wordpress.com/... I find it really difficult to review short stories, especially anthologies. Night Shift is a collection of King's short stories, and if I'm not mistaken, this is a collection of the first short stories he wrote in his early years of writing. The most shocking thing you have to know is that the writing is not outdated. That's the thing about King, I've read his first book Carrie and the writing of it still felt like he wrote it mon Also posted at my blog: https://killerscorpion.wordpress.com/... I find it really difficult to review short stories, especially anthologies. Night Shift is a collection of King's short stories, and if I'm not mistaken, this is a collection of the first short stories he wrote in his early years of writing. The most shocking thing you have to know is that the writing is not outdated. That's the thing about King, I've read his first book Carrie and the writing of it still felt like he wrote it months ago. Amazing author indeed. I'm unsure of what to write here. It would make this review damn long if I were to review each short story, so I'll just list down my favorites, and not so favorites, then give a brief explanation why I liked/disliked it. The ones not mentioned were either likable or boring. The likes: Graveyard Shift Something about mutated rats really caught my interest. I'm not normally afraid of rats, but if ever I see one as big as the ones described in this short story, then I would probably be scared as hell. Night Surf The basis for The Stand, which is one of my favorites novels of all time. It was short but quite satisfying. I liked how King introduced the disease that would cause so much havoc in The Stand. Quitter's Inc Honestly it would be a sin not to like this. No spoilers along your way though, so all I can say is choose your decisions wisely. It has been proven how addictive smoking is. I've never smoked in my life, and after reading this, I don't think I ever will. The plot presented here is not unlikely to happen in real life, and that's the reason why this was so scary and entertaining at the same time. The Woman In The Room Originality might not be the most prominent factor of this short story, but it was executed quite nicely. I liked the main character and it was a satisfying short read. Sometimes They Come Back Please don't let them come back. The main character here was really likable, and the supernatural element was creepy as fuck. Good thing I was reading this one in the afternoon. A bit scarier than Pet Sematary if one were to look at the bigger picture. The Ledge Who doesn't like to read about gambling/bets? I sure do. The deceiver becomes the deceived. I Know What You Need Creepy as fuck if ever I meet a woman of the same kind as the weird man in this one. For me this tackled psychological factors with a pinch of supernatural element/s along the way. Typical King. Amazing. and last, my favorite of them all, The Boogeyman I read The Boogeyman at one in the morning. That was the worst decision I've ever made in my reading life, so far (maybe alongside Pet Sematary). This one was fucking scary I had to turn on the lights right after. As none of you know, I'm a bit of a nocturnal person. I'm most productive at night, and being a Stephen King fan doesn't really bode well with the nocturnal life. Really likable characters that were fully developed despite this being a short story. The Boogeyman was fucking scary and the ending scared me the most. The best of the whole collection. There are the ones that I disliked. I don't think I should do an "in-depth" review of them anymore because the ones that I did like managed to make this review long already. Let me just comment on how much I hated Jerusalem's Lot but really liked One for The Road . Both are related to 'Salem's Lot, a novel that I really didn't like. I was expecting to like JL so that I could have a better reread of 'Salem's Lot in the future, but nope, I hated it just as much. Another noteworthy disappointment would be Gray Matter . I'm sure it was showcased at the back of the book for a reason, but I'm quite unsure of what that reason would be. 4.5/5 stars. Not a perfect collection but some will never be forgotten. This collection was executed beautifully considering this was written in King's early writing years. There's a reason why King is my favorite author, and most of his works prove my point. This is one of those works. Read this if you want to be scared, and I'd recommend reading this at night.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    As I continue my Stephen King binge, I seem to be leaning more towards his short story collections. As I've said before Stephen King is one of the best short story writers around. Night Shift was a bit of a mixed bag but there were way more great stories then bad ones. My favorite stories were The Boogeyman in which a man learns to keep he's closet doors closed, Grey Matter in which we all learn that beer is bad, Sometimes They Come Back in which a teacher finds out that you can't out run your pa As I continue my Stephen King binge, I seem to be leaning more towards his short story collections. As I've said before Stephen King is one of the best short story writers around. Night Shift was a bit of a mixed bag but there were way more great stories then bad ones. My favorite stories were The Boogeyman in which a man learns to keep he's closet doors closed, Grey Matter in which we all learn that beer is bad, Sometimes They Come Back in which a teacher finds out that you can't out run your past, Quitters, Inc. in which a man learns that he should have read the fine print, Children of the Corn kids are monsters and corn is important, and The Man Who Loved Flowers in which we meet a young man who won't give up on love. I really only had 3 stories I disliked: Number 1 was The Lawnmower Man I don't even want to talk about it. It was awful Number 2: Trucks, so boring. Number 3 : Graveyard Shift, damn RATS! Night Shift is a vintage read and some stories are super dated but as I said before there are more great and timeless stories in this collection then there are clunkers. No rec. Either you like Stephen King or you don't.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Edward Lorn

    First read this collection when I was... twenty, I think. Not sure. Does it matter? Probably not. Three things to mention before hitting you with my one sentence reviews: I forgot how much of King's early work tied into these stories, and how much I enjoyed his non-horror outings. Truth be told, I probably didn't like the more literary stories that I read once upon a when because I was a tried and true idiot in those days (I'm still an idiot, but my wife turned me into a functioning idiot, and I First read this collection when I was... twenty, I think. Not sure. Does it matter? Probably not. Three things to mention before hitting you with my one sentence reviews: I forgot how much of King's early work tied into these stories, and how much I enjoyed his non-horror outings. Truth be told, I probably didn't like the more literary stories that I read once upon a when because I was a tried and true idiot in those days (I'm still an idiot, but my wife turned me into a functioning idiot, and I say thankee sai). Finally, this is probably the most fun anyone will ever have with a King collection. There are stories in here that are simply fucking cool. The concepts are fun, even if they are a tad bit violent, but there's a heaping helping of humor to go along with the sadness and the terror. I don't think any other collection, novella, or novel of his can match the sheer entertainment factor of this, his first published collection. You might disagree; and if you do, give some examples in the comment section. Once again, I know there's scarier and more moving stories of his out there, but do you think any of them are thing much fun? On with the single-sentence reviews: "Jerusalem's Lot" - King's first attempt at Lovecraft fan fiction is a three-star outing for me because of the epistolary style, which I don't like. "Graveyard Shift" - Four stars worth of nasty fun that shows King's not opposed to the time-tested rule of get in, get dirty, and get out. "Night Surf" - A four-star jaunt back into a Captain Trips-ravaged world that I dug quite a bit. "I am the Doorway" - A tasty tidbit of sci fi horror that gets under your skin and explains that the cover you see above is quite literal in this four-star outing. "The Mangler" - Five demon-possessed pieces of industrial laundry equipment out of five for being the goriest thing I've read all year. "Grey Matter" - I'm going deeper into this one. I believe this story was the catalyst to great many things in the King-verse. The "Grays" from Tommyknockers and Dreamcatcher make an appearance, as well as a little story about a man going into a Bangor sewer to find a giant spider. The man comes out with his hair white as snow, and dies two years later, crazy as a shithouse rat. Of course these are only my theories, but I'm giving this story five stars based on possible coolness factor alone. "Battleground" - Ten pages and four star's worth of big fun that any kid who's ever played with little green army men will enjoy. "Trucks" - Three stars for the story that inspired the movie Maximum Overdrive, that B-movie masterpiece penned by King himself. "Sometimes They Come Back" - Two stars for this predictable little ditty that never has struck the right chord with me. "Strawberry Spring" - This five-star number is probably up there in my top ten Stephen King shorts; short stories, not the man's knickers. "The Ledge" - A different kind of three-star thriller that makes me wonder why King has written two tales (the novel Cujo, and this seventeen-page story) about a woman who has an affair with her tennis instructor. "The Lawnmower Man" - This two-star pile of offal was turned into a movie so horrible, King himself requested his name be stricken from the credits, but the story was just as bad as the movie, even though neither one had shit to do with the other. "Quitters, Inc" - I honestly cannot believe that the same man who wrote "The Lawnmower Man" wrote "Quitters, Inc.", because this five-star tale of willpower and familial love is altogether a horse of a different color. "I Know What You Need" - This three-star read first appeared in Cosmopolitan, and that's all I have to say about that. "Children of the Corn" - My favorite story in this collection easily gets all the stars, because kids and corn are scary, yo! "The Last Rung on the Ladder" - Well that one was a mule kick to the feels, so I guess it gets all the stars too. "The Man Who Loves Flowers" - Gets four stars based on nostalgia factor alone, as I believe it's the first short story of King's that I ever sampled. "One for the Road" - The second to last story in this collection gets four stars simply for being a companion to 'Salem's Lot. "The Woman in the Room" - Is an emotionally driven four-star effort that hits a little too close to home for me. Notable names: This time around, King references his other books in multiple ways, but mostly by the towns that would come to host some of his most famous works. Below you will find a list of these towns, and any names that struck a chord with me. Hemingford Home Derry Jerusalem's Lot Gates Falls Haven Patrick Hockstetter (this name pops up all throughout the King-verse, but I don't think it's the same person every time, mainly because, when he's just a teen, Hockstetter dies at the hands of Pennywise, yet he goes on to write a book that's referenced in Carrie then becomes a scientist in Firestarter.) In summation: Probably the most fun you will have with Stephen King. From animated army men to great beasts that tromp behind the rows, this collection is sure to please. Highly ecommended. (Author's note: I said I wouldn't be doing his collections during my massive reread of King's catalog, but I'm well ahead of schedule, so here you go. I plan on doing a decade of Kingly works every three months. I started in October, and have read everything he published between 1974 and 1984. Aside from Different Seasons, I'm all caught up with that time period. I think I'll do the audio books of those next...)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Alejandro

    Stephen King’s first anthology! The general rating is an average result of each individual rating of the stories contained in the anthology. JERUSALEM’S LOT Rating: *** ( 3 stars ) This is a short story which serves as an introductory prequel if you later wanted to read Salem’s Lot novel. Set in 1850, Charles Boones inherited the Chapelwaite manor, which is feared by the people of Preacher’s Corners town, and that has a dark connection with Jerusalem’s Lot, a deserted village, quite near of the Stephen King’s first anthology! The general rating is an average result of each individual rating of the stories contained in the anthology. JERUSALEM’S LOT Rating: *** ( 3 stars ) This is a short story which serves as an introductory prequel if you later wanted to read Salem’s Lot novel. Set in 1850, Charles Boones inherited the Chapelwaite manor, which is feared by the people of Preacher’s Corners town, and that has a dark connection with Jerusalem’s Lot, a deserted village, quite near of the manor. When you started to hear something inside the walls… …it’s the beginning of the end. GRAVEYARD SHIFT Rating: **** ( 4 stars ) During the holiday weekend of Fourth of July, in a mill, it’s offered to several employees to get an extra bonus for cleaning a very old basement that it hasn’t been cleaned for 12 years… …obviously there are rats, but oddly there aren’t as much as you may expect… …where have gone the rest of them? NIGHT SURF Rating: * ( 1 stars ) A bunch of awful teenagers go to the beach at night, in the middle of an apocalyptical world where the most of population have died due a contagious decease. I AM THE DOORWAY Rating: **** ( 4 stars ) In a parallel reality where the NASA space program was able not only reaching the Moon, but also Mars, during a mission to Venus, one of the astronauts suffered an accident, losing the ability to walk, but got in his hands a very twisted and dangerous ability instead. THE MANGLER Rating: ***** ( 5 stars ) In an industrial laundry facility, due an odd series of coincidences, a speed ironer machine tasted blood… …and it liked it. THE BOOGEYMAN Rating: ***** ( 5 stars ) A man goes to the psychiatrist to talk out his strange and deadly past experiences that caused the death of all his children… …and never lose of sight the closet’s door. GRAY MATTER Rating: ** ( 2 stars ) A kid arrived to a bar, and one of the customers offered to take him back to his appartment, where his odd dad is wating. BATTLEGROUND Rating: *** ( 3 stars ) A profesional hitman suffered the revenge of a toyman whom he killed. TRUCKS Rating: **** ( 4 stars ) Madness is unleashed in a gas station when trucks and semi-trailers got alive and started to kill any human around, until a small bunch of survivors got trapped in the dinner, part of the gas station facility. SOMETIMES THEY COME BACK Rating: ***** ( 5 stars ) Two young brothers cross fates with a gang of punks, and after one of the brothers died, the other escapes. Years later, the surviving brother got married and became an English teacher… …however, after Xmas break, his students started to die, while getting odd replacement students. STRAWBERRY SPRING Rating: ***** ( 5 stars ) During a “strawberry spring”, a kind of false mini season, provoking fog at nights, perfect ambiance for a serial killer’s murdering spree at New Sharon College… …the Springheel Jack killer is loose! Several students are murdered and panic is everywhere at the New Sharon College. Eight years later, the “strawberry spring” is back, the fog is back, and… …the Sprinheel Jack killer is back! THE LEDGE Rating: **** ( 4 stars ) Something that you shouldn’t do is having an affair with the wife of a criminal lord… …and other thing that you shouldn’t try is playing odd bets. THE LAWNMOWER MAN Rating: ***** ( 5 stars ) There is a successful lawnmowing company, however, none client has ever being able to see who s the owner of it, one of the clients decided to take a peek and found out the mystery… …but there are mystery beyond your wildest nightmares and they should remain unknown. QUITTERS, INC. Rating: ***** ( 5 stars ) Some people say that habits are nasty things… …but sometimes, quitting those habits can be even nastier things… …not only for the addict… …but his/her family too. I KNOW WHAT YOU NEED Rating: *** ( 3 stars ) In war and love, everything goes… …but there should be limits for some used stuff. CHILDREN OF THE CORN Rating: ***** ( 5 stars ) Vicky and Burt, are a troubling married couple, doing a road trip through the heart of the United States, hoping to save their fragile marriage. However, when they are traveling alongside of a massive cornfield, they hit a boy with their car, but when they checked the body, they noticed that they boy had his throat already sliced and he was almost dead when hit. They opted to take the kid’s body to the nearest town which the map says is Gatlin, but when they arrived there, it’s a ghost town and everything seemed to stop 12 years ago… …however, the town isn’t as deserted as it seemed… …and zealot kids isn’t the only thing that they should be afraid about. THE LAST RUNG ON THE LADDER Rating: **** ( 4 stars ) Heart-breaking tale of two sibbings (brother and sister) and how their strong connection when they were kids was getting weaker and weaker, meanwhile they got older and their paths took separate but kinda of similarly depressing fates. THE MAN WHO LOVED FLOWERS Rating: **** ( 4 stars ) Love is in the air, but so is murder, and the fateful date of a man with the woman who loves will turn into a tragedy. ONE FOR THE ROAD Rating: *** ( 3 stars ) This is a short story which serves as a sequel for the Salem’s Lot novel. Set a couple of years later of the events of Salem’s Lot, in a bar, two men decided to venture into a deadly blizzard to try to save a family stranded just in the middle of the dreadful Jerusalem’s Lot village. THE WOMAN IN THE ROOM Rating: *** ( 3 stars ) Remorse and guilt overwhelm to a troubling man after deciding to end the suffering of his unhealthy mother.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Fabian {Councillor}

    Many readers consider this book to be one of Stephen King's most popular short story collections, and I can't disagree with that opinion ... mostly because it's only the second anthology by King I have read so far. Many original horror stories are included in this collection, with most of them having been adapted into classic horror movies like "Children of the Corn", "Graveyard Shift" or "The Mangler". In its entirety, however, I consider "Night Shift" to be a rather weak collection of short st Many readers consider this book to be one of Stephen King's most popular short story collections, and I can't disagree with that opinion ... mostly because it's only the second anthology by King I have read so far. Many original horror stories are included in this collection, with most of them having been adapted into classic horror movies like "Children of the Corn", "Graveyard Shift" or "The Mangler". In its entirety, however, I consider "Night Shift" to be a rather weak collection of short stories, and critics will certainly find affirmation that King is also able to write true crap. But on the other hand, some of the best short stories which might be discovered in King's writing universe are included here. In the following, I will list a short overview on the particular stories with my opinions on them. Because well, it's impossible for me to review this collection without taking a look at each of the stories itself, with so many crappy and so many fantastic short stories combined in one book. 1) Jerusalem's Lot (2,5/5 stars) The first short story in Stephen King's first anthology deals with the origins of the fictional town Jerusalem's Lot which the reader already knows from 'Salem's Lot. However, the story hasn't a lot in common with the novel counterpart, and whoever expects to find the roots of Kurt Barlow and the vampires will end up being disappointed. In epistolary form, Stephen King allows us to take a look at the story of a man called Charles Boone, who inherits the estate Chapelwaite and soon realizes that something with his new residence is not quite the way it should be. Nothing felt particularly outstanding in this story except for the epistolary structure, and as an introduction to the anthology it was a little bit deterring to me. 2) Graveyard Shift (3/5 stars) Imagine working in a mill. No light except for electric torches. A bullying foreman who wants you to keep working, no matter what happens. And big, fat rats straying through the mill ... I'll give a piece of advice to you: Don't read this story if you have a rat phobia. Don't read this story if you like your protagonists realistic and without weird changes in behaviour. And definitely don't read this story if you intend to enter a cave or a mill anytime soon. It might not be your wisest idea in those cases. "Graveyard Shift" was a good story with creepy moments, but certainly with too much build-up in the beginning and too much speed in the ending. 3) Night Surf (1/5 stars) »Even his big radio/tape-player was hardly more than a nice-looking hunk of junk.« I'll borrow that quote from King's own story and apply it here to describe it. 'Hunk of junk' is actually pretty appropriate. I can't even explain what this story is about because it frustrated and bored me so much. 4) I am the Doorway (4/5 stars) A crossover between the genres Horror and Sci-Fi, this story fantastically explores the effects of a confrontation of one human being with alien powers. I was hooked from the beginning and suffered vicariously my way through to the ending along with a hardly remarkable protagonist who turned into an interesting character because of his fate - as, after being exposed to a certain mutagen, tiny eyeballs break out on his fingertips ... 5) The Mangler (1/5 stars) Ridiculous attempt to write about a haunted laundry. Let's better forget this story even exists. 6) The Boogeyman (3/5 stars) A father who has lost all three of his children to 'the boogeyman' visits a psychiatrist to tell about the terrifying deeds which have been committed against his family. One of the more frightening stories, but certainly also belonging to the more forgettable ones in this collection. 7) Grey Matter (1/5 stars) This one just didn't catch my attention or attract my interest. I forgot what it was about ten minutes after reading it. 8) Battleground (1/5 stars) I didn't get what this was supposed to be. A man attacked by tiny soldiers one inch and a half big? ... Seriously? Was Mr. King on drugs while he wrote this? 9) Trucks (1/5 stars) A small town is attacked by haunted trucks, that's the basic essence of this short story. It may be used as the exact definition of ridiculousness. No soul behind these words; no sense behind this plot; no characteristics behind these appearing persons. Just another stupid story to be forgotten. You may think that I was so frustrated after those first nine stories that I was tempted to give up on it? Well, yes, I certainly was. But I kept telling myself to continue, not to abandon this, to believe in the power of King's writing ... And he proved me right. 10) Sometimes they come back (3,5/5 stars) In one of the longest stories of the collection, Stephen King explores the life of a teacher for English literature who has been marked by a traumatic event of his past. Now, one after another, new students enter his class. And they look exactly like the teenagers who have attacked and killed his brother - about fifteen years ago ... A very good story with a lot of action, insight and interesting twists and turns. I would have liked to read a full-length novel of this with a more fleshed-out protagonist; the potential was clearly visible. 11) Strawberry Spring (4/5 stars) Do you know this feeling when you're reading a mystery and suddenly have an idea on the potential outcome, which is so unlikely you immediately pass it, but then you realize the author has actually chosen this outcome for his story? I experienced it here, and it made me love the story even more. One of King's less-known stories, but definitely a fine piece of writing. The ending can be spoiled so easily that I will not even attempt to give you an idea of what it is about. 12) The Ledge (5/5 stars) In "The Ledge", a rich man is cheated on by his wife with her tennis instructor. The two men are confronted with each other in the penthouse of a skyscraper. And the husband has to settle a score - he comes up with a plan you will not believe that a human being is able to create. So, so good. This story is one of my favorites from King's works - action, drama, suspense, unbearable tension, believable character motivations, a unique idea and a wonderfully interesting plot - "The Ledge" has everything a good short story is supposed to have. 13) The Lawnmover Man (0/5 stars) Forget it, forget it, forget it. One of the worst short stories ever written. I will introduce zero stars to Goodreads ratings extra for this story. 14) Quitters, Inc. (5/5 stars) A middle-aged man wants to quit smoking and visits someone who claims to be able to make him do so. The man doubts these claims - until he realizes whereupon he got himself into ... This short story is perfect; it's as simple as that. No supernatural elements, but instead chilling and suspenseful writing with an ending which made me swallow more than once. Easily one of my favorite short stories of all time. 15) I Know What You Need (3,5/5 stars) At university, a young woman meets another man who she falls in love with, not knowing how dangerous this connection may turn out to be. Another very good story. Stephen King knows what he is writing, that's for sure (well, if you ignore certain stories like some of those I've mentioned above). I really liked the complex plot and the hidden appearance of supernatural elements. 16) Children of the Corn (3/5 stars) A married couple enters a deserted village with only children inhabiting it - and they clearly have no idea of how to welcome strangers with politeness. Of all the twenty stories in this collection, the one I was most excited about didn't work at all for me. It was scary, yes, scary and thrilling with the religious fanatiscism included, very atmospheric and creepy. Maybe it should have been longer - the potential for a full-length novel was clearly present. Everything felt a little bit too underdeveloped for me. 17) The Last Rung on the Ladder (3,5/5 stars) This story deals with the adventures of a young boy and his sister in their childhood. Too short to be really able to explore the characters, but with a surprising twist, a realistic story and suspenseful writing. It's interesting to see how King is able to delve deep into a character's mind within only seven pages. Definitely one of his better stories. 18) The Man Who Loved Flowers (2,5/5 stars) It's impossible to say what this story is about without spoiling it. King came up with an interesting concept and an unexpected turn, but on only four pages it was nearly impossible to get into the story. 19) One for the Road (4/5 stars) A deserted town. A heavy snowstorm. Vampires lurking in the dark. Sounds like everyone would want to be right in the middle of this scenario, doesn't it? This story creeped me out. It is by far the scariest one in the entire collection. You should avoid reading it in the middle of the night, just like I should have done. 20) The Woman in the Room (3/5 stars) A very serious and highly relevant issue portrayed with very weird writing. From a writing point, this story might be worst executed in comparison to all the other stories (if you ignore the Lawnmover Man). It profits from emotion and potential alike. In conclusion, "Night Shift" did not live up to my expectations, but it also didn't disappoint me. Even if you are not interested in Horror or King's writing in general, you should give either "The Ledge" or "Quitters, Inc" a try. Both stories don't include any paranormal activities, but they cover interesting subjects and will keep you on the edge of your seat. It's a must-read for fans of Stephen King's writing and the Horror genre in general, but if you don't consider yourself to belong to one of those parties, then you might think about skipping these stories (apart from "The Ledge" and "Quitters, Inc", of course). But then, with readers raving about this collection everywhere, maybe I'm not the one to trust in this matter ...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Beverly

    This is a good, creepy collection. As in lots of short story books, he seemed to place the best ones towards the end. My favorites are the ones that have no supernatural elements at all: "The Ledge", The Last Rung on the Ladder", The Man Who Loved Flowers and the very last story, The Woman in the Room". King is a king of the horror and devastation we feel in real life and that is plenty scary.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Christy

    In this book we are treated to much of Stephen King's earliest published writing, a full 10 stories (half of this book), were released in magazines, before his first novel, Carrie, was set loose on us. I was pleasantly surprised by these early works, as it seems to me King is not one of those authors who needs to develop a lot of skill over time....I have heard/read that often writers do their best work when their bellies are not too full (I am aware that this is a misquote, by King himself...p In this book we are treated to much of Stephen King's earliest published writing, a full 10 stories (half of this book), were released in magazines, before his first novel, Carrie, was set loose on us. I was pleasantly surprised by these early works, as it seems to me King is not one of those authors who needs to develop a lot of skill over time....I have heard/read that often writers do their best work when their bellies are not too full (I am aware that this is a misquote, by King himself...perhaps Duma Key was one of the places), and the case is proven to me here. These are from the period he was trying to feed his young family, as well as get his foot in the door. The earliest published one seems to be Strawberry Spring, published in 1968, six years prior to Carrie (which was meant to be a short story in itself, for another magazine, that his wife Tabitha dug out of the garbage, and encouraged him to turn it into a novel...that story is in my review of Carrie, so I won't bore anyone with further comments on it...except to say...Yay! to Tabitha one more time...she gave him shoves and suggestions all along, good ones, and King's fan's owe her a lot). The pre-Carrie ones are, for the most, part collected near the beginning of the book, including such hits and misses (depending on the reader, of course) as Graveyard Shift (1970), Night Surf, which is related to The Stand, the amazing book that isn't released until almost a full decade after the magazine article (1969), I am The Doorway (1971), The Mangler (1972), The Boogyman (1973), Grey Matter (1973), Battleground (1972), Trucks (1973), Strawberry Spring (1968), Sometimes They Come Back was published in March of 1974. With Carrie's release being just the next month, It's safe to say that it was probably NOT written Pre-Carrie. Out of this collection came a large number of movies (9 again), as well. Either for the big screen, or small. I'll talk about those, along with the stories, but again, I was amazed by the number his early work inspired. (Though some are definitely best forgotten!) This book is *almost* bookended with stories related to one of my favorite King books, 'Salem's Lot, we start out with Jerusalem's Lot, a prequel that seems long, and is written in the epistolary style, I both read and listened to it, and found this story worked best for me when I listened to it, closing my eyes to get a picture of the creepy tale. It is very Lovecraftian in style. The second to last story in the book is the so-called sequel, One for the Road, which is a good story, yet originally disappointing because it did not let us know the outcome of the main characters from the original story. Yet, reading it again, it is good and lets us know (view spoiler)[ things have definitely gotten worse in that town. It is an interesting read, though, to see how much it has affected the surrounding towns. (hide spoiler)] The short story is also good at bringing the characters in it to life, in the short pages, and has it's fair share of fear. For those reasons I liked the story. I am not going to write about each of these stories, mainly because I'm no good at rating each individual story. This book gets 5* from me because of some of the things I mentioned above, and that I really enjoyed reading it. I only plan to mention some of my most and least favorites. I was going to limit myself to the five I liked best (it was too hard). I liked Graveyard shift (this, and The Mangler are the two movies I have yet to see), The Mangler (I really was surprised how much I liked a story about a stem ironer coming to life! Another cool part of it was a tie-in I noticed to IT, (view spoiler)[ They talk a bit about an old refrigerator at a dump--with the same things entering it, as in the story IT...if you've read IT, you will probably notice this part, even though this was written first (hide spoiler)] ), I am the Doorway (what a cool story!!! I read this AND listened to it a few times), The Boogyman (again, so incredibly great....and that closet....reminds me of closets in other books, like Cujo, but oh, so good, with one of the best endings in the book! This is another I both read and listened to a few times-I just liked it that much!), The Ledge (this one isn't horror, but it is nerve-racking....and the end is tremendous. Payback is a b*tch! Again, read AND listened to.), Quitters Inc. (One of the best from the entire collection! This one, and The Ledge are both handled very well in the movie Cat's Eye), The Last Wrung on the Ladder (There's a moral to this one: Keep up with your family!!! Well written, yet with a heart-tugging ending). Finally, The one that hit very close to home for me, The Woman in the Room. It got me, because I can see myself as that woman. I didn't think I could read this one at first. I put it off for days. I can read about all the pain in the world...as long as it's tied to some sort of unrealistic horror. This ad story was only too real. It's not horrific, unless you live with day-to-day chronic--at times unbearable--pain. I was able to read this story, though. I actually had to schedule it into my life. I knew I could deal with it if I had it ready to read after mu afternoon dose of medication (which puts me in the tolerable camp). And I got it read. Mini-triumph for me! It's a sad story, raising a polarizing question. You'll know what that question is is you have read it. Very sad...terrible doctor, that you just hope ends up the same way someday--when you're feeling ugly mad, that is. The worst story for me was The Lawnmower man, which also had one of the worst movies I've ever seen named after it. Stephen King even sued to have his name removed from it, and really....it had *almost* nothing at all to do with the story at all; in fact it inspired the film Virtuosity, which was released a few years later....and the jump from the short story King wrote to the movie Virtuosity is a long one. I'm surprised Pierce Brosnan was in The Lawnmower Man...it was so ridiculous. King's story wasn't great, but it came nowhere near the absolute horribleness of the movie. ********As for horrible movies based off of these short stories, it would be a great oversight not to mention Maximum Overdrive, based on the story Trucks (which surprised me, actually [the story, that is], in how much I enjoyed it....only King could get me interested in trucks circling a diner!). This movie was so bad, I wasted my rental fee, by turning the idiotic thing off.... YET, this is a most interesting movie to discuss!!!! First off, it was King's first, and only directorial effort, not only did it lose money in the box office, further was lost when King and others were sued. See, there were a few accidents on the set. One was especially ironic AND horrific. During one scene, a radio controlled lawnmower went crazy--Striking a block of wood supporting a camera, which sent chunks of wood flying and cost the director of photography an eye. After the Box-office loss, there went another 18 million. This film was nominated, very deservedly, for a couple of Golden Raspberry Awards. King swore off directing, later admitting to being "coked up" the whole time, not knowing what he was doing. It shows. If you are an AC/DC fan, there is a silver lining....the album Who Made Who was released as the soundtrack to this movie. At least that album had some winners in it, including You Shook Me All Night Long, Hells Bells, and of course the title track.******* On to the small screen. The story Battleground had an exceptionally well done episode of Nightmares and Dreamscapes based upon it, starring William Hurt...and I swear I recognized one of those tiny soldiers...from somewhere. Very good--worth the watch if you loved the story. One other on television: Sometimes They Come Back, was so-so...not for me, story or movie, though the acting wasn't horrible and I'd say look it up if you did like the story. There were two stories that weren't bad, but I saw the end from the first page in both of them. Those were the stories Strawberry Spring and The Man who Loved Flowers. Again, not bad at all, I was just hoping I wasn't right and there would be a twist. Still, Strawberry Spring especially is worth the read. Liked the atmosphere even though I saw the end coming...yes, it was still good. Overall: Great Book. Not to be missed! And interesting side stories everywhere!!!!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Adriana

    Note to self: do not read ANYTHING written by Stephen King after dark. Nothing. Not even if it happens to be comedy, or non-fiction, or freaking poetry. Haven’t you been traumatized enough? You can’t see a clown without pissing yourself! Not that it’s hard to scare me though. I’m the kind of girl that needs to have every light on when she goes downstairs to grab a glass of water, one of those people who knows something’s right behind ready to grab me if I don't reach the second floor as fast as Note to self: do not read ANYTHING written by Stephen King after dark. Nothing. Not even if it happens to be comedy, or non-fiction, or freaking poetry. Haven’t you been traumatized enough? You can’t see a clown without pissing yourself! Not that it’s hard to scare me though. I’m the kind of girl that needs to have every light on when she goes downstairs to grab a glass of water, one of those people who knows something’s right behind ready to grab me if I don't reach the second floor as fast as possible and one of these days my mom is going to call and find nothing but shattered glass and nail marks in the wood… That little show of paranoia should show you that I’m a bit of a masochist when it comes to horror. It should also indicate you that most of the stars given to this short story collection come from King’s talent to scare me shitless. From electronic appliances from hell to the torture of memories, these tales bring to your door a big bag of uncomfortable feelings and triggers for insomnia. Among the ones that impacted me the most are: - Jerusalem’s Lot:This was the reason I decided to read this book in the first place. It’s a sort of prequel to the events of Salem’s Lot: a man moves into a house that once belonged to his ancestors and progressively discovers an unsettling relation between his family and a ghost town called Jerusalem’s Lot. The story stands on its own well; it doesn’t require prior knowledge of the novel to enjoy it (although it certainly helps) and the style reminded me a little of Lovecraft and Sheridan Le Fanu. For those of us familiar with Salem’s Lot, it reinforces the idea of the existence of places that attract evil, be it in the form of vampires, serial killers, or even gigantic worms from hell. - I am the Doorway: An astronaut has to deal with the after effects of an exploration to Venus that goes really, really wrong. This one was creepy as hell, and it plays with the concept of close encounters in a way that I found very original. It made me want to scratch myself all over. - The Mangler: Here Kings answers the one question we’ve all asked ourselves at one point in our lives: What would happen if a demon possessed a laundry folding machine? What’s that? You don’t believe that anyone could wonder such a thing? They even made a movie!! (Starred by Robert Englund, no less) But seriously, it’s a good story. Those laundry machines are fucking evil. - The Boogeyman: This is the reason why I can’t open my closet door during the night. I originally read this story when I was 16 years old, living through my first winter in the house of my host parents, and it scared me so bad I considered the possibility of going upstairs and begging (at that point) virtual strangers to let me sleep with them. Here, let me give you an idea of what I looked like: In case you’re wondering, this little gem tells the story of a single psychotherapy session with a man who’s convinced that the boogeyman has killed his three children, and is now trying to get him. - Grey Matter: Have you ever thought about the worst thing that could happen from eating rotten food? The result could turn you into a cross between and , so please check the expiration date of everything you eat. - Sometimes They Come Back:I knew I was going to like this one right from the title. When ghost from the past force a high school teacher to come to terms with some memories buried deep within, he has to employ some drastic measures to preserve what little remains of his sanity. And it also has a movie coming up sometime next year!! - Strawberry Spring:A serial killer haunts a college campus during the strawberry spring. I saw the ending coming from a mile away, but it was still a pretty good story and I really recommend it. - The Lawnmower Man: All I can tell you about this story without spoiling it is that you’ll want to get off your lazy ass and take care of your own lawn. This story was weird and wonderful and made me very weary of the man that is in charge of the lawn in my neighbor’s house. - Quitters, Inc.: “Quitters” is a story that will hold a special appeal to smokers. The proposed method is unorthodox to say the least, and quite chilling, but if that doesn’t cure you then nothing will. - Children of the Corn:I know this story spawned around seven movies that I don’t plan to see. It’s about a couple on the brink of a painful divorce that gets lost in the middle of nowhere… well, to say it better, in the middle of the Kingdom ruled by “He Who Walks Behind the Rows”. The disturbing factor of “Children of the Corn” is high, probably because it reminded me of kids like this little dude: Mexican Preacher. Little preachers always give me the chills. - The Last Rung on the Ladder: The following contains spoilers, you’ve been warned: (view spoiler)[ So… one of my uncles killed himself about a month after I turned 15. My cousin found him in the early hours of the morning strapped to a bed; apparently after ingesting cyanide one tends to get frantic because it feels like drowning, and my uncle thought it best to prevent any outburst that could alert family members of what was happening. What I remember the most about the whole event was waking up at dawn and finding my dad in his room crying. He held me and said that on my birthday party my uncle had tried to talk to him, but my dad had brushed him off telling my uncle that he needed to get his act together before asking anyone else for help. Now he wished he could turn back time and do a better job being a brother… I know that this memory still eats him alive from time to time, and it’s probably scarier than the most terrible thing my frantic mind can come up with at any given moment. Reading this short piece of fiction was like reliving that morning all over again, and it still brings tears to my eyes. It was very moving story, and it’s probably going to stay in my heart longer than anything else in this collection. (hide spoiler)] - One for the Road: The second reason for picking up this collection is right here. It attempts to give a sort of continuation to the events of Salem’s Lot, but all I could think while reading it was (view spoiler)[ What happened to Mark and Ben????? What did they do after the fire? Did they leave? But it didn’t look like that was their intention!!!!! Did they try to go after the remaining vampires? But why are the creatures back then? YOU’RE KILLING ME MR. KING!!!!!!!! (hide spoiler)] . I’d like to think the best though, and it is in its own right a good vampire story, so I’m recommending it. And tonight I’m sleeping with my parents, just in case. - The Woman in the Room: The central theme of this story is terrifying, but not for the reasons you think. If a loved one is suffering from a terminal illness that has taken away the most basic aspects of his dignity, do you let the disease run its course or do you do something about it? I don’t think that SK is trying to pass judgment on either answer here but, for what it’s worth, I think it’s at least important to ask the question. (oh, and the story is also very good, so read it please :) ) In conclusion: please do yourself a favor and read this book. You’re bound to find at least one story that tickles your fancy.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dannii Elle

    I've spent the past week alternating between two King books (as well as about 500 others!). I've been making my slow progress through The Stand, by reading a handful of pages every morning, and also reading about three or four stories from his anthology, Night Shift, just after it. Night Shift is an anthology of his shorter fiction and was published just before The Stand. The stories here vary in length but none are longer than forty pages and all are centred around the theme of fear. You're prob I've spent the past week alternating between two King books (as well as about 500 others!). I've been making my slow progress through The Stand, by reading a handful of pages every morning, and also reading about three or four stories from his anthology, Night Shift, just after it. Night Shift is an anthology of his shorter fiction and was published just before The Stand. The stories here vary in length but none are longer than forty pages and all are centred around the theme of fear. You're probably thinking that this is the focus of much of King's writing, which is correct, but this anthology is directly focused on the protagonist's individual fears and their varied responses when these are manifested into reality. I adored every single story collected here, which is a rare response from me as I have seem to have a much harder time bonding with anthologies as opposed to full length works of fiction. King worked his irrepressible magic, however, and managed to have me lamenting over characters I could only spend a handful of pages with and fearing as disparate creations as possessed laundry machines and Morse-code-conversing trucks. Jerusalem's Lot - 3/5 stars Graveyard Shift - 4/5 stars Night Surf - 4/5 stars I am the Doorway - 4/5 stars The Mangler - 5/5 stars The Boogeyman - 4.5/5 stars Grey Matter - 4/5 stars Battleground - 4/5 stars Trucks - 4.5/5 stars Sometimes They Come Back - 5/5 stars Strawberry Spring - 3.75/5 stars The Ledge - 3/5 stars The Lawnmower Man - 2/5 stars Quitters, Inc - 4/5 stars I Know What You Need - 3/5 stars Children of the Corn - 4/5 stars The Last Rung on the Ladder - 5/5 stars The Man Who Loved Flowers - 5/5 stars One For the Road - 4.5/5 stars The Woman in the Room - 3/5 stars

  13. 4 out of 5

    Johann (jobis89)

    "Let's talk, you and I. Let's talk about fear." Night Shift was Stephen King's first short story collection, released way back in 1978 and it contains quite a lot of his more popular short stories that ended up becoming movies. The prime examples being Children of the Corn and Sometimes They Come Back. King is often hailed as the master of the short story. Prior to this collection I had only read Nightmares & Dreamscapes and The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, and I did really enjoy them, but found it o "Let's talk, you and I. Let's talk about fear." Night Shift was Stephen King's first short story collection, released way back in 1978 and it contains quite a lot of his more popular short stories that ended up becoming movies. The prime examples being Children of the Corn and Sometimes They Come Back. King is often hailed as the master of the short story. Prior to this collection I had only read Nightmares & Dreamscapes and The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, and I did really enjoy them, but found it odd when people would comment things like "Oh it was good, but it was disappointing compared to earlier ones". Well, now I get it, guys! Now I get it. You can quite literally feel King's hunger for story-telling throughout the entirety of this collection and given these stories were written at the very start of his career, the material is all so fresh with absolutely amazing, outrageous ideas. I feel like I should reveal that I am not a huge fan of short stories. I want to get lost in a story with the continuing development of a story and its characters. I want to get to know my main characters inside out, back to front. I want to spend days/weeks thinking about the story and the characters and where it's all going, with the anticipation of getting into bed each night to see what happens next. You don't get this with short stories - they're short, that's their nature. You often don't get to find out what happens or why...there's cliffhangers that are never explored again. There isn't that same pull to keep reading and it can take me longer than usual to get through a short story collection. However, Night Shift has completely changed my perspective on short story collections. I WAS thinking about the book all day, but instead wondering what crazy story King has coming next. I DID have the same urge to keep reading. Some characters were memorable, even though I only got to know them for 30 pages or so. This collection was simply out of this world. I almost don't know where to start reviewing this book, but I guess I can start with my absolute favourites in the collection. I can quite honestly say that there was not a bad story in this entire collection, but the much-anticipated Children of the Corn was as impressive as I imagined and is probably the greatest highlight for me. It was creepy and unsettling and even more terrifying than I could have predicted! Sometimes They Come Back was also a great story, alongside I Am The Doorway, The Mangler, Grey Matter, The Lawnmower Man...okay, I think I'm actually starting to list every single story in the book. The Last Rung on the Ladder was also surprisingly emotional and almost brought a tear to the eye. Only King could evoke such a reaction in such a short story. I had previously read One for the Road as it was included in my edition of 'Salem's Lot, but it was great to read this story again. The only problem is...it makes me want to revisit 'Salem's Lot!! Some stories were downright hilarious and just a joy to read, such as Battleground and The Ledge. It's difficult to even pinpoint my least favourite, but if I absolutely had to chose, I'd probably pick The Man Who Loved Flowers - but even then, I really enjoyed this story. It's unusual to not be able to find a flaw in a short story collection, but I've tried and I literally can't. Definitely my top SK short story collection so far!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    I'm kind of torn on this collection. I think that every story had a good initial idea behind it, but many of them unfortunately lacked a good execution. I often felt that something was just missing...There was no problem with the writing style, these stories just didn't excite me very much and didn't stay in my mind for very long. However, the ones I really liked, were the type of stories I would love to see turn into full-length books! Individual ratings: Jerusalems Lot: 4.5 🌟 Graveyard Shift: 2 🌟 I'm kind of torn on this collection. I think that every story had a good initial idea behind it, but many of them unfortunately lacked a good execution. I often felt that something was just missing...There was no problem with the writing style, these stories just didn't excite me very much and didn't stay in my mind for very long. However, the ones I really liked, were the type of stories I would love to see turn into full-length books! Individual ratings: Jerusalems Lot: 4.5 🌟 Graveyard Shift: 2 🌟 Night Surf: 2 🌟 I Am the Doorway: 3.5 🌟 The Mangler: 3 🌟 The Boogeyman: 3 🌟 Gray Matter: 3.25 Battle Ground: 3 🌟 Trucks: 4 🌟 Sometimes They Come Back: 5 🌟 Strawberry Spring: 4.5 🌟 The Ledge: 3.5 🌟 The Lawnmower Man: 3 🌟 Quitters, Inc.: 5 🌟 I Know What You Need: 4.75 🌟 Children of the Corn: 4.5 🌟 The Last Rung on the Ladder: 4 🌟 The Man Who Loved Flowers: 4.75 🌟 One for the Road: 4.25 🌟 The Woman in the Room: 3 🌟

  15. 5 out of 5

    destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

    I am stunned to admit that, at 25 years old, having been a fan of all things in the horror world for my entire life, I have only just now completed my very first Stephen King novel. I DNFed his books so many times in my teen years because his writing just wasn't for me. I appreciate his style tremendously more now than I ever did in years past, but won't say that I loved all of the stories in this collection. As I usually do with anthology reviews, I'll break it up in pieces. ⇨ Jerusalem's Lot I am stunned to admit that, at 25 years old, having been a fan of all things in the horror world for my entire life, I have only just now completed my very first Stephen King novel. I DNFed his books so many times in my teen years because his writing just wasn't for me. I appreciate his style tremendously more now than I ever did in years past, but won't say that I loved all of the stories in this collection. As I usually do with anthology reviews, I'll break it up in pieces. ⇨ Jerusalem's Lot ★★★★★ "The lamb had not been torn or eaten; it appeared, rather, to have been squeezed until its blood-vessels had forcibly ruptured." The first story is told through letters to an unseen recipient, and follows a man who has moved into an inherited family home, in which he learns of a peculiar superstition in a nearly place called Jerusalem's Lot. Upon exploring the Lot, he finds a twisted, gruesome church. This was probably my favorite story of the collection; the narrative being given through letters was unique and a fun way to frame the events, and the action kept up enough to keep me interested to the end. ⇨ Graveyard Shift ★★★☆☆ When a mill employee agrees to work a bit of overtime cleaning out the factory subbasement, he finds he has bitten off more than he can chew when his colleagues are slowly picked off by massive, mutated rats. Gruesome, morbid, but overall just a bit... "meh". ⇨ Night Surf ★☆☆☆☆ I honestly don't know how to sum up the plot for this story other than telling you there is some sort of disease killing people off. Holy hell, the narrator in this story is horrible , though! He spends 90% of the story fat-shaming his girlfriend and threatening to beat her. ⇨ I Am the Doorway ★★★★☆ "Beneath the bandages, my new eyes stared blindly into the darkness the bandages forced on them. They itched." A trip to space results in a bizarre ailment that causes tiny, cruel eyes to form in a disabled former astronaut's hands. This story made me cringe so hard because it felt super gruesome and disconcerting. King's wordiness really comes in handy with how clearly he paints the scene in this one. ⇨ The Mangler ★★★★★ When a laundromat machine goes haywire, it starts slowly picking off the staff, almost as though it has a mind of its own. Gory, gruesome, bloody, gross, and downright fantastic. If I had to pick just one favorite from this collection, this would be it. ⇨ The Boogeyman ★★★☆☆ "All I did was kill my kids. One at a time. Killed them all." In which a gentleman goes to a therapist to confess how his lack of foresight caused all three of his children to be individually eviscerated by the Boogeyman in the closet. I never quite outgrew my fear of the dark (or closets at night), so this one felt a bit disturbing, but it was hard to enjoy with how positively horrific and cruel the father of the deceased children was. I feel like I would have enjoyed the story more if I'd been able to connect to him in any way, but I'm sensing that the Stephen King of the mid- to late- 70s genuinely enjoyed writing positively horrible characters. ⇨ Gray Matter ★★★★★ When one of the men in town sends his son to pick up his beer, it should be business as usual, but something has scared the poor boy half to death, and he sends the convenience store owner on a mission to investigate. This was such a gross but ultimately delightful story. ⇨ Battleground ★★★☆☆ Life's hard enough when you're a high-profile hit man, but it gets a lot stranger when your latest victim's mother sends a box of toy soldiers to your apartment. Vicious little things. I couldn't tell if I was supposed to be scared or amused by Battleground, but I leaned toward the latter. ⇨ Trucks ★★★☆☆ Vehicles don't need drivers anymore, and without a need for drivers, they don't really see much of a need to leave humans alive, either. What a helluva ride this story was (get it? Ride? I'll see myself out). It's a disconcerting thought, for sure, but I was dying for any sort of backstory to explain why the vehicles were suddenly going on killing sprees, or how it happened. ⇨ Sometimes They Come Back ★★★☆☆ Jim's lucky to find a steady job as a teacher after his latest breakdown. Life has been hell ever since he watched the school bullies kill his older brother, but when he gets a new student that looks awfully familiar, he starts to worry that his past has come back to finish the job. There wasn't anything particularly wrong with this story, but I did find myself bored more often than not, and it all mostly felt very predictable. ⇨ Strawberry Spring ★☆☆☆☆ What happened in this story? I couldn't tell you. There was some murdering going on. I was so bored that I ended up skimming the bulk of this one, sorry. ⇨ The Ledge ★★★★☆ Only an idiot would make a wager that he could walk the perimeter of a building, tens of stories up, with nothing but a five-inch ledge beneath his toes, but when your only other option is imminent death or being framed for a crime you didn't commit, what do you have to lose? I don't even have acrophobia, and I still suddenly became momentarily terrified of heights while reading The Ledge. I positively adored the ending. ⇨ The Lawnmower Man ★★☆☆☆ This is another short story that I can't go into much without telling you the entire plot, but let me say that it is super bizarre, super gross, and I will probably never look at lawn clippings the same way again. ⇨ Quitters, Inc. ★★★★☆ How quickly could you overcome an addiction if your loved ones' very lives depended on it? Quitters, Inc. has a surprisingly unique story - I can't say I've ever read anything quite along the same lines - and was pretty anxiety-inducing, to be fair. ⇨ I Know What You Need ★★★☆☆ Doesn't everyone's dream partner know exactly what they need? This one just didn't strike me as particularly creepy. I really wanted more insight into why Ed was this creepy little dude, but we never got any of that, as was the case with most of the stories in this collection. This story was the point in the anthology where I realized I'd much rather the collection have been 10 stories instead of 20, if it would have included them being fleshed out a bit more. ⇨ Children of the Corn ★★★★★ "Something had happened in 1964. Something to do with religion, and corn... and children." Here we are: the very reason I picked up this collection! If you've ever seen the film by the same name, this short story is what it was inspired by. I've always had a soft spot for horror including children and/or cults, and this creepy little number packs a punch with both of them. It was fun to see where the film came from, and it was a nice refresher course on why I hate corn fields. ⇨ The Last Rung on the Ladder ★★☆☆☆ Yet another story that I am at a loss for how to describe to you without just telling you the entire plot. This short story really has two separate "veins" and they're obviously connected, but at the same time, I felt like they were very disjointed from one another. Plus, snooze fest. ⇨ The Man Who Loved Flowers ★☆☆☆☆ All you need to know about this one is that the first 85% of it is just about a man buying flowers. ⇨ One for the Road ★★★★☆ In the next-to-last story, we get to revisit Jerusalem's Lot, only it's now been renamed... you guessed it, right? Salem's Lot. I loved how this story circled back to the first one, though it's set in much more recent times than the first piece of the collection. There's a bit of insight given to the resulting lore of Salem's Lot, and it was just a really fun little piece of insight into that piece of the King "universe". ⇨ The Woman in the Room ★★☆☆☆ In the final piece of the collection, we follow a man whose mother is suffering from terminal cancer, and his internal dilemmas as he considers putting her out of her misery. It didn't feel like it fit the horror aspect of the book in any way at all, and was really just... sad. I was super bummed that the anthology ended on such a disappointing note. ⇨ AVERAGE RATING ★★★☆☆ All in all, I was pretty disappointed in my first ever Stephen King read (not counting DNFs, obviously); however, I totally recognize that: 1) this is only one book in his basically endless bibliography, 2) I have read newer short stories from him that I thoroughly enjoyed, and 3) this collection is from the 70s, and many people find his work from that decade to be very polarizing. That in mind, I will totally be trying more of his writing in the near future, but I'll probably go with a full-length novel or something substantially more recent! Content warnings: (this is just for the entire collection) ableism, body shaming, partner abuse, parental abuse, suicide, child violence/death, homophobia, sexism, racism, slut shaming, nicotine addiction.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ron

    Mr. Stephen King, you started scaring me when I was just a teen, then you go and try to do it again when I’m older, and often none-the-wiser. The best part: you can still do it. Not all of the 20 stories in Night Shift (his first short story collection) are terribly frightening. Some are not meant to be, and some just made me snicker. A few of them are simply fantastic. I could practically reread those right this second. Following is my short take each: Jersalem’s Lot - The best part: Fans get a Mr. Stephen King, you started scaring me when I was just a teen, then you go and try to do it again when I’m older, and often none-the-wiser. The best part: you can still do it. Not all of the 20 stories in Night Shift (his first short story collection) are terribly frightening. Some are not meant to be, and some just made me snicker. A few of them are simply fantastic. I could practically reread those right this second. Following is my short take each: Jersalem’s Lot - The best part: Fans get a back story to ‘Salem’s Lot! The worst part: I got little bored. It’s not the story. Possible rats in walls. Evil in a decrepit town. What’s not to like? The boredom lies in the epistolary layout, which means breaks in the action, and an 1800’s style writing mannerism (Lovecraft meets Bram Stoker ?). Graveyard Shift - This is why I wouldn’t be the first person to enter a cellar. If I end up being first, it didn’t happen without a struggle. Many will know what lies down there because of the movie. I won’t spill the beans if you don’t. I like everything but the ending. Night Surf - If you’re a fan of The Stand, and just who isn’t, then this one’s for you because it came first. It’s a microcosm that reveals very little, unless you have read The Stand, but it hints at Captain Trips and what some people can become when order has been lost. I am the Doorway - King opens this door just a crack, enough for us to see and then imagine what may happen when species collide. The alien presence here comes from a different direction than most with similarities to his later book Dreamcatcher, and gave me a case of the heebie-jeebies. The Mangler - A piece of industrial-sized laundry machinery comes to life, and wants blood. Utterly preposterous premise that I can’t help liking for just that simple reason - sort of. The Boogeyman - Warning. Parents of small children will be turned off, especially by the worthless excuse of a father included here. King and others often write from a child’s perspective, but I like it more when the kids are the stars. Gray Matter - There is a paragraph in this story that relates to IT. Just a hint at how SK thinks. Cool to find. Sorry to say that for me, that was the best part of this creepy tale. Battleground - You know the plastic Army men that all little boys create massive battles with on the backyard dirt pile? These little guys are real, and they pack a wallop. Good fun with an edge. Trucks - Many know it by the movie title Maximum Overdrive. Machinery comes to life, so to speak. An explanation of just why this happens is not offered. It simply does, and what better place for a setting than a truck stop. Better than the film version, but only because reading allows your own imagination to fill in the spaces. Sometimes They Come Back - Okay, now we’re talking. Begins innocently, finishes badass. I like when King tells a straight story, and that’s the way this one begins. Then, it goes down, down, down into the black. For King fans who love his dark side. Strawberry Spring - What a great title. Well, it’s an even better story, and the explanation behind the title makes it all the more so. There’s a killer on campus. This one’s good because we see the murder, only the effects. It’s really a quiet tale with a great ending. The mystery is built in, and a little fog makes for extra suspense. The Ledge - There’s a lot of good stuff here, particularly scary for those with acrophobia. Imagine walking on a 5” wide ledge of a building 400 feet off the ground. The protagonist has another choice, but believe me, this is the best option. Only King would throw in a pigeon attack half-way through the journey. Gosh that’s fun. The Lawnmower Man - Have fun with this one, because if there’s one thing that it is not it’s serious. Different from the movie version, and so different period. It would have possibly have turned my stomach, but I was too busy giggling. Quitters, Inc - Just after a bloody, grass-stained experience with the “lawnmower”, King throws in this doozy. Previously unpublished before Night Shift, and I’m so glad he decided to write and include it. I have never smoked, and never will thanks to Quitters, Inc. The protagonist Richard Morrison learns his lesson, and the final line is a gem. I Know What You Need - Not really scary, except for the very real look into a stalker’s mind. I didn’t know where this was going, and I like that in a story. The ending was just so-so. Children of the Corn - Here’s another creepy good tale distorted by Hollywood. I don’t remember previously reading this writing, probably because of the movie. Don’t miss it because it’s a great display of how King subtly draws you in with great writing. Before you know it you are trapped, sort of like the couple who happened to pick the wrong road…or were they drawn? The Last Rung on the Ladder - A short story which lifted my heart, then pulled the rug out from under my feet. Loved it because it made me think like a kid again, and how almost anything is possible when we’re young. Left me reeling and thinking. The Man Who Loved Flowers - Well, what can I say when I don’t connect with a character or his actions? :( One for the Road - A welcome return to ‘Salem’s Lot. I love when a writer, King especially, returns to a book to give us one more look. This one’s brief, but oh so good. Now we have the bookends to Salem’s Lot with a back-story in Jerusalem’s Lot, and an afterward in One for the Road. I’m unable to pinpoint a specific point in time compared with that of Ben Mears, but it’s sometime after. It’s obvious that the vampires are in full swing. Wish this was more than a glimpse. The Woman in the Room - This is sad but also scary in human terms because some people experience pain when dying. They are not the only ones. There is emotional pain, and sometimes guilt, for those left behind. This was not my first time reading Night Shift, but it’s the first time that I read all of the stories. My favorites of these could very well change with time. At this moment my top five are: The Last Rung on the Ladder, Quitters Inc, Strawberry Spring, One for the Road and The Ledge.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Brandon

    Over the years I’ve struggled with short story collections as I’m very much a long-form kind of guy. I especially dislike the start/stop of short story collections – you get invested in a character or a story and in fifteen or twenty pages it’s done. Kind of like driving down a highway and smashing into a brick wall. That being said, Stephen King’s Night Shift is one of the few exceptions. I enjoyed the hell out of this collection. Night Shift crams twenty of King’s earliest short stories into a Over the years I’ve struggled with short story collections as I’m very much a long-form kind of guy. I especially dislike the start/stop of short story collections – you get invested in a character or a story and in fifteen or twenty pages it’s done. Kind of like driving down a highway and smashing into a brick wall. That being said, Stephen King’s Night Shift is one of the few exceptions. I enjoyed the hell out of this collection. Night Shift crams twenty of King’s earliest short stories into a brisk 502 pages. While I’ve been reading King for years, I’ve only read two dozen of his full-length novels and although most certainly exist in the realm of horror, it seems that short-fiction is where he really lets his freak-flag fly as there are some truly messed up stories in this compilation. The Lawnmower Man, Graveyard Shift and Gray Matter were downright disgusting and represent the true depths of King’s depravity. Outside of the gross-out factor, there were some truly scary stories. Sometimes They Come Back really stood out (even if the ending was a bit much), I Am The Doorway had one hell of an eerie ending and One for the Road did a number on me by taking me back to Salem’s Lot. Even the infamous Children of the Corn offered up some thrills and chills. Some other highlights were Quitters Inc. – a story about a man desperate to quit smoking until confronted with an alternative method, The Last Rung on the Ladder which was beautifully tragic in its execution and Battleground, a fun action-packed story that succeeded by not taking itself too seriously. They weren’t all winners though. I didn’t care much for The Mangler, Trucks or Jerusalem’s Lot. The Mangler and Trucks were a bit too similar, I guess. Jerusalem’s Lot was a Lovecraftian-style monster story that didn’t really do anything for me, especially when compared to the superior One For The Road later on in the collection. King is one of my favorite writers, so it’s not all that shocking that I would enjoy one of his short story collections. What is shocking is how quickly I tore through this one – even the ones that I didn’t enjoy all that much were rapid reads. I haven’t been all that impressed with some of the books I’ve been reading lately, so a King was just what I needed.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Raeleen Lemay

    Read for Popsugar's 2018 Reading Challenge: A book with a time of day in the title You know it’s a bad sign when the introduction and forward are more interesting that the majority of the stories. I quite enjoyed “The Mangler” (somehow makes a laundry machine so scary!), “The Boogeyman”, “Gray Matter”, and “The Last Rung on the Ladder”, but the rest I found to be either boring or silly. I definitely found myself skimming many of the stories, which sucks because there were a couple of gems in ther Read for Popsugar's 2018 Reading Challenge: A book with a time of day in the title You know it’s a bad sign when the introduction and forward are more interesting that the majority of the stories. I quite enjoyed “The Mangler” (somehow makes a laundry machine so scary!), “The Boogeyman”, “Gray Matter”, and “The Last Rung on the Ladder”, but the rest I found to be either boring or silly. I definitely found myself skimming many of the stories, which sucks because there were a couple of gems in there.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Trudi

    Make you pee your pants scary! In his introduction to Skeleton Crew, Stephen King writes: “a good long novel is in many ways like having a long and satisfying affair” whereas the short story “is like a quick kiss in the dark from a stranger.” My literary proclivities definitely lean towards those long affairs. I don’t read a lot of short stories nor am I a fan of the format. At least give me a novella! Stephen King is one of only a handful of authors who can make me a believer in the beauty and Make you pee your pants scary! In his introduction to Skeleton Crew, Stephen King writes: “a good long novel is in many ways like having a long and satisfying affair” whereas the short story “is like a quick kiss in the dark from a stranger.” My literary proclivities definitely lean towards those long affairs. I don’t read a lot of short stories nor am I a fan of the format. At least give me a novella! Stephen King is one of only a handful of authors who can make me a believer in the beauty and effectiveness of the short story. For a man who has been lambasted for his “bloated” novels – King himself has referred to his condition as "literary elephantiasis" – he can still write a short story like nobody’s business. Stories that will stop your heart, chill your blood, and see the world in a new way. King has written hundreds of short stories over his lifetime but for me none can quite compare to the ones collected here in Night Shift. The majority of these stories first appeared in the men’s magazine Cavalier, written before Carrie’s publication in 1974 and the gargantuan financial windfall that followed. King has talked quite a bit about what life was like before that watershed moment: There were some hard, dark years before Carrie. We had two kids and no money. We rotated the bills, paying on different ones each month. I kept our car, an old Buick, going with duct tape and bailing wire…. There is a rawness in these stories that reflects the drive and hunger of a young man consumed with his craft. For me these stories burn bright and hot as if King wrote them in a fever. I can picture him now pounding them out on his wife’s Olivetti portable typewriter between the washer and dryer of their cramped trailer’s tiny laundry room. King didn't write these stories for the money, cash-strapped as he was with two small kids, he wrote them because he had to. There’s another reason why I love the stories in this collection – they represent King’s early fascination / obsession / dedication to fear, to what haunts, creeps and crawls. King knows what scares us, because it scares him too. He gets it, it’s not a put on and these stories are as authentic as fear gets. In the introduction he writes: 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 grab my ankle….No waking or dreaming…but only the voice of the writer….He’s telling you that you want to see the car accident, and yes, he’s right – you do. There’s a dead voice on the phone…something behind the walls of the old house that sounds bigger than a rat…movement at the foot of the cellar stairs. He wants you to see all of those things, and more; he wants you to put your hands on the shape under the sheet. And you want to put your hands there. Yes. I think Poe and Lovecraft would agree. For me, this collection contains some of the best examples of the modern horror story. King has tapped an artesian well of contemporary fears and anxieties penning macabre, ghoulish tales that deserve to be called classics. Not to be missed: “Children of the Corn”, “The Boogeyman”, “The Mangler”, “Strawberry Spring”, and “Quitter’s Inc.” My deepest thanks to King who was the first to convince me that sometimes even I, can be seduced by that quick kiss in the dark from a stranger. Oh yes.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Stefan Yates

    Overall – I really liked the first story, but after that the stories really seemed to taper off quite a bit until I got to Battleground. After that one, my interested was piqued and the book continued at a high level through The Ledge and on to the end with a few exceptions here and there raising my overall rating from a 3 to a 4. Jerusalem’s Lot – The first story is an “historical” account of the events that take place when a man and his faithful servant take residence in his ancestral home and Overall – I really liked the first story, but after that the stories really seemed to taper off quite a bit until I got to Battleground. After that one, my interested was piqued and the book continued at a high level through The Ledge and on to the end with a few exceptions here and there raising my overall rating from a 3 to a 4. Jerusalem’s Lot – The first story is an “historical” account of the events that take place when a man and his faithful servant take residence in his ancestral home and explore the shunned ghost town of Jerusalem’s Lot. The story is told through a series of letters and journal entries and is very different from King’s normal style. It’s a bit slow, but still creepy. Graveyard Shift – A group of men who work in a factory are offered the “opportunity” to work over the 4th of July holiday cleaning out the basement of the factory. They discover a rat problem in the depths of the building that turns out to be worse than expected. This one was mildly amusing, not the best of the bunch. Night Surf – Post apocalyptic preview of The Stand. The super flu has run rampant and wiped out most of the population. For all that this small group of survivors knows, they are the last people on the planet. So-so, maintains interest because of The Stand. I Am the Doorway – A wheel-chair bound former astronaut with a strange affliction tells his friend about his vision of a crime that he is sure that he committed even though it is a physical impossibility for him to have committed it. This one took me much longer than it should have to finish. It did not keep my attention and frankly I was bored with it. The Mangler – A police officer investigates an industrial accident at a laundry. What he finds there turns out to be more than just an accident. I liked this story. It was engaging and kept the tension going through the end. The Boogeyman – A man speaks to a therapist about the deaths of his young children at the hands of the closet monster and the blame that he has taken upon himself for his part in them. Pretty darn good story…until the end. Just my opinion, but I thought that the ending really sucked. Gray Matter – A man gets some kind of illness from drinking a bad beer and it begins to change his physical form. Not bad, this one moved along pretty well and had some decent suspense. Battleground – Excellent story. A hit man receives a box from his mark’s mother when he returns from a job. The suspense is built up really well and there’s a great ending. Trucks – This one is pretty good. It centers on a group of people who are trapped in a truck stop by a mob of possessed trucks. The movie Maximum Overdrive is based on this story and uses most of the major parts of the story, but extrapolates upon the story quite a bit. Another one with which I was not too pleased by the ending. Sometimes They Come Back – Well written story about a man who is having recurring nightmares involving the childhood murder of his brother. When the teenage murderers begin appearing in his class 16 years later, he knows that something unnatural is afoot and takes it upon himself to find out how to stop it. Strawberry Spring – Best story in the book so far, although a bit predictable. I can’t really say why I enjoyed the story so much, it just seems to flow well. Told in first person, it is an account of a series of murders that take place on campus during the time that the protagonist is in college. I loved the ending of this one. The Ledge – The Ledge is another solid offering. A tennis pro caught cheating with a millionaire’s wife accepts a wager to walk the 5 inch ledge around the 40th floor. Good build up of tension through-out and another nice ending. The Lawnmower Man – After a string of excellent stories, this one is pretty weak. A man sells his lawnmower after a cat is accidentally run over by the kid he hires to mow his lawn. The following summer, he procrastinates hiring a service to do the mowing and the lawn grows out of control. When he finally hires a service, he gets a strange and dangerous surprise. Very odd and not really fitting in with most of the book so far, this story seems very random and I just couldn’t get into it. Quitters, Inc. – Back to another excellent story. A man decides to follow a friend’s advice and quit smoking. The company that he goes to for help uses some rather unorthodox methods. I found this one to be very entertaining. The story moves well and keeps the reader in high gear. I Know What You Need – This one was a fairly dull stinker. A guy uses his psychic/voodoo powers to charm and win a girl. It just didn’t seem to go anywhere and I was bored. Children of the Corn – One of the longer stories in the book. A couple traveling through Nebraska has an accident and proceeds to the next town to take care of things. The town is mostly deserted and all that is left is a cult of psychotic children. It’s an excellent story and really creepy. This is another of my favorites in the book. The Last Rung on the Ladder – This is another good one. This is a touching, sad story about an event that happens to a boy and his sister and where it has left them today. The Man Who Loved Flowers – This story is not as good as some of the rest, but still enjoyable. This is a story about young love in the spring-time…or is it? One for the Road – This was a fun one for a Stephen King fan. Winter in Maine and a terrible storm has blown in. Two men at a bar are surprised when a well dressed and frozen man bursts in. It seems that his car has been lodged in a snow drift a few miles down the road at the exit to Jerusalem’s Lot. His wife and daughter are waiting in the car for him to bring help…or are they?? Help or something else may have come for them already. The Woman in the Room – Boy, what a downer to end the book on. It’s a well written story, but very depressing. The story is about a man whose mother is dying from cancer. It mainly centers around his feelings about whether or not she would be better off dead and whether or not he should help her to end it

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nandakishore Varma

    Usually short-story collections, especially by the same author, always tend to garner a three from me: because they are almost always a mix of the good, the bad and the indifferent, and follows the bell-shaped curve of the normal distribution. But not this one. These collection of early stories from King is filled with the excellent, the very good, the good... and a few mildly good. The distribution skewed heavily in the direction of the terrific. It's been a long time, but many of the stories li Usually short-story collections, especially by the same author, always tend to garner a three from me: because they are almost always a mix of the good, the bad and the indifferent, and follows the bell-shaped curve of the normal distribution. But not this one. These collection of early stories from King is filled with the excellent, the very good, the good... and a few mildly good. The distribution skewed heavily in the direction of the terrific. It's been a long time, but many of the stories linger: the seminal one, in my opinion, is The Boogeyman. This points to the basic concerns behind King's writing, and any horror story in general. The author does a fine job of walking the tightrope between psychological horror and pure, gut-wrenching terror, without let-up in the suspense towards the very end. Another story which still haunts me is The Children of the Corn. The feral children of the cornfield and their twisted religion is one of the finest examples of creeping horror in the traditional sense. I am the Doorway and Sometimes They Come Back are two other stories which really creeped me out. The remaining ones, even though not as frightening, gave me pleasant shivers and "delicious nightmare" (to borrow a phrase from Alfred Hitchcock). I return to this collection again and again, whenever I feel that life has become too safe and dull... just to remind myself that the boogeyman is always an arm's length away, behind the closet door. (P.S. BTW, if you ask me to pick one story from this collection as my favourite, I'd choose the only one which is not a horror story - The Last Rung on the Ladder. The reason is personal. I too have a kid sister like the protagonist of that story, who knows that the hay will always be there.)

  22. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    6.0 stars. On my list of "All Time Favorite" books and second only to Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman as my favorite short story collection of all time. All of the stories are excellent and it is hard to pick favorites in this collection but I would say "Boogeyman", "Strawberry Spring", "Children of the Corn" and "Jerusalem's Lot" are definitely highlights. Highest Possible Recommendation!!!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Neil Walker

    Stephen King has been a huge influence on me as an author and this book of short stories will always be a particular favourite of mine. It was one of the books that I actually carried with me in my backpack when I was travelling around the world and making the original notes that would eventually become my novel, Drug Gang. I read it multiple times and never tired of it. There are so many fantastic stories in one book, it is hard to pick a favourite. However, the story that resonated with me the Stephen King has been a huge influence on me as an author and this book of short stories will always be a particular favourite of mine. It was one of the books that I actually carried with me in my backpack when I was travelling around the world and making the original notes that would eventually become my novel, Drug Gang. I read it multiple times and never tired of it. There are so many fantastic stories in one book, it is hard to pick a favourite. However, the story that resonated with me the most and is probably closest to something I would write myself is Quitters, Inc. It has been burned into my mind since the first time I read it. Overall, an amazing book and a must-read for Stephen King fans.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Toni | Dark Reads

    I am on a mission to read through all of Stephen King’s books, I prefer a novel, I find short stories often leave me feeling unsatisfied, I like a good, in depth story I can really get lost in. One of my favorite things about SK’s writing is his character development, obviously there isn’t room for much of that within a short story, I think this is probably why I have put off reading the short story collections. I found this a real mixed bag, some stories were brilliantly creepy while others fel I am on a mission to read through all of Stephen King’s books, I prefer a novel, I find short stories often leave me feeling unsatisfied, I like a good, in depth story I can really get lost in. One of my favorite things about SK’s writing is his character development, obviously there isn’t room for much of that within a short story, I think this is probably why I have put off reading the short story collections. I found this a real mixed bag, some stories were brilliantly creepy while others felt a little predictable. I really enjoyed the stories that had links in some of King’s other books, little off shoots to well established full length books - my favorites from this collection were; Night Surf - A story that follows a group of student. It turns out they are a small handful of survivors of ‘Captain Trips’ from ‘The Stand’ These guys have a pretty grim outlook as they realize they may not be immune as they had believed - Loved this little tale and the links into ‘The Stand’ The Lawnmower Man – Harold Parkette is looking for a lawn mowing company but gets more than he bargains for with the Lawnmower man and his new method…. This story just gives me the creeps! Yikes! Quitters, Inc. – learn what may be the most effective way to quit smoking in the history of the world - quitting smoking must be the hardest thing ever, unless you go to Quitters Inc. One for the Road – A family stuck in a snowstorm in Jerusalem's Lot - Loved this one, again links in with the full length novel of Salem’s Lot, although this is set years after the original story, it gives a nice little insight to what happened to the town after. Some really creepy imagery in this one.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ruth Turner

    Audiobook - Narrated by John Glover - Good narration. John Glover did a really good job with these stories. Jerusalem's Lot, which I didn't really enjoy when I read it, came to life with Glover. The only slight criticism I have is that the female characters voices in Night Surf were annoying and Timmy's voice in Grey Matter was a little too high-pitched and grating. Also, I found the background music was too loud at times. *** Ebook: I don't generally like short stories, especially when it's Stephen Audiobook - Narrated by John Glover - Good narration. John Glover did a really good job with these stories. Jerusalem's Lot, which I didn't really enjoy when I read it, came to life with Glover. The only slight criticism I have is that the female characters voices in Night Surf were annoying and Timmy's voice in Grey Matter was a little too high-pitched and grating. Also, I found the background music was too loud at times. *** Ebook: I don't generally like short stories, especially when it's Stephen King. I much prefer his BIG books...but this is a good collection. The four stars is just an overall rating for the book. Each story is rated separately in the review. Jerusalem’s Lot – 3*** I liked the ending but the story was too long, and for the most part, boring. CONNECTIONS: The prequel to ‘Salem’s Lot. Graveyard Shift – 3*** Aww jeez…this scared the crap outta me. I hate rats…and bats! CONNECTIONS: Set in Gates Falls, which also rates a mention in Bag of Bones. Night Surf – 3*** I remember reading this many, many years ago, when it was first published, and wishing it was longer. ☺ The idea of a superflu that wiped out almost the entire population of the world kind of appealed to me. CONNECTIONS: Captain Trips (The Stand) Harrison (Firestarter, The Body, The Mist) Harrison State Park (The Body) is mentioned in this book. In 1968 Stephen King published a poem called Harrison State Park 68. I Am The Doorway – 3*** Weird…and kinda creepy! The Mangler – 2** Not one of his better efforts, and the ending was ridiculous. CONNECTIONS: Blue Ribbon Laundry - Carrie’s (Carrie) mother works in a laundry called The Blue Ribbon, in Chamberlain Barton Dawes (Roadwork) works in a laundry called the Blue Ribbon. The Boogeyman – 3*** Well, wasn’t Billings a right prick of a man?! The story should have finished at… “But the closet door was open. Just a crack”. The last few lines after that ruined the story for me. Gray Matter – 3*** I love this story…blind Eddie stealing bread, the old-timers, gathered at Henry’s Nite Owl, a 24-hour convenience store, drinking beer and talking about who’s died lately. This was the real story for me, not what happened to Richie Grenadine. CONNECTIONS: Mention of a very large spider, as big as a good-sized dog, in a sewer pipe under a street in Bangor. Battleground 3*** Short, quick read. Loved the last line. Trucks – 3*** Loved the ending. Sometimes They Come Back: 3*** I’ve always remembered this as my favourite story in Night Shift because somehow, for the last 35 years, I’ve had it in my head that Henry Bowers was in it…so I was a little disappointed. Strawberry Spring – 4**** Loved it. The Ledge – 4**** Loved It. The Lawnmower Man – 2** Bizarre. Quitters Inc - 4**** I think I’ll just keep on smoking! I Know What You Need - 3*** Great story but I didn’t like the ending. Children of the Corn – 3*** Good, but again, I didn’t like the ending. Last Rung of the Ladder – 4**** Made me cry. CONNECTIONS: Larry, and his sister Kitty, grew up in Hemingford Home (The Stand) The Man Who Loves Flowers – 3*** I liked it…a lot. One For The Road – 4**** Loved it. CONNECTIONS: ‘Salem’s Lot. The Woman In The Room – 3*** Depressing.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Daviau

    This is by far my favourite collection of King stories that I've read so far! I absolutely loved every single one of them, they each creeped me out in there own ways! There were definitely a few that spooked me more than others though. The Mangler, The Boogeyman and The Lawnmower Man were my top three favourites out of the collection and definitely the stories that got to me the most. I read The Boogeyman right before going to sleep and I found myself staring at my closet door for the longest ti This is by far my favourite collection of King stories that I've read so far! I absolutely loved every single one of them, they each creeped me out in there own ways! There were definitely a few that spooked me more than others though. The Mangler, The Boogeyman and The Lawnmower Man were my top three favourites out of the collection and definitely the stories that got to me the most. I read The Boogeyman right before going to sleep and I found myself staring at my closet door for the longest time before being able to fall asleep. And after read The Lawnmower Man I actually had to put down the book for a bit because I just couldn't get the story out of my head. This is definitely the scariest and most disturbing collection I've read by King and I must say, I loved every minute of it!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*

    Sure, not every story is perfect, but as a collective whole this collection kicks it. Almost all the stories are unique, and of course many of them have made their way to the screen. He apparently was still highly in his Salem's Lot world as he put in not one, but two, stories about the town here. One was called Jerusalem's Lot, which is a big treat for Salem's Lot fans especially. Creepy and decent, told through letters, it's a bit slow and the writing style used is old-fashioned to try and dup Sure, not every story is perfect, but as a collective whole this collection kicks it. Almost all the stories are unique, and of course many of them have made their way to the screen. He apparently was still highly in his Salem's Lot world as he put in not one, but two, stories about the town here. One was called Jerusalem's Lot, which is a big treat for Salem's Lot fans especially. Creepy and decent, told through letters, it's a bit slow and the writing style used is old-fashioned to try and duplicate the older times. Toward the end of the book, One for the Road, which was absolutely eerie, threw in a Maine snowstorm in at night for measure. I did have to wonder about how fast the people turned in that one though, didn't make much sense. The creepy factor still worked despite this plot hole, with the snow storm, the nighttime, and the isolated area adding to the effect of the town a few years later, which had been burned down. I wonder, what are they eating at the Lot? Some people disappear randomly, but surely that's not enough of a random diet. Graveyard Shift was also creepy, even if you don't have a rat phobia. If you do have one, I doubt you'll forget this story for a long time, if you're able to ever read it at all. Starts off serious and stays the same, although the story weakens at the end. Seems King wanted a shocking ending and it just felt a bit flat. The protagonist turned unrealistic, but up until the ending it was eerie and a heavily charged atmospheric piece. I remember for the movie, which I haven't seen in over ten years, it was longer and more drawn out. Night Surf was written well but also was a weaker selection, as it felt more like a scene than an actual short story proper. The beginning of it is disturbing stuff and it's explained why the people turned out that way - sort of. The Mangler, there's not much to say about it. It's better than the movie, which was horrible. It's gory to the extreme, completely cheesy, and rich in the B department. We do need a better term for books that are like "B movies" besides just cheesy. It's one of the weaker stories because of the cheesy factor, but it's still well written. I like how different the "villain" is. Some people didn't care for The Boogeyman. Didn't find it bad myself. The father was a prick but an intriguing character. Much of the short is dialogue form as he relays the horrors to a psychiatrist. Up until the end it was haunting, but then it took a nose dive into a just plain silly pile. Grey Matter almost reminded me of John Carpenters The Thing. It was simple and gruesome to behold, bringing to mind some of his short flicks from the movie Creepshow. In mind I was mixing the old man from Father's Day repeatedly announcing he wants ‘his cake, give him his cake’, to the first short story where King himself is turned into a bizarre plant thing. Even the oil sludge from the lake is brought to mind from that movie. Dug how it ended open. Battleground was short but not abrupt, great fun, cheesy (there's that word again), and ironic. Good stuff but not something that is to be taken seriously at all or stand out too much. Trucks is actually awesome. Yes, it made the movie Maximum Overdrive. You don't have the fleshed out character situations here since it's a short, but the scenery of the diner with the trucks outside? Great. Good buildup up, plenty of tension, making something that sounds cheesy in idea form work to where it's completely believable. Surprisingly eerie too. Sometimes they come back rocked. I was especially excited for this one since I grew up watching the movie. Some elements of the flick worked better, some elements of the short story did. King's tone in writing shone and I was glued, unable to put it down. Problem is the guys popping up in this one made little sense, while in the movie it made more sense for them to come back since he himself came back to the town. The end was a completely different version of the movie too. For emotional effects the movie has a better finale, but the book a creepier one. Brrrr. Strawberry Spring also page-glued me. King's writing is talented, you can tell from stories such as this with the phrases and techniques used. It wasn't as far-fetched as some of the other stuff but held injected mystery if you keep thinking of it. Was the false spring itself some sort of possessor? The end didn't surprise me too much as I had already suspected it a little, but it still worked well. The Ledge was all I hoped for - and more. Interestingly enough both this and Quitters, Inc. were in the movie Cat's Eye. Still don't know where the troll part of that movie comes back. Nail-biting suspense, high stakes, different sort of character motivations serve this well. He really went all out in explaining details on why walking around this ledge would be so awful. The movie version did add a nice, dramatic touch this one missed - the head at the end. The story just telling about the death didn't deliver the same drama punch but overall this story is one of the best in the book. I'd heard Lawnmower man the story was totally different from the movie by the same name. Boy, they weren't kidding! This was frankly a stupid story and probably my vote as the anthology's weakest link. Quitters, Inc? Likely my favorite. It held the same black comedy as the film version did, with further details, writing tone that mesmerized me, and a fun twist on a common issue. I like how the list of chances and consequences was expanded. The protagonist is likeable, although his view on his mentally retarded son is questionable. Copied from my status update: Wow, Political correctness be damned: "How many children?" "One." He thought of Alvin and frowned slightly. "A half" might be better. His son was mentally retarded and lived at a special school in New Jersey." I know what you need was a different sort of story. Mystery is left behind with some unanswered questions, none which harm the tale. Not especially horrifying but King's unique take on a bizarre stalker. It also raises some human nature questions. I was completely excited for Children of the Corn. It did NOT let me down. Dark and brutal finish for the characters compared to the movie. Disturbing to the extreme, a twisted play with religious fanaticism how twisted some towns and people can get, not to mention all the good ol' Nebraska corn. 'He Who Walks Behind The Rows' will be forever held by me as an awesome line. Egads, I found the wife annoying and can see the reason for a divorce! What's funny is I've seen this was originally published for an edition of Penthouse. The Last Rung on the Ladder? Wow, just wow. This isn't a horror story at all, even if it is horrifying with what happens. It's drama all the way and a powerful one at that. Sad, haunting, leaves you with a hollow feeling and a brain full of regrets and self-review. One of the best and underrated, it holds a subtle beauty and innocence about it. The Man who Loved Flowers....I dug this one, I did. The ending wasn't a surprise to me, I could kind of envision something like that coming. What worked so well for this one was the quirky and almost leave-it-to-beaver whistle I can picture reading it. Small towns, young people in love, chuckling townfolk sitting on rockers kind of thing. I could almost imagine some old fashioned song playing on the jukebox while reading this one. This adds to the comedy of it. Not in your face funny but bizarre, make fun of itself funny. And - finally - after the last Salem's Lot story you have "The Woman in the Room." This one was previously unpublished. It's a dark, depressing, and very serious theme. May be a fiction story but the situation is all too real and likely has happened before, many times. It's King's own story about euthenasia and old age. Sad stuff, not horror, a drama again much like the impact of The Rung on the Ladder. Excellent story in the way the emotion is portrayed. This is the best King anthology I've read so far, and I highly doubt I'll top it with his other stuff. You have some amazing gems here, and the weak offerings are few and scattered, buried deeper. The anthology seems to get better the more you read it. A blend of cheesy B style stuff that is completely unlikeable and hokey, to serious life-questioning themes such as The Woman in the Room and The Last Rung on the ladder. Quirky humor for Quitters Inc and The Man who Loved Flowers, and then some genuinely eerie stuff like COTC and the two Lot pieces. Highly recommended and highly favored. And oh man, I just found out that John Glover did an audio book for this. Would love to hear that, love the actor. Will try to track it down.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    ** The Stephen King Goodreads Discussion Group is doing a re-read of his works from the beginning to the end. It’s been a long time since I have really immersed myself in Uncle Stevie’s world, but a rate of a book a month, I am all in. My goal is to read and review each one with as much honesty and reflection that I can give. ** Background – “Night Shift” was the first collection of twenty short stories published by Stephen King back in 1978. It was his sixth published book (including those usin ** The Stephen King Goodreads Discussion Group is doing a re-read of his works from the beginning to the end. It’s been a long time since I have really immersed myself in Uncle Stevie’s world, but a rate of a book a month, I am all in. My goal is to read and review each one with as much honesty and reflection that I can give. ** Background – “Night Shift” was the first collection of twenty short stories published by Stephen King back in 1978. It was his sixth published book (including those using his pseudonym of Richard Bachman). The book included his first forward and was dedicated to his mother, who had passed away in 1973. Many of these stories were adapted into feature films and television shows. Book length - My paperback has 505 pages and my Kindle has 344 pages. The best stories include: The Ledge – a wager between a mobster and a tennis pro, played out on the ledge of a 43rd floor high rise. The Lawnmower Man – a story about a man and his yard, and the value of getting the right person to cut it just right. Quitters, Inc. – learn what may be the most effective way to quit smoking in the history of the world. Children of the Corn – this brings new meaning to the thought of visiting the heartland of Nebraska where corn is king. The good stories include: The Boogeyman – who said the monster in the closet during our childhood wasn’t real? Trucks – a group of strangers in Conant’s Truck Stop & Diner face off against their trucks which are driving by themselves. Sometimes They Come Back – Jim Norman, high school teacher has students showing up in his class that terrorized him when he was a child. I Know What You Need – a college love story that may be too good to be true… The Last Rung on the Ladder – the bond between a brother and sister can make all the difference in life. The Man Who Loved Flowers – New York city in Spring is the place to be for a certain man in love. One for the Road – a family’s story serves as a follow-up to King’s novel “Salem’s Lot”. The okay stories include: Graveyard Shift – rats, rats, more rats, and rat bats. I Am the Doorway – a scared and infected astronaut brings something scary back with him from space. The Mangler – is a laundromat speed ironer cursed and out to injure as many people as possible? Battleground – a professional hit man faces off against an army of toy soldiers in a fight to the death. The Woman in the Room – a son faces the impossible decision of whether to assist his dying mother. The lesser stories include: Jerusalem’s Lot – another family’s story serves as a prequel to King’s novel “Salem’s Lot”. Night Surf – survivors of an Asian flu epidemic spend time together on the beach. Gray Matter – the outcome of a person drinking too much skanky beer. Strawberry Spring – reflections on attending college in New England, 1968, during a series of serial killings of young women. Thoughts and Reflections – by far, my favorite stories in this collection included four which left some seriously demented impressions on me. I am pretty scared of heights so “The Ledge” kept me on pins and needles. I swear I kept seeing Stephen King himself as “The Lawnmower Man.” In my head it was Uncle Stevie saying “That was a mistake, buddy…” I am an ex-smoker from many years ago and it was probably the toughest struggle I ever went through, so “Quitters, Inc” hit nerves that were as personal as personal can get. It scared me again even after all the time that has passed. And what can be said about “Children of the Corn” that hasn’t been said, referenced in one of the many movies it has spawned, or the jokes about corn or “He who walks…” It is still a classic tale that stands any test of time. Overall – this first collection of King’s short stories was interesting for the most part and worth reading. I think it’s important to remember that a lot has happened in the last 40 years since these stories were published. You can see King’s creative juices starting to flow as his inside voice discovered horror was actually a unique and effective forum to explore human nature. These short stories explore common fears like heights, being alone, and losing family. They also demonstrate king’s ability to blend a variety of horror related elements and themes in his writings, like aliens from space, the boogeyman in the closet, and haunted trucks. These themes worked well in a short story format, and King put them to good use.

  29. 4 out of 5

    David Fleming

    This might sound a little strange but I think that this collection is a work of art. I'd put this right up alongside Chekhov and Poe. If you ever wondered why people make such a big deal out of Stephen King, I think his talents are fully on display here. King has a great ability in these stories to crunch a great deal of backstory and exposition in a small amount of page space and still make it seem natural. In certain paragraphs he'll stealthily segue four or five times without me even noticing This might sound a little strange but I think that this collection is a work of art. I'd put this right up alongside Chekhov and Poe. If you ever wondered why people make such a big deal out of Stephen King, I think his talents are fully on display here. King has a great ability in these stories to crunch a great deal of backstory and exposition in a small amount of page space and still make it seem natural. In certain paragraphs he'll stealthily segue four or five times without me even noticing and then I'll have to reread his story four or five times to try and see how he did it. The way he blends genre is ingenious also. Is it science fiction? Is it dark fantasy? Is it horror? Or is it some blend of all three? Then there's Kings diction. He is so comfortable and adept at using those short, guttural english words. Sometimes, in the middle of a story, he'll make up a word and you'll swear that he didn't. You'll swear that that word has always existed but it hasn't. Check your dictionaries. You've been duped. His horrific onamonapia is on display here. These were the stories that King wrote because he had to. Because he felt that if he came up with a good enough monster, it would pay for his kid's medicine and bring a better life to him and his family. And it shows. The pacing is perfect. My favorite story is I am the Doorway. I've read that one several times trying to figure out where all the master strokes are. I wish more short stories were written this way. I recently watched a DVD that showed an interview of a small press editor that said something that really annoyed me. She said that some authors foolishly tried to make the endings of their short stories too tidy, that they "tried to put a neat little bow on the end of their stories" and that this diminished them. These stories all have definite endings. Stephen King is not trying to confuse anyone or leave all that much room for interpretation. I would argue that that is more artistically courageous than leaving an ending ambiguous. He can never infer that a reader "just didn't understand" or talk around in circle for hours about themes. These stories are designed to either succeed or fail. So, what I'm arguing for here is definitive endings in short stories. Of course, there are the one in a million geniuses, like Chekhov, who can truly write great open-ended short stories. But open-ended endings are so much easier to fake. They are a lot more prone to becoming "The Emperor's New Clothes" (especially in academic circles where there's lots of money and reputation at stake... oooh--I went there! Snap! I'm not gonna lie, I hate what the academic world has done to the short story. It doesn't belong to you tweedy twerps, okay? Let it go. Give it back to us. The people who have lived lived-lives.) About 80% of these hit it out of the park.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    Some of the absolute best writing I have ever read. I think of another story in connection to this one. On my drive to work I listen to books on CD but have a hard time paying a lot of attention because traffic is bad in Cincinnati. I heard something in “Duma Key” that makes me think of this collection of stories. The main character narrates that the most effective motivation for writing is a hungry belly. From what I have heard, a lot of that story (Duma Key) seems autobiographical. “Night Sh Some of the absolute best writing I have ever read. I think of another story in connection to this one. On my drive to work I listen to books on CD but have a hard time paying a lot of attention because traffic is bad in Cincinnati. I heard something in “Duma Key” that makes me think of this collection of stories. The main character narrates that the most effective motivation for writing is a hungry belly. From what I have heard, a lot of that story (Duma Key) seems autobiographical. “Night Shift” is a collection of Mr. King’s short stories from his days of struggle, before “Carrie.” I have read some of his life story. I remember that those days were hard days, and he wrote his heart out to feed his family. Those stories are in this book. It is very evident that Mr. King did his best. I think he always does his best, but there is something different about these stories. As the reference from “Duma Key” suggests, I think it may have been the starving bellies of him and his family that motivated him. These stories are absolutely perfect, from beginning to end. I am now a fan of the short story form. My Dad told me about this book a long time ago. He told me the stories were just too damn scary for him. “They really make you think, you know,” he told me and waved his hand in a circle signifying that his brain was a turning wheel. Another man my Dad’s age recently said the same thing to me: “I liked Tommyknockers. That was cool. I didn’t like those short stories though. They were just too scary.” Yes. These stories are very scary. Yes. They will make you think. However, I don’t share the opinion that they are “too much.” Yes, they are extremely intense and lead your mind in one direction then jump you from behind with an emotional switchblade, but if one appreciates good writing, you can make it through. Take one story at a time. Come back to it when you are ready. It would be a shame to miss this. I loved this collection. Absolutely superb. This is going to my top five favorites.

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