Read: Everything’s Eventual, Stephen King.
I bought this collection because I’m a Dark Tower fangirl, not because I’m a Stephen King fangirl. I do appreciate the man, but his work tends to vary wildly. As it turns out, that was a pretty good decision, as “The Little Sisters of Eluria,” the Dark Tower story in the volume, gave me my fix. The other stories weren’t, well, scary. Some of them were very good, but these days Tim Lebbon is scaring me much more, and much more originally.
That said, there were a few stories in the volume that deserve special notice. “All That You Love Will Be Carried Away,” for example, is a lovely character piece that could easily stand on its own in the mainstream. “In the Deathroom” reads like a script written for Steven Segal and played by Dustin Hoffman. The title story feels more like urban fantasy than horror, but is a clever little morality piece (and Dinky shows up again in the Tower series!). Finally, “That Feeling, You Can Only Say What It Is In French” genuinely made me shudder, as it pushed a couple of my very personal fear-buttons. I may never fly again.
The collection as a whole is worth reading, too; the intervening stories aren’t bad, just occasionally forgettable. If you’re not a fan of horror, this is actually a pretty good introduction to King, since it showcases his writing ability much more than it does his eye for the grotesque. Some of the stories are even pretty funny! As always, King’s a great craftsman, and the volume’s high points can stand with some of his best (if not scariest) work.