book thoughts: Just After Sunset (audiobook)

It’s hard to deny that Stephen King is a writer to be reckoned with.  I may not enjoy every single one of his books, but when he’s good he’s good.  My pet peeves with him aside, the man can write a story that grabs hold and doesn’t let go.  Just After Sunset is a short story collection, some new tales, some old ones he had published in magazines, but all very Stephen King.  While uneven at times, on the whole this is a solid collection.  I listened to the audiobook because it had a variety of different readers, a new voice for each story, and it kept me interested as I drove back and forth to work. 

I’m going to give each story a mini-review because it’s just easier that way:

The book has a brief introduction by King (read by him on the audiobook) explaining how this collection came about.  Nice bit of insight into the writing process.  The book also concludes with a collection of tidbits about his inspirations for the stories.  I find that stuff interesting so I enjoyed them.

Willa – the first story in the book, and the story that King says got him back into writing short fiction.  While it is a bit predictable, I think it is a great example of why King is so read-able: even when you know what’s coming you still feel compelled to read (or listen) on. 

Gingerbread Girl – Scary story that will make you hair stand on end, especially during the intense ending.  

Harvey’s Dream – Another classic of King reinventing stories you have already heard.  This one feels like a story you would tell at a sleepover.

Rest Stop – This story was okay, a little bit too long.  Interesting idea but it didn’t keep me interested the way the first three did.

Stationary Bike – This one is just creepy…but in a good way.  It also made me want to ride my workout bike again lol!  Very cute little moral at the end.

The Things They Left Behind – 9/11 story.  I guess they are obligatory at this point.  Didn’t do a whole lot for me in the end.  Kept waiting for more…but I guess you have to tread carefully when using 9/11 as your backdrop.

Graduation Afternoon – short, simple, and felt like something you would write as a warm-up project/writing exercise to get your brain in the right mode.

N. – BEST STORY IN THE COLLECTION.  I wanted to get back in my car to hear the rest, disturbing.  Destined to be Classic King.  You’ll never look at OCD the same way again.

The Cat From Hell – Icky but fun.  Felt like a B-movie. 

New York Times at Special Bargain Price
– I…I don’t remember this story at all….hm…

Mute – another good creepy story that feels like an urban legend waiting to happen. 

Ayana – Interesting idea but I think we’ve seen it done better *coughdeadlikemecough*

A Very Tight Place – Yeah, gross.  And too long.  I think if it hadn’t been so long, I would have been able to enjoy the ridiculousness of it all.  But it got a little too mean, a little too sick and it stopped being fun to listen to. 

So, in short – it’s worth picking this book or audiobook up at your local library and reading a few, if not all of the stories.  Some of them are really good. 

I’d say 3.5 outta 5 stars.  Solid, but not his best.  But if it is a sign of things to come, I’m looking forward to more.

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