In my mind, there are very few authors who can pull off short stories successfully. For the most part, I’m always left wanting. There has, however, in the course of my lifetime, been one author, who has always surpassed my expectations in that regard, and that is Stephen King. He has written a myriad of collections and most deliver in more ways than one.
“If It Bleeds” – his latest collection delivers on all counts. Every story is brilliantly done – each one captures the imagination and is scary in its own way and each one is a complete story such that you don’t feel like you’re missing out. To that, I must say Bravo Stephen King! You’ve still got it!
Now, let’s talk about the stories themselves.
My favorite was, of course, the title story.
“If It Bleeds” – with none other than Holly Gibney who I’ve come to adore. Known for her parts in the “Mr. Mercedes” trilogy and “The Outsider” – Holly is extremely special. She notices things other do not and she has a sixth sense. In “If It Bleeds” after a tragedy occurs at a middle school, Holly notices something strange on the news and realizes some similarities between it and things she experienced in the past and that leads her to investigate. For Holly, the situation is extremely dangerous. There is no alternative, however, considering that the lives of everyone else are at stake.
I won’t spoil this one, but let’s just say that “If It Bleeds” had my heart racing like crazy. I started out listening to the audiobook (Will Patton you seriously have the creepiest voice ever (please forgive me for saying that)..and ended up switching to reading the physical book because I was seriously freaked out.
“Mr. Harrigan’s Phone” – Mr. Harrigan is a retired old man who once ran a successful business such that he is quite wealthy. Time is now spent being read to by young Craig, who enjoys Mr. Harrigan’s company. During the holidays, Mr. Harrigan gives Craig some lottery scratch-offs. Amazingly, Craig wins several thousand dollars and decides to buy Mr. Harrigan a new phone. A new iPhone to be exact. They are all the rage as they just came out and Craig enjoys teaching Mr. Harrigan all about how to access the internet and search for the web. Mr. Harrigan thereby teaches Craig all about making money. When Mr. Harrigan passes away, things become uber creepy as the phone binds these two together through eternity. Talk about heart palpitations.
“The Life of Chuck” – a three-part story about a man named Chuck and the apocalypse. When an apocalypse approaches Chuck contemplates his life. Told backwards, Chuck is the link in all three stories. While I was intrigued and scared (thank you, but no thank you, what has transpired this last year has been enough of a wake-up call), this short story was my least favorite.
“Rat” – Seriously Wicked. Drew, is a struggling writer, husband, and father, who has always wanted to write a full-length novel but has never been able to. Short Stories have been his schtick, until the day he wakes up with an idea and he just knows that it’s right and he has to write it and to do so he must go to his family’s cabin in the woods and isolate himself. Of course, he has no idea what awaits him there. The writing starts fast and furious and then a cold/flu hits and writer’s block sets in. Then Drew makes a deal with the devil or well a “Rat.” As If, right? Tsk, tsk. A case of be careful what you wish for.
A Brilliant Collection that I truly enjoyed. If you love Stephen King, I highly recommend.
Reviews posted on Goodreads, Twitter, and Instagram.