Friday, April 24, 2020

Review: If It Bleeds by Stephen King

Title: If It Bleeds
Author: Stephen King
Pages: 448
ISBN: 9781982137977
Publisher: Scribner
Published: 21 April 2020
Genre: Horror | Novellas
Source: Library

Buy it from:
The Book Depository

From #1 New York Times bestselling author, legendary storyteller, and master of short fiction Stephen King comes an extraordinary collection of four new and compelling novellas--Mr. Harrigan's Phone, The Life of Chuck, Rat, and the title story If It Bleeds--each pulling you into intriguing and frightening places.

Stephen King’s latest collection of four novellas, If It Bleeds, offers up some dark delights to satisfy and terrify both Constant Readers and those new to his work. In classic Stephen King fashion the tales plunge right to the heart of the human condition exploring our deepest fears and innermost desires in a way only King can.

Mr. Harrigan’s Phone: A teenager discovers that the iPhone of a deceased friend offers an otherworldly connection between the living and the dead. A connection that offers justice in an unjust world, but at what cost?
“In the twenty-first century, I think our phones are how we are wedded to the world. If so, it’s probably a bad marriage.”
A bittersweet, touching tale of lasting friendship and the bonds it forges. I particularly enjoyed that the story is set in a time where the internet and cell phones were just starting to be used and the huge transformation they would bring could hardly be imagined. A time that reminded me far too much of my own teenage years. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Life of Chuck: Mysterious billboards start to appear as the world begins to crumble away. A weird, yet poignant story dealing with mortality in more ways than one - the certainty and anticipation of death and the loss of the multitudes we each contain. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

If It Bleeds: After a school tragedy Holly Gibney from the Finders Keepers detective agency goes in search of what might be another outsider, a monster feeding on the pain and anguish inflicted by such tragedies. What she uncovers puts her and those closest to her in mortal danger. It should come as no surprise that the titular story turned out to be the best story in the collection. While reading this I was completely lost to the world. King draws you in from the very start and holds you at the edge of your seat until the nail-biting conclusion. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Rat: An aspiring author makes a Faustian bargain in order to tame those treacherous words preventing him from finishing his novel.
“...but when he looked at the screen, every word there seemed wrong. Every word seemed to have a better one hiding behind it, just out of sight.”
With this story King deftly encapsulates the hardships of creativity and the agonising act of creation. Just writing reviews I constantly struggle with those treacherous words, trying to find the just the right word or perfect phrase to convey my thoughts. Actual hours can be put into a single sentence and most often I fail. This story really hit very close to home and I can only imagine how much worse the struggle is for actual authors. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Reality was deep, and it was far. It held many secrets and went on forever.

Stephen King’s writing is a treat. With the bare minimum of words he manages to breathe life into his characters and the worlds they inhabit in a way so few other writers manage to do. Keen-eyed readers will even be able to spot some subtle self-referential nods to his other works. Each time I encountered one it instantly put a smile on my face.

If It Bleeds is a great collection of novellas filled with dark delights and the comforting embrace of a masterful storyteller.. Let’s face it, in times like these we are all in dire need of some of Dr. King’s Cough & Cold Remedy... well, the fictional kind at least. Highly recommended!

The Rating: 8/10 (Great!)

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