Stephen King shows a strong grasp of good story-telling by taking his time with developing setting and dialogue. His main strength as a writer is that he understands his subject deeply. He combines horror with humor in an unforgettable way. This collection does not have a single story that was not worth reading -- however, some are much better than others somehow. It's hard to argue that the Man in the Black Suit and 1408 are the 2 best, simply because he changes his tone so skillfully and explores 2 very difficult ideas -- the Devil and Hell -- so beautifully. Both stories flow magnificently and are completely engrossing. It feels all too real. Then follow The Death of Jack Hamilton and All That You Love Will Be Carried Away, also for their change of voice and great subtlety. A writer who can construct a fine story around the grafitti people have left behind in road-side bathrooms and another around the lassoing of outhouse flies deserves enormous respect.
I'll read anything King has written and there will come a day yet when his name will be considered the equal of any in 20th century literature. Perhaps he will even be seen as the Shakespeare of Horror in centuries to come. His oeuvre is certainly large enough.
This was decent, though truthfully, if you wanted THE best collection of Stephen King short stories, you'd pick up "Night Shift" or "Skeleton Crew". This collection though, has its moments. The best stories, in my humble opinion, are "1408", "JT's Theory of Pets", and Everything's Eventual". The rest are hit and miss.
Kept me reading until the last short story is done. Whew!
Two thrilling (and scary) ones I like are "That Feeling, You Can Only Say What It Is in French" and "1408."
My personal faves are "L.T's Theory of Pets," "The Road Virus Heads North," and "Luckey Quarter."
One of the better stories in this collection is 1408. If you have seen the movie it still wont matter. King created this story as a writing exercise with the introduction and the ending written, but anyone can write a new middle. Beginning: A man who is a travel writer doing a book on haunted hotels arrives to book the fabled room 1408 at a certain hotel, even though he doesn't really believe in the supernatural but the hotel manager insists the room is cursed. Middle: made up your worst nightmare in a hotel room that won't let you out!! End: Man leaves hotel believing in supernatural. The book and the movie are different, but it really doesn't matter. They share the same beginning and end.
I disagree (respectfully, politely, et al.) with krigana's comment.
This collection IS dark, but it's Stephen King, what do you expect?
Perhaps the best story in this collection is "1408," the titular source of the film featuring Samuel L. Jackson and someone else that I don't remember. One of the best "Haunted Room at the Inn" stories ever.
"THIS IS TEN! TEN! WE HAVE KILLED YOUR FRIENDS. EVERY FRIEND IS NOW DEAD."
I love S. King but this one was too dark for me. Getting too old, or just wrong timing, dunno
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