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So, Just After Sunset is the second volume in my Stephen King short-stories-to-shock-you-out-of-illness mini-readathon.

This is a classic collection of thirteen or so short stories, and like all such collections a mixed bunch. The usual King themes are here – fighting back against violence, creepy cats, ghosts and revenge.

Not going to go into each story but I can tell you that my favourites were:

The Things They Left Behind – a 9/11 story

N – in the the tradition of Arthur Machen and MR James but modern day creepiness

The New York Times at Special Bargain Rates – sad

Another good collection.

I know that I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: I am a huge fan of Stephen King and have been for over thirty years which in one way is depressing (how can I possibly be old enough?) but is also comforting (the Bride’s brand loyalty is second to none). What I have found, though, is that despite buying his books as soon as they come out (timing is good for the Christmas list) I tend to read him in spurts. I have a bit of a backlog at the moment, but my recent illness (and I promise I will stop talking about that soon) had me heading towards two of his collections of short stories so that I could read in small chunks.

But of course I ended up devouring both of them as if they were novels (or boxes of chocolates….)

So Full Dark, No Stars is his most recent book and is a set of four novellas or at least longer short stories. They are:

1922 – domestic strife and stress leading to unforeseen and far-reaching consequences (really liked this one)

Big Driver – a revenge story following an act of dreadful violence

Fair Extension – what would you do if you were given an extension? Would you be prepared to pay the price?

A Good Marriage – you think you know the person you’re married to (to whom you are married) and then you go rummaging in the garage….

Well, I know that King isn’t to everyone’s taste because of the fact that a lot (if not most) of the violence is directed against women, but much of horror fiction is and I think his stuff works because most of his female characters are find strength and fight back. Some of the details in these stories did make me wince, but they are well written and full of suspense. And on occasion quite frightening, which is after all the point.

And as always the afterword is well-worth reading.

A good collection.

Bride of the Book God

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Scottish, in my fifties, love books but not always able to find the time to read them as much as I would like. I’m based in London and happily married to the Book God.

I also blog at Bride of the Screen God (all about movies and TV) and The Dowager Bride, if you are interested in ramblings about stuff of little consequence

If you would like to get in touch you can contact me at brideofthebookgod (at) btinternet (dot) com.

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March 2011