Set in the fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine
Stephen King teams up with long-time friend and award-winning author Richard Chizmar for the first time in this original, chilling novella that revisits the mysterious town of Castle Rock.
There are three ways up to Castle View from the town of Castle Rock: Route 117, Pleasant Road, and the Suicide Stairs. Every day in the summer of 1974, twelve-year-old Gwendy Peterson has taken the stairs, which are held by strong—if time-rusted—iron bolts and zig-zag up the precarious cliffside.
Then one day when Gwendy gets to the top of Castle View, after catching her breath and hearing the shouts of kids on the playground below, a stranger calls to her. There on a bench in the shade sits a man in black jeans, a black coat, and a white shirt unbuttoned at the top. On his head is a small, neat black hat. The time will come when Gwendy has nightmares about that hat…
The little town of Castle Rock, Maine has witnessed some strange events and unusual visitors over the years, but there is one story that has never been told—until now.
This absorbing novella by horror giants King (End of Watch) and Chizmar (A Long December) revisits one of King's most popular locales. It's 1974 when 12-year-old Gwendy Peterson is offered a magic box by a man named Richard Farris, whom she meets at the top of one of the cliffside Suicide Stairs in Castle Rock, Maine. Farris wears a "small neat black hat" and seems to know just who Gwendy is and what she wants. Eight buttons grace the mahogany box he offers to Gwendy, and a lever dispenses silver dollars and intricate chocolates that Farris claims will help Gwendy lose weight and escape being called "Goodyear" by her classmates. Lose weight she does, but that's not all. Wonderful things keep happening in Gwendy's life, and she's happier than she's ever been. But when she decides to press one of the buttons, the consequences are horrendous. The novella follows Gwendy through high school and beyond, capturing the golden-hued joy of childhood and the wonder of friendship and first love, all under the shadow of temptation. This bite-size gem of a story packs quite a punch, and the only complaint readers will likely have is that it isn't longer.