The “gripping…phenomenal…gorgeous” (USA TODAY) #1 New York Times bestselling novella collection from master storyteller Stephen King!
Readers adore Stephen King’s novels, and his novellas are their own dark treat, briefer but just as impactful and enduring as his longer fiction. Many of his novellas have been made into iconic films, including “The Body” (Stand by Me) and “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption” (Shawshank Redemption).
The four brilliant tales in If It Bleeds prove as iconic as their predecessors. In the title story, reader favorite Holly Gibney (from the Mr. Mercedes trilogy and The Outsider) must face her fears, and possibly another outsider—this time on her own. In “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone” an intergenerational friendship has a disturbing afterlife. “The Life of Chuck” explores, beautifully, how each of us contains multitudes. And in “Rat,” a struggling writer must contend with the darker side of ambition.
If these novellas show King’s range, they also prove that certain themes endure. One of King’s great concerns is evil, and in If It Bleeds, there’s plenty of it. There is also evil’s opposite, which in King’s fiction often manifests as friendship. Holly is reminded that friendship is not only life-affirming but can be life-saving. Young Craig befriends Mr. Harrigan, and the sweetness of this late-in-life connection is its own reward.
“An adroit vehicle to showcase the…nature of evil” (The Boston Globe), If It Bleeds is “exactly what I wanted to read right now,” says Ruth Franklin in The New York Times Book Review.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
What’s better than a new novella by Stephen King? How about four of them, all bundled together? There’s the shivers-inducing story of a teenager who discovers he can communicate with a deceased friend and a mystery involving detective Holly Gibney—a beloved recurring King character from The Outsider and the Bill Hodges series—who’s hot on the trail of a supernatural predator. The awesomely weird “The Life of Chuck” traces a surreal technological apocalypse back to one seemingly regular guy, while the funnily self-deprecating “Rat” follows a frustrated writer who makes a deal with a force even creepier than the devil. All the novellas in If It Bleeds are filled with King’s trademark dark freakiness and sympathetic characters and showcase his perfectly tuned ear for the rhythms of everyday dialogue. This isn’t just great genre fiction, it’s simply great fiction. That’s not to say that King’s book didn’t occasionally make us pull the covers up over our head. He sure knows how to find the horror in humanity.
The four never-before-published novellas in this collection represent horror master King at his finest, using the weird and uncanny to riff on mortality, the price of creativity, and the unpredictable consequences of material attachments. A teenager discovers that a dead friend's cell phone, which was buried with the body, still communicates from beyond the grave in "Mr. Harrigan's Phone," which reads like a Twilight Zone episode infused with an EC Comics vibe. In the profoundly moving "The Life of Chuck," a series of apocalyptic incidents bear out one character's claim that "when a man or a woman dies, a whole world falls to ruin." "Rat" sees a frustrated writer strike a Faustian bargain to complete his novel, and in the title story, private investigator Holly Gibney, the recurring heroine of King's Bill Hodges trilogy and The Outsider, faces off against a ghoulish television newscaster who vampirically feeds off the anguish he provokes in his audience by covering horrific tragedies. King clearly loves his characters, and the care with which he develops their personalities draws the reader ineluctably into their deeply unsettling experiences. This excellent collection delivers exactly the kind of bravura storytelling King's readers expect.
Always love Stephen Kings short stories and this one is no different. Love!
Sorry I love Stephen King but I can’t follow this book at all I have no idea where it’s going and I’m 28% through