Night Shift, by Stephen King
(reviewed by Dom)
If you took my battered copy of Night Shift from the top row of the book shelf in my basement office, you’d find a page that reads: Other Books by Stephen King. And on that page you’d see a whopping three titles: Carrie, ‘Salem’s Lot, and The Shining.
That gives you an idea of the age of this book. King’s resume today lists 49 novels, five non-fiction titles, and nine short story collections, but when Night Shift hit the market he was just beginning to get noticed. And believe me, if he’d only published this one book it would still be on my book shelves.
It takes a special talent to craft a superb short story, and here King does it twenty times. Throw out everything you think you know about his writing, especially if you’ve never read a single word. Throw out any perceptions that are based on the often-horrific movies filmed of his work (not his fault, trust me). Just pick up a (new) copy of Night Shift and watch a master at work.
Jane and I happen to enjoy short stories. A few months ago she tapped John Grisham’s latest collection for our monthly book club selection, and for June I reached back for a golden oldie. Someone asked me if I had a favorite in this book; well…I guess I have a few. For starters, Quitters, Inc. is pure genius. I’ve never been a smoker, but I can only imagine myself in Dick Morrison’s shoes as he goes through his…ah…treatment.
There’s a story in here called The Ledge, which really - I mean really - redefines the idea of the thriller for you. Don’t look down.
Battleground has a special place in my heart, because I was completely enamored with my army men as a little boy. Sure, the Toy Story movies brought those little green men to life, but again, remember, we’re talking about a book - and a story - that came out almost twenty years before the Pixar creation.
And there’s more. These are all fast, thrill-a-minute tales that capture a young, hungry Stephen King. I thought it would be a great choice for some summer fun. If you’re heading to the pool, pick up a copy at The Tattered Cover for 20% off this month and be glad you’re out in the sun and not in some dark room.