Another great collection of short stories by the king of horror and suspense
Although it took quite a long time to finish this book (compare to reading other Stephen King’s book) but that doesn’t mean that I don’t like the book. Night Shift is a collection of short stories and I read the stories in between other book…that’s the fun of reading collection of short stories.
There are 20 stories in this book, I admit that not all of them are great but there are quite many that I considered as memorable.
I always read foreword or afterword by Stephen king because he always wrote it as if he was having a conversation with us. I even share it in my Teaser Tuesday meme. I really like this part:
Why do people read that stuff?
This question carries a hidden assumption with it, and the assumption is that the story about fear, the story about horror, is an unhealthy taste. People who write me often begin by saying, ‘I supposed you will think I’m morbid, but I enjoy every page of The Shining…’
If I wrote a letter to him, it will be like this: ‘I supposed you think I’m a psycho, but I enjoy every bloody scenes in The Cell ‘ 😉
Now, let’s talk about the stories!
SK wrote 2 stories related to Jerusalem’s Lot. One is entirely different to his novel Salem’s Lot while the other is the side story of the novel. Jerusalem’s Lot is written in form of diary by a man named Charles. I think this story is inspired by Dracula ask always mentioned that it is one of his favorite books. In Jerusalem’s Lot, the monster is not Vampire, it is a creature from beneath the earth. I really like how the story ends. One For The Road is also about Jerusalem’s Lot or famously known as Salem’s Lot. This one tells the story of two old men trying to help a family trapped in snow near Salem’s Lot.
SK really has a thing for haunted machines, this part of horror is not really my type…but its Stephen King, I read it anyway. The Mangler is a story of possessed automatic ironing that starts killing people in a very gruesome way. Tho I find it ridiculous for things to be possessed, but I shamelessly admit that I really enjoy the way that thing killed people…the mangle has cool style of killing. I believed Trucks is the short version of Maximum Overdrive. The story is really similarsame. All the trucks in the world turn alive and start bossing around human. Certainly NOT my favorite story of all. However, I really like Battleground. I haven’t read Nightmare and Landscape yet but I have seen the miniseries, this story is included in the series. I guess Battleground appeared in both Night Shift and Nightmare and Landscape. The story is about a box of toy army that can move and attack a man in his apartment. It is a battle between a bunch of toys with well equipped weapon with a man only armed with a gun. It was really fun reading this short.
And of course, it would be impossible not to encounter monsters in SK book. The first monster is rats that had evolved unnaturally into big blind rats that shown no fear at all toward men. They hardly look like rat anymore. A group of men working in Graveyard Shift have to deal with those rats. I am The Doorway is one of my favorite in this book. It tells the story of an astronaut who accidentally opens a portal for alien to peek into human’s life. The monster of this story has no flesh, only deadly eyes. The monster in the closet is always interesting to read, The Boogeyman has proven how suspenseful the life of a fully grown man when he is haunted with the monster in the closet of his child’s bedroom. The ending is the best part of the story. Grey Matter is a bit unusual monster story. A jelly like monster is created from drinking a beer that had contained something unexplainable. The Lawmower Man is the weirdest story in this book, if I ever decided to reread the book…I’ll skip this story.
Sometime They Come Back is possibly my favorite monster story of this book. The monsters aren’t like the other stories, they are 3 ghosts from the past that came back to haunt a school teacher who had escaped from them while he was still in elementary. The Children Of The Corn is also quite thrilling. I’ve seen the movie version years ago, I couldn’t remember the detail anymore but I think the movie was a bit different compare to the book (although I couldn’t be 100% sure). The monster of this story is never fully visualized. It controls children that never going to have a chance to know how it feels to be 20 years old.
Did you know that the scariest monster of all is human being?
Strawberry Spring is a story about a serial killer known as Springheel Jack who only killed his prey during a thick fog that people often called as Strawberry Spring. The story is told from the perspective of a college boy. The Man Who Loved Flower is also about serial killer, but it is written in different style to Strawberry Spring. This story is much shorter than the first one but I could say that the effect is deeper than the first one.
The rest of the stories are so varied. The Ledge is about a man who falls in love with the wife of a boss of an organized criminal. The boss will let him have his wife if he can walk the ledge that surrounded the boss apartment. The apartment is 400 feet above the land. If you find it really difficult to quit smoking, then you can contact Quitters, Inc. They have the most unimaginable method to cure your addiction to tobacco. Night Surf is a post-apocalypse story. Some young men and women are trying to enjoy their existence by staying near the beach. It is a very boring story.
I have written the summaries of 18 short stories, they are not written according to the order in the book. I still have 2 stories to share. These 2 stories are not scary or suspenseful at all…it is all about human’s heart.
The Woman in The Room tells the story of a man whose mother was laid crimple on the hospital bed. Something needed to be done to make both mother and son live happier. The Last rung On The Ladder is my most favorite story in this book. Not many people realize that Stephen King can write a non-horror movie that can easily touch people’s heart. The story is so simple and yet very powerful. It is about a woman who puts so much trust on her brother but the brother let her down. The story is told from the brother’s perspective. He had to carry his guilt all of his life. It’s a sad story that can remind us all how important to always keep in touch with our loved ones.
As I said earlier…not all stories are great, but overall I really like this book. I might reread some stories in Night Shift somewhere in the future.
Title: Night Shift
Author: Stephen King
Pages: 409 pages
Publisher: New English Library
Challenge: The 2011 Stephen King Reading Challenge and Mystery & Suspense Reading Challenge 2011.