Gateway Gazette

From My Bookshelf: If It Bleeds

By Lynn Willoughby

If It Bleeds ~  Stephen King

My introduction to Stephen King was reading a book of novellas, including “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption”.  I was hooked.  And at the expense of sounding truly creepy, I am his number one fan.  (See “Misery”).

His newest book is also a compilation of novellas – “Mr Harrigan’s Phone”,  “The Life of Chuck”,  “If It Bleeds”  and “Rat”.  Once again I was reading long into the night.

“Mr Harrigan’s Phone” is about the friendship between Mr Harrigan, a rich curmudgeon, and a thirteen year old boy – who reads to him several times a week. Sounds innocuous enough. That was one night of reading until 2 or 3 am.

“The Life of Chuck” starts with billboards of Chuck all over town.  Who is he?  Why is he there? And why is the internet down half the time and electricity supplied intermitantly, sinkholes, traffic jams, building toppling for no apparent reason.  Are these occurances even linked?  What does …”he held multitudes in his brain” even mean?  I found out about 2 am!

“If It Bleeds” is the title of the book and the longest of the stories.  Holly Gibney – from “Mr Mercedes” is the main character.  She is desperate to find out the true identity of Chet Ondowsky – a TV reporter.  Why?  There are not enough spoiler alerts for me to continue with the plot.

“Rat” is deceptively simple.  Drew – a university professor, is trying to write a novel.  He has successfully published several short stories, one in The New Yorker, but actually finishing a novel seems to be beyond him.  He leaves his family for a few weeks and isolates himself in his father’s old hunting cabin to try for a breakthrough in his novel “Bitter River’.  But “Reality was deep, and it was far.  It held many secrets and went on forever.”  King’s stories are NEVER simple.  At least this one I finished at 2 pm – couldn’t wait for bed time.”

  • Gerald’s Game
  • 11/22/63
    • and many others

Who Knew?

King’s books have sold over 350 million copies.  He has received multiple awards including the National Medal of the Arts, Medal for Distinguished Contributions to American Letters, The O. Henry Award, Grand Master Award from Mystery Writers of America, The Canadian Booksellers Association Lifetime Achievement Award. 

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