Sunday, October 31, 2010

Night Shift by Stephen King (GRADE: B)

I just finished Night Shift by Stephen King this morning.  Night Shift is an early collection of short stories, published in 1978.  NOTE: I'm kind of into short stories now.  This collection includes Children of the Corn which was made into a movie of the same name; Trucks which was also turned into a movie, directed by Stephen King, and titled Maximum Overdrive; and The Lawnmower Man, which was also made into a movie, which had almost nothing to do with the short story; some of these stories were made into short movies, the collection of short movies was released under the name Cat's Eye.

How does one review a collection of short stories?  Well, one way is to review each story one at a time but that seems a little tedious to write and, I'm imagining, tedious to read.  So I will choose three that I liked and write about them.  Why three?  WHY NOT!  Anyhoo.

BATTLEGROUND is about a hit-man named Renshaw who is hired to kill a toy maker.  A box is mailed to him and it is full of tiny army men and equipment.  The one inch army men are functional and so is the equipment.  Their bullets feel like bee stings and the propellers of the helicopters slices Renshaw's hands to the bone.  This story is about Renshaw and his encounter with the little army men.  I liked this story.  As a kid, I've imaged my toys coming to life but in my imagination, the toys were my friends.  What if the toys were not your friends?  Well, that is what this story is about.

THE LEDGE is about a tennis pro, Stan Norris, who is sleeping with a dangerous powerful crime lord's wife.  The crime lord, Cressner, says that he will let Norris go and give him money and let his wife go with Norris, if Norris is willing to do one thing, walk along a 6 inch ledge around the outside of his apartment building; Cressner is expecting Norris to fall and thus exact revenge on him.  This is Stan Norris's story about the walk around the building.  I liked this story also.  This is a great example of a simple story that is plot/suspense driven.  Well done, Mr. King

THE LAST RUNG ON THE LADDER.  All I'll say about this story is that it made me cry.  Good times.

Overall, most of the stories were very good.  King's stories are mostly plot driven instead of 'slice-of-life'.  I liked most of the stories but, as is common with most collections, even if all the stories are by the same author, some stories in Night Shift were strong while others are not as strong.  But an enjoyable read for the most part.  I rate this book a B.  Some stories were As and most were Bs and maybe one was a C.  Good times.

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