Four Past Midnight by Stephen King

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At midnight comes the point of balance. Of danger. The instang of utter stillness when between two beats of the heart, an alternative reality can slip through, like a blade between the ribs, and swithc you into a new and terrifying world.

Four Past Midnight: four heart-stopping accounts of that moment when the familiar world fractures beyond sense, the fragments spinning away from the desperate, clutching reach of sanity...

“Then his lids closed slowly over his slightly bloodshot eyes, and Mort Rainey, who had yet to discover what true horror was all about, fell asleep.”

I usually enjoy King’s short stories and novellas quite a bit. Unlike many, he has a consistent talent with shorter works. It’s sort of ironic he shines so heavy in this area considering most of his novels are too long, but I kind of digress here.

Unfortunately this was the least favorite I’ve read. I have many more to go, of course, so it may not stay in the weaker spot. 3 Stars isn’t bad, but this is a mundane offering compared to the brilliance of his other novella collections like the excellent Different Seasons.

While I enjoyed The Langoliers and couldn’t put it down (at first), time started weighing it down and the longer it continued, the more it started dragging. I do dig the concept, though, and the characters were fully fleshed.

I figured I’d like Secret Window, Secret Garden...and I did. I dig the idea of a writer obsessed with his fiction. I do keep picturing Johnny Depp in the role now, of course. The movie had a darker twist that fits the fictional short story with irony, but the book ending is a little more somber. I know this particular story gets its share of flack for some reason, but I enjoyed it in theater and I enjoyed it in written form. It was a clever mishmash with some twists, although the ending I’m used to from the movie didn’t match and I’m not sure which version I prefer.

The biggest disappointment was The Librarian Police. It sounded fascinated and started strong, but turns out inconsistent and downright silly.

The Sun Dog as a final installment was a weird wrap-up that stayed interesting enough but fully embraced its cheesiness.

A particular delight was Kings’ foreward before each story, talking about themes and how he came up with each story. He speaks of Castle Rock quite a bit. His stories set in so many imaginary towns in Maine have made that state stand out in the heads of horror fans.

Book Quotes

“And didn't they say that, although curiosity killed the cat, satisfaction brought the beast back?”

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