Stephen has been on my shitlist recently. Finally though, a book of short stories, exactly what I was craving from him. Luckily, this didn't disappoint.
King has a distinct knack for short stories, drawing you in and scaring the bejeebus out of you that he just didn't do in his later novels. In short stories, you have such a limited space to tell your story so you have to be a bit more adept with words. My favorite stories are the ones that plop you right in the middle of a situation and then pulls you right back out again. Haruki Murakami is excellent at this.
King manages to creep the reader (ME!) out by merely suggesting a situation. For example, the story N. gave me creepies that disturbed my sleep simply by telling a story of a guy going to a shrink. The story was told by the shrink's notes and depicted a patient who had severe OCD and firmly believed that a field he had went to was possessed. That's the story, big deal, right? No, the suggestion of what the character believed was happening was enough to put the thought into the readers head. If you look at the story, it's just what a patient tells his shrink - with some dire outcomes. But still, NOTHING really happens. But I was still creeped out.
I really liked Willa although King admitted in his notes it wasn't the best (it wasn't) and The New York Times at Special Bargain Rates was on par with Willa. What happens after death is a special playground for writers with vivid imaginations.
The Cat From Hell reinforced my sincere dislike of the feline variety.
The Things They Left Behind would have pushed me over the edge, had it actually happened to me.
And lastly, of my favorites, The Gingerbread Girl actually made me hold my breath.
Good show, old man. This was a really good collection of what you do best.