Everything's Eventual: 14 Dark Tales
Scribner, March, 2002.
Hardcover, 459 pages.
Although it is nothing unusual to have your skin crawl as you read a Stephen King story, this latest short story collection from the horror master is seems especially designed to scare the daylights out of the reader. Introductory paragraphs provided for some of the stories work to pull the reader even further into the tale, making for a more intense reading experience. Whether or not this was intentional on his part, King's latest stories are each unique and delightfully frightening in their own way. One of the standouts of the collection is "Lunch at the Gotham Cafe," the story about a luncheon meeting between two divorcing couples and the wife's divorce lawyer that goes haywire when an insane maitre d' goes ballistic with a butcher knife. The maitre d' has definitely lost it, but as Stephen King says in his paragraph before the story about the divorced couple, "In their own way, they're crazier than he is. By far." The cover and back illustrations are based on this story. Another story, "L.T.'s Theory of Pets," is about a married couple who give each other pets as gifts. Unfortunately, the pets despise the person they are given to and only care for the person that gave them away. So, they each end up with each other's pet -- a situation which does not work out too well. Then there is "Everything's Eventual" (from the title of the collection) which is about a teenager who can kill people with words and symbols. "Autopsy Room Four" relates the story of a man on the autopsy table about to be cut open and examined -- while he's still alive. The book also includes "Riding the Bullet," a tale about a hitchhiker that gets a ride from a dead guy, which was made popular through its debut as an ebook in 2000.
Overall, this is an entertaining collection of King shorts. In his introduction, King elaborates a little on the short story writing process. He says he is worried about the genre, because magazines that feature short stories are shutting down and fewer books containing short stories are being published. That being said, King certainly helps the short story market simply by continuing to write them. Some of his short stories have been made into successful films, such as The Shawshank Redemption. In support of the short story format, King recommends other authors' collections, including Sam the Cat by Matthew Klam and The Hotel Eden by Ron Carlson. King also talks about his surprise over the extremely high demand for the "Riding the Bullet" ebook. He said he was mobbed at airports and was bombed with requests to appear on talk shows. Does his ebook success mean he knows the secrets to epublishing? Maybe -- maybe not. He and his publishers probably do have quite a bit of marketing know-how, but that doesn't matter to the reader. What does matter (to the reader) is that he tells tales that interest and entertain them. Stephen King does it here again in Everything's Eventual. Enjoy.
Everything's Eventual: 14 Dark Tales is available for purchase on Amazon.com
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This review was published in the April, 2002 of The Internet Writing Journal.
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