Stephen King is such a master storyteller. I’ve come to love him over the past few years, and I now count him among my favorite authors. I have to agree with the masses, however; King tends to fall flat when it comes to endings. Thankfully, that’s not really an issue when it comes to short stories. They’re not supposed to really end, which I think is a huge boon in King’s favor. As with Night Shift, the first of King’s short story collections I read, Skeleton Crew was chockfull of the interesting, terrifying, and uncomfortable. While not every story was a resounding success, there were far more hits among these twenty two installments than their were misses, and a handful of these stories will be staying with me for a good long while.
The first selection in this collection is one of King’s novellas, The Mist, my review of which you can read here. Beyond that, the stories that resonated the most with me were The Monkey, The Jaunt, Word Processor of the Gods, Nona, Survivor Type, The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet, Gramma, and The Reach. All of these stories I would have rated anywhere from 4 to 5 stars, which I think is a pretty high percentage for a short story collection. Some of these story were scary, while others were merely uncomfortable. Only one story actually gave me nightmares, and that was a tale of self-cannibalism that included not a single supernatural element. It was absolutely horrifying. Then there’s The Reach, which was a poignant way to close out the collection. Also, there were a handful of Castle Rock stories, which is always fun to come across if you’re one of King’s Constant Readers, which I’m beginning to consider myself. One thing that I think King should steer clear of though is poetry. There were two poems in this collection and they just didn’t land.
If you’ve never read Stephen King and would like to give his work a try, I cannot suggest highly enough picking up one of his short story collections. You’ll get a taste for his style, and there’s something about King’s storytelling in short form that I find a good deal scarier than some of his novels. Whether he’s spinning a tale that spans a dozen pages or more than a thousand, King is undoubtably the master of the horror genre, at least in my eyes. Long live the King!
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