Sunday, August 7, 2011

Just After Sunset by Stephen King

The thirteen stories in Stephen King’s Just After Sunset confirm him as the master of the thriller and horror genres for this generation. These are not necessarily short stories; King likes enough room to maneuver around as he unveils his story. The reader is reminded once again what makes Stephen King a master; taking everyday situations and characters each of us encounter in our own lives and twisting them just enough awry to make the horror that ensues believable.

The stories range across a variety of situations. There is the man who takes up stationary bike riding to lose weight; nothing can go wrong there, can it? The psychiatrist who “catches” his patient’s sick obsessions. A high school graduation party that will be remembered not for the occasion but for what went wrong that day with the world. A man haunted by survivor’s guilt when he uncharacteristically skipped work and the date happened to be September 11th and his workplace an office in the Twin Towers. From these situations, King weaves stories that will remain in the reader’s mind long after the book is closed.

This book is recommended for horror and thriller lovers. King’s genius is his believability; the conversations his characters have are conversations you could overhear in any diner  or gathering place in America. The situations start out as everyday occurrences until there is a kink in time, something that twists the everyday sideways into horror; a glimpse into another world that seems impossible to exist; a glance into the hidden horrors in a friend or neighbor’s mind. King has stated that he writes his short stories about situations that scare him; if so, his mind must be a very frightening place.  Readers will be pleasurably entertained and ready for the next round of King’s stories when they finish this one.