Night Shift by Stephen King
Night Shift by Stephen King was his first anthology of short stories. I still think it’s the best. I read it when it came out (almost 40 years ago), and continue to do so every few years. I still love and hate the same ones. And the same ones still scare me. Not all are great, but most show King’s potential, which was fulfilled. I love the ones that later became full-length books. A few became movies, but, nothing spectacular. Brief synopsis of each follows:
Jerusalem’s Lot…….In the 1850’s, Charles Boone and his servant Calvin move into the ancestral home, and find noises in the walls, an awful basement and a “deserted town”. Hell follows. (Pre-cursor to Salem’s Lot). Loved It.
Graveyard Shift.……Rats. This one still gives me nightmares. Enough said.
Night Surf……..Follows a group of teens on a beach, after a deadly virus has destroyed most of the world. (Pre-cursor to The Stand). Was okay.
I Am the Doorway…….A disabled astronaut comes back from a flight to Venus with a new perspective. Interesting.
The Mangler………A possessed machine in a laundromat. Really enjoyed this one. Remember that my Mom (who worked in a cleaners, and on a similar machine), did not.
The Boogeyman.…..A father scares his child with thoughts of the boogeyman, which comes back to bite him. Loved it.
Grey Matter…….Overall moral of the story, don’t drink beer. Little gross, but liked this one.
Battleground……..A hit-man kills the owner of a toy manufacturer, only to return home to find a box of toy solders waiting for him. Not impressed with this one.
Trucks…….Loved this one. A group of people are held hostage in a truck stop – by the trucks themselves.
Sometimes They Come Back…..A high school teacher is visited by a group of boys who killed his brother when they were kids. Somehow, they are still teenagers. Loved this one.
Strawberry Spring……..A false spring, a lot of fog, and a serial killer on the loose. Loved it!
The Ledge……..An arrogant and wealthy man decides to get vengeance on his wife’s lover, and things get turned around. Loved the premise and the visuals.
The Lawnmower Man.……Hiring this company for your landscaping needs would be an experience. Didn’t like this one then or now, and yet it stays with me.
Quitters, Inc………As a smoker at the time of the my first reading, and finally a non-smoker for the last 4 years, this one got to me. Glad I didn’t join this group. Loved it.
I Know What You Need…….Love story is too good to be true. Liked it.
Children of the Corn.……..Nightmare drive through small town Nebraska when a fighting couple hits a child who “came running out of the corn”. Loved it. You could see the disagreements between the husband and wife just escalate.
The Last Rung on the Ladder…….A brother is always there for his sister – until he isn’t. Really sad story. Not horror, not gruesome, just good. Loved it.
The Man who Loved Flowers…..Love story gone wrong. It was okay.
One for the Road.……..A more modern Jerusalem’s lot story. A man turns off the main road in a snow storm and leaves his wife and child in the car while he goes for help. Upon his return, they are “missing”. Good One!
The Woman in the Room….Again, not a horror story, and yet, frightening, and oh so sad. A son visits his dying mother in the hospital, wanting to help her move on.
There is a great intro by John D. MacDonald, and a Foreward by the Great Man Himself.
Overall, as always, a great read.
Re -Read: April 2017
Favorite Quotes from Night Shift:
“The thing under my bed waiting to grab my ankle isn’t real. I know that, and I also know that if I’m careful to keep my foot under the covers, it will never be able to grab my ankle.”
“Let’s talk, you and I. Let’s talk about fear.”
About the Author: This was King’s first anthology. He was 31.