King Capsule No. 1

kingcapsule

Here’s your premiere dose of the master of horror, one Stephen King. In this first King capsule you will be introduced to four of King’s most popular and well known novels that you might want to start with when beginning with this author. Since he has published 54 novels as of March 2016 (and that’s not including short story collections), this is a lot medicine to swallow.

So it is best taken in small, simple, capsule form.

‘Salem’s Lot (1975): Every horror writer has one, and this is Stephen King’s take on the vampire story. In the quaint small town of Jerusalem’s Lot, or ‘Salem’s lot as some locals call it, or The Lot as others do, things are not always as they seem. Ben Mears grew up here and there are certainly some skeletons hiding in his closet about the town. But now he’s looking to star anew and has moved into the old Marsten home where he plans to write his new book, possibly about the history of the historic mansion; he’s not sure yet. There’s also this cute girl in town who he used to know, and he’s starting to get real friendly with her. There are also some strange things going on in the Lot, and during the day it all seems a little too quiet.

Pet Sematary (1983): Losing a beloved pet can be really hard on a family, especially on a child, so what if there was a way of bringing said beloved pet back from the dead? The Creeds are about to find out. They’ve just moved into this lovely old house in rural Maine that’s close to a road that sees a lot of traffic. And sadly the pet cat finds this out the hard way. But deep in the woods behind the house is a pet cemetery, only there’s something really creepy about it, other than the jagged sign that reads “Pet Sematary.” Also if this place can bring things back from the dead, does that just apply to animals?

Misery (1987): Paul Sheldon is the bestselling and popular author of the Misery Chastain novels. But he’s written the last one and is finally done with character. That is until he gets in a horrific automobile accident from which he barely survives and is nursed back to health by Annie Wilkes, who just happens to be Sheldon’s number one fan. Only she’s not happy with how the last book ended, not happy at all. She wants him to write a new Misery novel, a better one, and if he doesn’t write it like she tells him to, then she’s going to have to teach him a lesson.

The Tommyknockers (1987): Bobbi Anderson is a pretty successful writer living in the fictional town of Haven, Maine. Her old friend Gardener is back; he’s done well as a poet, but also has an alcohol problem. But for Bobbi, she’s doing pretty great with herself, that is until she finds that strange chunk of metal sticking out of the ground near her house. Curiosity gets the better of her and she starts to dig it up, wondering what it is. Only, she can never quite find the edge, as it keeps getting bigger and bigger. The more of it she unearths, the more she’s certain it’s something not from this planet.

Book News: Writing Spaces, Graphic Memoirs, Pat Conroy RIP & More!

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Dark Tower Casting 
The movie adaptation of Stephen King’s opus has cast its two leading roles and they’re amazing.

American Gods Casting Update 
The TV series adaptation of the Neil Gaiman bestseller has added a notable lead actor to its cast.

Remembering Pat Conroy 
On the passing of this bestselling author.

[read more . . .]

“The Bazaar of Bad Dreams” by Stephen King (Scribner, 2015)


To date, Stephen King has published seven short story collections, proving that the prolific writer is still a big fan of the short form. This latest collection, The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, has perhaps one of the more horrifying and chilling covers to grace the front of a book in some time. But this makes sense, since many of the stories in the pages of this collection are both chilling and horrifying. The Bazaar of Bad Dreams is perhaps King’s best collection of stories since his debut collection Night Shift.

The anthology kicks off with “Mile 81” where there is an old abandoned vehicle at a defunct rest stop that has a tendency to absorb everything that touches it; one might even say eats. In “The Dune” a man can see people’s futures written in the sand. “Morality” is the story of the collection that really makes you think, as a couple must decide whether they will perform a certain act for a large amount of money, and whether their relationship can survive because of it.

What happens when you die? King decides to present his thoughts in “Afterlife.” In “UR” an ereading device has special powers. “The Little Green God of Agony” is a story about pain in its many forms and if it had a physical presence, what it would look like. “Obits” is a story about a journalist who causes bad things to happen to people when he writes their obituaries. The collection also features King’s novella “Blockade Billy” in its entirety, about an old baseball player who had certain “abilities,” as well as King’s most recent short story published in the summer of 2015, “Drunken Fireworks.”

For those wondering why so many readers love everything King does, the many great stories in The Bazaar of Bad Dreams makes it easily convincing. The anthology has a little bit of everything: ghost stories, psychological thrill rides, captivating thrillers, and moving stories of fiction. You will not be disappointed.

Originally written on January 17, 2016 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of The Bazaar of Bad Dreams from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

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Obama Honors Stephen King 
In addition to Sally Field and Alice Waters, Stephen King was awarded the 2014 National Medal of Arts.

Worldreader & Opera 
Worldreader, a global nonprofit dedicated to improving literacy in the developing world through digital books, has partnered with Opera Software to extend reading to even more people.

Neil Gaiman Interview 
In a recent interview, bestselling author Neil Gaiman talks about writing and his books, and more importantly also about censorship.

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“Finders Keepers” by Stephen King (Scribner, 2015)

Finders Keepers
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It may just be coincidence that both Stephen King and J. K. Rowling writing as Robert Galbraith feature writers getting horribly murdered in the sequels to their successive thriller series, in Finders Keepers and The Silkworm respectively. But then they are both extremely popular authors who are now writing outside of their usual genre and having a great time doing it.

In the second novel featuring the now private detective Bill Hodges, most of the book focuses on the story of renowned author John Rothstein, who is brutally killed by Morris Bellamy for money and a significant number of notebooks featuring unpublished works the world has never seen. Because the items are too hot to sell, Bellamy buries them and soon gets caught for rape, beginning a very long life sentence.

Years later Pete Saubers finds a buried trunk with some special notebooks. There is also a large amount of money. The question is should Pete turn in what he has found to the authorities, or perhaps use the money to help his family who are in deep financial troubles and at risk of divorce?

King is clearly having a lot of fun writing in this genre, as Finders Keepers is a well-developed and well-crafted mystery that builds on a strong and interesting foundation. This is one of those Stephen King books where you really enjoy the two hundreds pages of setup. Then the last third of the book is thrilling action, keeping the reader on the edge of their seat, wondering how it’s all going to work out.

Originally written on July 7, 2015 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Finders Keepers from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

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Revival  Doctor Sleep  Joyland

“Dark Screams: Volume One” edited by Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar (Hydra, 2014)

Dark Screams Volume 1
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Ebooks have and are continuing to change the way we read books, with shorter chapters and a growing popularity in short stories, ideal for reading on your particular ereader on the go just about anywhere. When it comes to horror, you want to make sure you find a good story to enjoy, and the first volume of Dark Screams features some big names in the genre and at a very reasonable price.

The opening story and high-point of the collection, “Weeds” by one Stephen King, is about a meteor that crashes to the earth and the weedy alien life upon it begins to grow in this world as well as on one of its inhabitants. The next story keeps the thrill and chill going with “The Price You Pay” by Kelley Armstrong about the price of debts, and how some can never be repaid.

Sadly, the collection goes downhill from there with the remaining three stories from Bill Pronzini, Simon Clark and Ramsey Campbell doing little to stimulate the mind and are just dark and don’t really go anywhere whether it’s about a strange member of an asylum or a doomed person trapped in a chamber of torture. Nevertheless, Dark Screams: Volume One is worth the read for a reader looking to experiment in the genre.

Originally written on December 8, 2014 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Dark Screams: Volume One from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

“Revival” by Stephen King (Scribner, 2014)

Revival
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Revival is the sort of book Stephen King would inevitably write, and I mean this in a good way. It’s classic King of the 2000s: not an outright horror story, but definitely with some terrifying elements that give you shivers, some memorable “Kingly” characters, and a story that just makes you wonder.

Revival is a coming of age story for Jamie Morton, unsurprisingly, in a small, quaint New England town where everybody knows each other, and expects to see each other at church on Sunday. And at the Methodist church there’s a new preacher in town, one Reverend Charles Jacobs. Jamie met him the other day and instantly took a liking to him, and soon pretty much everyone is a fan of the new preacher, making Sunday School now a well-attended event, while Mrs. Jacobs soon becomes the apple of a many a boy’s eye.

Revival also features magic, of a sort. The Reverend Jacobs has some interesting hobbies that Jamie gets to see in his special shed where he invents unique devices that seem to use a new form of energy and would likely be very popular if they were sold worldwide. Jacobs jokes about doing this one day, when his experiment is complete. It is then that Jamie starts to realize that his might be more than a hobby, perhaps more of an obsession. But then tragedy strikes the Jacobs family and when the reverend recants his faith and decries the inexistence of God to his congregation, he leaves town.

Revival then follows Jamie’s life becoming a guitarist as a teenager and playing in various bands through his twenties, living the life of a nomadic musician traveling from town to town. He also adopts the rock star life and becomes addicted to drugs, because he is a Stephen King character after all. He is at an all time low with his heroin addiction when he meets the Reverend Jacobs again.

Revival is a story of many things and the title aptly applies to many of them. It’s about Jamie’s life and life choices, and Jacobs and what he hopes to accomplish with his inventions. While the eventual reveal of Jacobs’s “quest” is somewhat disappointing (as is the case with a number of King’s endings), overall Revival is an exciting and contemplative read that will leave you contemplating numerous things.

Originally written on January 13, 2015 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Revival from Bookshop Santa Cruz, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

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Doctor Sleep  Joyland  Wind Through the Keyhole