Kirkus Reviews QR Code
NIGHT SHIFT by Stephen King


by Stephen King

Pub Date: Jan. 20th, 1977
ISBN: 0385129912

Twenty New England horror shorts by Stephen King (and a painfully lofty introduction by old pro John D. MacDonald). King, of course, is the 30-year-old zillionaire who poured the pig's blood on Carrie, woke the living dead in 'Salem's Lot, and gave a bad name to precognition in The Shining. The present collection rounds up his magazine pieces, mainly from Cavalier, and also offers nine stories not previously published. He is as effective in the horror vignette as in the novel. His big opening tale, "Jerusalem's Lot"--about a deserted village--is obviously his first shot at 'Salem's Lot and, in its dependence on a gigantic worm out of Poe and Lovecraft, it misses the novel's gorged frenzy of Vampireville. But most of the other tales go straight through you like rats' fangs. "Graveyard Shift" is about cleaning out a long unused factory basement that has a subbasement--a hideous colony of fat giant blind legless rats that are mutating into bats. It's a story you may wish you hadn't read. You'll enjoy the laundry mangle that becomes possessed and begins pressing people into bedsheets (don't think about that too much), a flu bug that destroys mankind and leaves only a beach blanket party of teenagers ("Night Surf"), and a beautiful lady vampire and her seven-year-old daughter abroad in a Maine blizzard ("One for the Road"). Bizarre dripperies, straight out of Tales from the Crypt comics. . . a leprous distillation.