Lying on the couch in Dr. Harper's office, keeping a close watch on the closet door, Lester Billings relates the bizarre tale of "The Boogeyman" who has taken his children's lives. In "I Know What You Need," a pretty college co-ed finds the perfect lover while on a campus in Maine. A young man thrills to the eerie mists of a murderous "Strawberry Spring." A winter storm hits and a group of old codgers who regularly gather around the Reliable at Henry's Nite-Owl discover the gruesome fate of an old crony in the title story, "Gray Matter." A son, horrified by the grim indignity of death, struggles with his love for "The Woman in the Room," while a hit man, back from a successful assignment, finds himself besieged by a toy army that turns his New York penthouse into a deadly "Battleground."
©1976 Stephen King; (P)1995 Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, A Division of Random House, Inc.
While Night Shift is one of Stephen King's best collections of short fiction, this collection is a little lop-sided with excellent drama but little true horror. While the gruesome and wonderful title story, "Gray Matter", and hard to forget "Battleground" are a strong foundation, wonderfully written but not very chilling stories like "The Woman In The Room" and "The Boogeyman" outweigh the light but effective "Strawberry Spring" and the slow-burner "I Know What You Mean".
My advice to long time King fans and newcomers alike is to skip these three Nightshift samplings, and to wait for a complete anthology. This collection, along with two others available from audible, were released in the mid 90s. They sound as if they were ripped directly from the old cassettes in some places, and this distracted me at times. Yes, Audible has the three volumes making up the old Bantom Doubleday Dell audio Nightshift collection, but be warned. A few stories from the anthology have never been published on audio before. Even if an audible customer were to purchase Gray Matter and other stories, Lawnmower Man and other stories, and Graveyard Shift and other stories, they'd be missing a few.The unincluded tales are I am the Doorway, One for the Road, Children of The Corn, and Trucks. Hopefully, Simon and Schuster will choose to give audiobook readers Nightshift in its entirety soon, including the prefatory matterial. They've recently released the complete Skeleton Crew anthology three or so days before this review was written, so I prefer to be optimistic.
First I will start by saying, if you are a King fan and have not read his earlier works, i recommend you read his stories and books in order of publication, because his writing develops over time.
These earlier stories may lack some of the finesse of King's later works but they are simply fun, and bounce from slightly comical to a little sad. In the "Woman in the Room" a son watches his mother waste away from cancer and contemplates euthanasia...."I Know What You Need" is a cautionary tale about Mr. Right..."The Boogeyman" is a fun take on the classic closet monster..."Strawberry Spring" is a quick read on the series of murders committed by Spring Healed Jack...and finally "Gray Matter" is a satire about the sin of Sloth.
All in all this is a fun read, it's quick to get through and it covers the spectrum of emotions and subject matter.
Ok early King. The stories are kinda weak and under developed. The Boogeyman was good up until ending. Gray Matter and The woman in room were the two least appealing. But Strawberry Spring and the second story bout the girl who meets an unusual love interest that seems to good to b true are both very good but seem to quick and under developed. Also the sound of the recording was bad, sounded like John Glover was narrating from underwater or in a huge echoing cathedral.
Amazing! You truly get to see the beginning of this amazing writers career.
As we all know Stephen King is a prolific detail driven artist. In these early stories you get to see all the creativity in a much more to the point fashion.
John Glover reads the stories as if this is all he wants to do.
My only negative critique is the sound quality. It sounds like there to much bass and yet hollow and old timey. Like listening to an old fashioned mono tape recorder. It was slightly distracting and if it was fixed, it would've made the whole experience perfectly pallet able. I tried adjusting my radio, but eventually just stuck it out with the regular settings.
Definitely worth it!!!
"Decent read but not his best work"
These stories are OK, one or two are even pretty good. But they are not King's finest hour by any means. If you've read most of his other stuff they might be worth a look, but otherwise there's plenty of other more engaging books he's produced.
The stories are old-school in tone. They sound like (and probably were) written by King for publication in magazines to bring in some cash.
I understand they were some of the earliest material he wrote, so if you're interested in seeing where the great author started, you can see it here.
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