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Publisher's Summary

Named to the American Library Association’s Reference & User Services (RUSA) Listen List!

Other narrators include: Cotter Smith, Will Patton, Edward Herrmann, Holter Graham, Frederick Weller, Mare Winningham, Craig Wasson, Thomas Sadoski, and Tim Sample.

A master storyteller at his best - the O. Henry Prize winner Stephen King delivers a generous collection of stories, several of them brand new, featuring revelatory autobiographical comments on when, why, and how he came to write (or rewrite) each story.

Since his first collection, Nightshift, published 35 years ago, Stephen King has dazzled listeners with his genius as a writer of short fiction. In this new collection he assembles, for the first time, recent stories that have never been published in a book. He introduces each with a passage about its origins or his motivations for writing it.

There are thrilling connections between stories, including themes of morality, the afterlife, guilt, and what we would do differently if we could see into the future or correct the mistakes of the past. "Afterlife" is about a man who died of colon cancer and keeps reliving the same life, repeating his mistakes over and over again. Several stories feature characters at the end of life, revisiting their crimes and misdemeanors. Other stories address what happens when someone discovers he has supernatural powers: the columnist who kills people by writing their obituaries in "Obits"; the old judge in "The Dune", who, as a boy, canoed to a deserted island and saw written in the sand the names of people who then died in freak accidents. In "Morality", King looks at how a marriage and two lives fall apart after the wife and husband enter into what seems, at first, a devil's pact they can win.

Magnificent, eerie, utterly compelling, these stories comprise one of King's finest gifts to his constant fan. "I made them especially for you," says King. "Feel free to examine them, but please be careful. The best of them have teeth."

Please note: The audio edition of The Bazaar of Bad Dreams now includes an additional story: "Cookie Jar", narrated by Santino Fontana. Listeners who purchased this title prior to October 2016 can re-download the audio to get the new story.
©2015 Stephen King (P)2015 Simon & Schuster Audio

Critic Reviews

"Each narrator is a perfect fit for the stories he or she reads - it's rare to find such a collection with no misses, but it's not unusual for King. Narrating the stories' introductions himself, King makes the listener feel like his confidant every time. Cotter Smith steals the show, masterfully performing several pieces, including the poem 'The Bone Church,' the best performance of the collection." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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If you have read any of my reviews on any of King's work, than you have heard me say this before, but it is so true in these stories. King writes stories about characters, about people. Lots of his books, have very little horror in them. They seem terrifying, because of the investment you have in the characters. Another writer might come up with more terrifying situations, but if you don't care about the people in the story, it is not as scary. I am constantly amazed in King's ability to look into the human mind and tear out, those items which are uncomfortable. For instance in one story, a guy's wife dies in a local convenience store. He is sad and he did love his wife, but at the same time, he is wondering what females will give him sympathy sex.

The stories
I read lot of anthologies and story collections. I actually prefer them. It is amazing what a good writer can fit into a small story and the wow factor is usually bigger than in a novel. If a story is bad, than I don't have that much time invested until I get to another story. Most collections have two or three really good stories, some good stories and several bad stories. This collection has an unusual amount of really good stories. Only two stories did I not care for and one of them was a poem. Mile 81, is typical King. No one does 8 to 12 year old boys better than King. Add to that a car that eats people. Premium Harmony, may dwell too much into reality to be comfortable for most. The Dune, has one of those surprise endings, you can only get in a short story. A Death, is a heart rending Western. Morality, makes you wonder, could that be me, in that situation? Herman Wouk Is Still Alive, is a good look at how the other half lives. It always amazes me that King, who has been rich and famous for so long, still can write about the down and out so well. Under The Weather, will stay in my mind for years. The horror in this story is, I know people who can lie to themselves that convincingly. I am not a big baseball fan, much more a football fan, but I loved Blockade Billy. I love a period piece with the language of the time and profession. It was very entertaining. Batman and Robin,hit my heart hard as, my mother died of Alzheimer's in October. Obits, really made me think. As a pet lover with an elderly dog, I teared up during Summer Thunder. All book lovers and anyone with favorite authors should love Ur. But that's not all.

These are some of the best in the field. I am a huge fan of Will Patton and he reads two stories. Who ever did Blockade Billy made that story ten times better to listen to than read. The very first story Mile 81 is read in a slow monotone and needed to be put on 2x, but the rest were true professionals and made listening better than reading.

I agree with another reviewer, these are not very scary. They are more human interest stories. They are great writings on subjects that are hard to categorize. Be warned these stories include lots of sex, violence, bad language and some gore. I will think about some of these for a long time, but I will not have any nightmares over them.

112 of 119 people found this review helpful

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  • D
  • corona, ca United States
  • 11-05-15

A Little Supernatural, Horror, and Insight

Stephen King likens himself to a midnight street vendor peddling his tales, and if nightmares are what you seek than his short story collection “Bazaar of Bad Dreams,” delivers. This is an eclectic collection of some old favorites and new consisting of some real-life horrors, amazing supernatural fantasy, and even poetry Stephen King style. What makes these stories even more interesting, especially the Audio version, is each story is preceded by a few words of insight and inspiration from the author himself.
The ensemble cast of narrators does a great job bringing each story to life; which may or may not be a good thing since they are from Stephen King..

66 of 80 people found this review helpful

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  • Thomas
  • Norman, OK, United States
  • 11-11-15

Doesn't Belong in the Horror Genre

This is a really nice collection, but it doesn't belong in the Horror Genre. I realize that it is almost automatic to assume that "because it was written by THE ONE AND ONLY Stephen King", that it must be horror. Well I disagree. I've read quite a bit of King's work over the last 30 years, and what I've noticed is that the older he gets, the more his stories revolve around the issue of mortality. These stories range from "it was okay" to "wow, that was amazing". but the one thing that I believe holds true, is that these are not the type of stories the man used to write. While listening to this book, I found myself hoping that the next one would send chills down my spine. Well I'm almost through the book and "no such luck". I don't want to take anything away from this collection, as the stories are truly heart-warming. I also know that horror is somewhat relative to the perceptions of the reader. So I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions. But to me, this is not Horror. Thanks for reading my review.

64 of 82 people found this review helpful

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Loved it

A breakdown of the book story by story:

Mile 81- Strange things can happen on a deserted stretch of road. 5 stars

Premium Harmony- One minute they are fighting, the next she is gone. 5 stars

Batman and Robin have an Altercation- Love is thicker than dementia. 5 stars

The Dune- your fate is written in the sand. 3 stars

Bad little kid- A "bad little kid" is sabotaging his life. Is he crazy?

A Death- I cant remember this one.

The Bone Church. - A poem. 2 stars

Morality- Such a little act for so much money! Is it worth it? 5 stars

Afterlife- an investment banker confronts his life after death. 4 stars

Ur- He discovers his kindle can tell him the future. 5 stars

Herman Wouk is Still Alive- depression is serious business! 5 stars

Under the Weather- Brad is a busy advertising rep. His wife is under the weather, but that's ok she is going to be better any day now. 5 stars

Blockade Billy - About Baseball. Meh.

Mister Yummy- Who will come for you when its your time? 4 stars

Tommy- A poem. Meh again.

The Little Green God of Agony- what if Agony was a living breathing thing living inside you? 5 stars

That Bus is another world- How responsible are we for the things that happen to a stranger? 4 stars

Obits- He writes the obit, and the person dies. 5 stars

Drunken Fireworks- a fireworks competition gets bit out of control. 4 stars.

Summer Thunder- its the end of the world. 4 stars.

Overall a fantastic read with some amazing narrators, and a book I would definitely recommend to a friend. 5 stars!

63 of 81 people found this review helpful

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Captivating Storytelling

What a wonderful display of range and skill... King is an absolute master of the medium... There are stories for all here - the traditionally creepy King tales accompanied by many that show what a diversely capable storyteller he is... Sad, depressing, the uncomfortably real, the everyday dark and creepy, the horrifyingly fantastic, and so much more, and all w/ the trademark black humor... Niches and genres for everyone...Many of the stories had me thinking back on past loved reads and their authors, like rediscovering old friends... The narration was overall very good, although a couple of stories were negatively impacted by poor voices, but not enough to skip the story... I usually read collections slowly, coming back for a story everyday or so, but read this one through w/ only a couple of interludes... Spend the credit and enjoy

11 of 15 people found this review helpful

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The voice work is so good, so much talent, bringing the stories to life. Stephen King is a master and I love hearing him describe how and why he wrote these. Wonderful little literary gems of fantasy and horror.

14 of 20 people found this review helpful

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A good KING read.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This is variable, so I guess there is something for everyone who may like suspense with a twinge of horror.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Mr. Yummy. I wish this was a real character and that we could actually choose our avatars who come close to us as death nears our souls.

Any additional comments?

Most of this collection is very good. A select few stories are excellent. A couple of stories didn't do anything for me. All in all, with the varied cast performances, this was a good collection.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • sgonk
  • New York, NY USA
  • 03-21-16

A great collection!

SK's short stories are generally fantastic. This collection is a very good one--not his best--but better than the vast majority of short story collections. The various narrators are generally very good; a few voices grated but that is probably personal preference.

Dune, Obits, Ur, and Afterlife are some of the best in this collection.

This collection offers something somewhat new from SK, for me at least--Narrative Poems. I think there were poems in another collection (Skeleton Crew?), but none that I am aware of in the last 30 years or so. They seem to be a bit controversial among King fans, but I loved The Bone Church and Tommy.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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a good look to the past.

Stephen King absolutely killed it in this collection of short stories. it felt like his older stories but with a newer theme. King focused on death and old age a lot when he wrote these, but his overall talent is completely apparent and the whole book feels like night shift, even, or better maybe, you decide.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Thumbs Up From A "Constant Reader" of King

Mr. King addresses his constant readers with personal notes prior to each story in this new anthology. There is a lot of new material, but also some previously published stories that he has revised. He makes no apologies for the revision of old stories, and explains that what he writes is never finished until he dies.

Through the years, I would watch for, but never received, a lot about this author from the inside looking out. As years have gone by, he has gradually opened up more and addresses the important marks on the timeline of his life, and how those affect his writing. He kind of "unfolds" himself, which fits him, doesn't it.

Enjoyed every minute of this anthology, but most of all, really liked that he reached out to his "constant readers" with a much more personal focus. There was some real lateral momentum going on there.

I had been disappointed lately in the narrators chosen for the past few short story singles of King's on Audible, and felt the author/narrator match was totally whack. No disappointments here. Narration was a direct hit.

Mr. King mentions in one of his pre-story narrative essays, that he is now 69. That gave me a queasy feeling in my stomach. I can't imagine not having Stephen King new release dates to look forward to. Stay healthy, Mr. King.

20 of 31 people found this review helpful