Nightmares & Dreamscapes: Stephen King
Here’s another change to read this compendium of Stephen King short stories that was first published in 1993.
Even if the book is new to you, you might have read some of these stories before because they have been in various other collections and in some cases,published in magazines.
It contains several of my own personal favourites, three in particular.
(I think my absolute favourite ever Stephen King short story is Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption from the Different Seasons collection. You probably know the film it inspired…)
Which are my favourites in Nightmares and Dreamscapes? Well, we all have different tastes and monsters and people that transform into strange beings are not really my cup of tea.
So I think that one of the best in this collection is Dolan’s Cadillac. (Don’t worry,I’m not going to issue any spoilers on this page.)
In this story, our narrator, Robinson, is a widower. His wife was killed because she gave evidence to the police about a crime baron. Robinson is determined to avenge her death.
It takes him years of surveillance before he is able to formulate a plan. Once the plan develops, it takes an immense amount of dogged determination to prepare himself.
Can he perform the perfect murder?
Part of the problem is that his dead wife keeps interfering…
Although I don’t like the really far-fetched stuff, I love You Know They’ve Got a Hell of a Band.
In this story, a young couple are relocating to another area. They are travelling by car to take the scenic route. When the girl is sleeping, her husband gets lost in forested countryside.
Being a bloke, he is unwilling to turn round or admit his mistake and is pleased to see a signpost for a town – called ‘Rock and Roll Heaven’. She wants him to turn back but he decides that they should continue to the town. At least they’ll be able to have something to eat. But this being a Stephen King story, they soon discover that the town is decidedly creepy.
When they enter the local diner, it becomes even more so.
Something I like about this story is yes, it’s creepy but it’s also got a great element of daftness. It appeals to my sense of the absurd to imagine a town that is inhabited by dead rock stars where Janis Joplin owns the local diner and Elvis Presley is the mayor…
Sorry, Right Number is a fine chiller. I like chilling stories that happen in everyday situations sand in this one, Katie is having a phone conversation with her sister. Her husband is working in his study and the kids are watching TV. All beautifully normal. But when Katie has finished her call, the phone rings again. All she hears is a female sobbing and saying ‘please … take …please’.
Katie immediately thinks about her eldest daughter who is away at school. The caller was so obviously distressed. But she calls her daughter who is fine. Katie then wonders if it could have been her mother but she is fine too. She tries to call her sister again but can’t get through. She dashes to her home but yes, her sister is well and it wasn’t her who called. The family conclude that it must have been a wrong number.
Then tragedy strikes.
It’s five years later when Katie, by this time a widow, discovers just who the caller was… goosebumps time.
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