Night Shift (Stephen King)

stephenkingnightshiftKing’s flair for the short story is almost unsurpassed. My favourite is “Children of the Corn”, where a bizarre road accident prompts an argumentative couple to seek help. When they begin to explore a strange town, a rather disturbing lack of adults leads them into a sinister ritual. Each story is very cinematic, so its no surprise to learn that 12 of them have been turned into (bad) movies. But there are some crappy ones too, depending on your taste.

While no date is given, collection opener “Jerusalem’s Lot” certainly reads as though it is the earliest of King’s stories presented here, as the authors’ voice is all but buried beneath those of his influences. Readers of ‘Salem’s Lot may be expecting a vampire-filled sequel to that novel, but this is in fact an unrelated Lovecraftian tale of a mans disturbing family inheritance. There are some nicely macabre moments, and the elements of the story are cosily familiar – presenting the tale as diary extracts; an inherited spooky old home; mysterious sounds in the walls and basement; superstitious locals; Cthulhu Mythos references – that they are virtually horror fiction clichés, making this a familiar but fun start to the collection.

“One For The Road”: Think of this as a story linked to Jerusalem’s Lot, the fact being that vampires are there again. This story takes place in winter. An old man runs into a bar, telling a friend that his family is gone. They both set out to find them…but, who is that with the red eyes and dripping fangs out in the snowstorm? A new fresh hell is unleashed. Dripping with wintery, shivery atmosphere coming out of its yin-yang! “Battleground” is a one man battle with toys and machinery. This was a really edge-of-your-seat-blockbuster-type story that engrossed me until the very end. It is also a very fun story. “Trucks” is a claustrophobic tale about a group of human beings inside a café while a group of trucks outside try and kill them.

This was notable as being turned into the film “Maximum Overdrive”, the only King adaptation to be directed by the man himself. I thought this story was a bit long and I couldn’t really get in tune with the characters, but it is still fun. “The Man Who Loved Flowers” is a swift little shocker reminiscent of the writings of Robert Bloch. Another of my favorites is “The Ledge:” A wealthy and arguably insane businessman makes a wager with the young tennis pro who has been sleeping with his wife. If the tennis pro, who is also the narrator, can make it all the way around the top of a high-rise building on a five-inch-wide ledge, he will escape forty years in prison for a trumped-up dope charge… as a collection I don’t recommend buying this, but if you can read it for free, do so!




  1. Oh boy, I need to read this.
    Thank you for the review!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Ana! The Skeleton Crew is a more polished collection of his, but I have an affection for this because it was one of the first SK books I read.


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