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3.5 

If It Bleeds

By Stephen King
If It Bleeds by Stephen King digital book - Fable

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Publisher Description

*#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER*

Includes “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone”—now a Netflix original film starring Donald Sutherland and Jaeden Martell!

From the legendary storyteller and master of short fiction Stephen King comes an extraordinary collection of four new “exceptionally compelling novellas that reaffirm [King’s] mastery of the form” (The Washington Post).

Readers adore Stephen King’s novels, and his novellas are their own dark treat, briefer but just as impactful and enduring as his longer fiction. Many of his novellas have been made into iconic films, including “The Body” (Stand by Me) and “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption” (Shawshank Redemption).

The four brilliant tales in If It Bleeds prove as iconic as their predecessors. In the title story, reader favorite Holly Gibney (from the Mr. Mercedes trilogy and The Outsider) must face her fears, and possibly another outsider—this time on her own. In “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone” an intergenerational friendship has a disturbing afterlife. “The Life of Chuck” explores, beautifully, how each of us contains multitudes. And in “Rat,” a struggling writer must contend with the darker side of ambition.

If these novellas show King’s range, they also prove that certain themes endure. One of King’s great concerns is evil, and in If It Bleeds, there’s plenty of it. There is also evil’s opposite, which in King’s fiction often manifests as friendship. Holly is reminded that friendship is not only life-affirming but can be life-saving. Young Craig befriends Mr. Harrigan, and the sweetness of this late-in-life connection is its own reward.

“An adroit vehicle to showcase the…nature of evil” (The Boston Globe), If It Bleeds is “exactly what I wanted to read right now,” says Ruth Franklin in The New York Times Book Review.

1000 Reviews

3.5
Surprised Face with Open Mouth
Descriptive writingSuspensefulTwistyDark settingDark
“* Purchased Read * I'd like to admit a bit of bias before I deliver my review because you see, when I was 12 years old and venturing through my mother's book collection, I was introduced to Stephen King for the first time and immediately fell in love with his tales. The way he writes horror is thrilling, and he quickly became the "king" of terror for me. Now, with that said, and setting my bias aside, I'd like to say I felt the same way about "Until it bleeds." And unfortunately, I didn't. The entirety of the book was well written, and the plots were fine but lacked excitement for me until the third story. *Waits for the gasp* In part, I want to blame my lack of interest for "Mr. Harrigans phone" on the fact that I watched the Netflix adaption before experiencing its written form (of course this isn't King's fault); I knew what to expect on each page. (This is not Mr. Kings fault, of course.) In my personal opinion, the show included more excitement than the written tale, and I'd hate to use the word "boring," but it was pretty damn close. I felt the same way about "The life of Chuck." Lack of thrill. The story itself was fine, with wonderful vocabulary, likable characters, and a nice twist at the end, but the story leading up to that conclusion felt quite dull. The chills finally came when I reached "If it bleeds," and instead of feeling as though I was trudging along, forcing myself to complete the story to move onto the next, I was totally captivated, shudders and all! There was mystery, horror, and excitement! The action kept me turning the pages to find out what happened next, "Whodunnit," and what would come of the characters. All in all, I loved this story. The final tale in the book "Rat" was also enjoyable. As someone who has attempted her own novels only to reach failure, I could really resonate with Drew. I could connect with him and understand that feeling, that rush that came from finally finding "that story," seeing it all so clear in your minds eye and rolling with it... That feeling of being able to relate was what kept me reading on. I finished the story with a grin, I like the rat; albeit tricky he is, he tossed a good twist into the story. Rating:”

About Stephen King

Stephen King is the author of more than sixty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes the short story collection You Like It DarkerHollyFairy TaleBilly SummersIf It BleedsThe InstituteElevationThe OutsiderSleeping Beauties (cowritten with his son Owen King), and the Bill Hodges trilogy: End of WatchFinders Keepers, and Mr. Mercedes (an Edgar Award winner for Best Novel and a television series streaming on Peacock). His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller. His epic works The Dark TowerItPet SemataryDoctor Sleep, and Firestarter are the basis for major motion pictures, with It now the highest-grossing horror film of all time. He is the recipient of the 2020 Audio Publishers Association Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2018 PEN America Literary Service Award, the 2014 National Medal of Arts, and the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King. 

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