Night Shift

Night Shift

Never trust your heart to the New York Times bestselling master of suspense, Stephen King. Especially with an anthology that features the classic stories "Children of the Corn," "The Lawnmower Man," "Graveyard Shift," "The Mangler," and "Sometimes They Come Back"-which were all made into hit horror films."Unbearable suspense." (Dallas Morning News)From the depths of darkne...

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Title:Night Shift
Author:Stephen King
Rating:
ISBN:0450042685
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:409 pages

Night Shift Reviews

  • R.
    Jul 14, 2007

    What I learned from

    :

    It ain't easy to quit smoking.

    That I know what you need.

    That I am the doorway.

    That he walks behind the rows.

    That sometimes they come back.

    It ain't over in 'Salem's Lot.

    Don't drink bad beer.

    Get off your ass and mow your own lawn, goddammit.

  • Fabian
    Jun 04, 2008

    These are short stories (not novellas) which serve as delicious intros to popular King mythologies (for a staggering example see [or better yet, don't {with the exception of "Trucks" a.k.a. "Maximum Overdrive" for B-level entertainment and "Children of the Corn" with its quaint moments of childlike chills}] all the movies made from like eight of these tales.) Here, King is at his most bizarre, most morbid. Most of his part-time heroes & (just a few) heroines, end up dead or suffering the los

    These are short stories (not novellas) which serve as delicious intros to popular King mythologies (for a staggering example see [or better yet, don't {with the exception of "Trucks" a.k.a. "Maximum Overdrive" for B-level entertainment and "Children of the Corn" with its quaint moments of childlike chills}] all the movies made from like eight of these tales.) Here, King is at his most bizarre, most morbid. Most of his part-time heroes & (just a few) heroines, end up dead or suffering the loss of a child, wife, mother. Sometimes one story seems to bleed onto another one by motif (corn... rats... snow... death machines... death [duh]). The editing I must admit is masterful. The most avant-garde stories bookend it nicely; it even makes reference to 'Salem's Lot, one book I must admit I still have to read, and there are comical undertones & some misogynist parts (!!!!). I love how un-Stephen King this is, for someone who's used to being satisfied with around 76% of his work.

  • Trudi
    Aug 11, 2008

    Make you pee your pants scary!

    In his introduction to

    , Stephen King writes: “a good long novel is in many ways like having a long and satisfying affair” whereas the short story “is like a quick kiss in the dark from a stranger.” My literary proclivities definitely lean towards those long affairs. I don’t read a lot of short stories nor am I a fan of the format. At least give me a novella! Stephen King is one of only a handful of authors who can make me a believer in the beauty and

    Make you pee your pants scary!

    In his introduction to

    , Stephen King writes: “a good long novel is in many ways like having a long and satisfying affair” whereas the short story “is like a quick kiss in the dark from a stranger.” My literary proclivities definitely lean towards those long affairs. I don’t read a lot of short stories nor am I a fan of the format. At least give me a novella! Stephen King is one of only a handful of authors who can make me a believer in the beauty and effectiveness of the short story. For a man who has been lambasted for his “bloated” novels – King himself has referred to his condition as "literary elephantiasis" – he can still write a short story like nobody’s business. Stories that will stop your heart, chill your blood, and see the world in a new way.

    King has written hundreds of short stories over his lifetime but for me none can quite compare to the ones collected here in Night Shift. The majority of these stories first appeared in the men’s magazine Cavalier, written before Carrie’s publication in 1974 and the gargantuan financial windfall that followed. King has talked quite a bit about what life was like before that watershed moment:

    There is a rawness in these stories that reflects the drive and hunger of a young man consumed with his craft. For me these stories burn bright and hot as if King wrote them in a fever. I can picture him now pounding them out on his wife’s Olivetti portable typewriter between the washer and dryer of their cramped trailer’s tiny laundry room. King didn't write these stories for the money, cash-strapped as he was with two small kids, he wrote them because he

    .

    There’s another reason why I love the stories in this collection – they represent King’s early fascination / obsession / dedication to

    , to what haunts, creeps and crawls. King

    what scares us, because it scares him too. He

    it, it’s not a put on and these stories are as authentic as fear gets. In the introduction he writes:

    I think Poe and Lovecraft would agree.

    For me, this collection contains some of the best examples of the modern horror story. King has tapped an artesian well of contemporary fears and anxieties penning macabre, ghoulish tales that deserve to be called classics. Not to be missed: “Children of the Corn”, “The Boogeyman”, “The Mangler”, “Strawberry Spring”, and “Quitter’s Inc.” My deepest thanks to King who was the first to convince me that sometimes even I, can be seduced by that quick kiss in the dark from a stranger. Oh yes.

  • Adriana
    Jun 27, 2010

    Note to self: do not read ANYTHING written by Stephen King after dark. Nothing. Not even if it happens to be comedy, or non-fiction, or freaking poetry. Haven’t you been traumatized enough? You can’t see a clown without pissing yourself! Not that it’s hard to scare me though. I’m the kind of girl that needs to have every light on when she goes downstairs to grab a glass of water, one of those people who knows something’s right behind ready to grab me if I don't reach the second floor as fast as

    Note to self: do not read ANYTHING written by Stephen King after dark. Nothing. Not even if it happens to be comedy, or non-fiction, or freaking poetry. Haven’t you been traumatized enough? You can’t see a clown without pissing yourself! Not that it’s hard to scare me though. I’m the kind of girl that needs to have every light on when she goes downstairs to grab a glass of water, one of those people who knows something’s right behind ready to grab me if I don't reach the second floor as fast as possible and one of these days my mom is going to call and find nothing but shattered glass and nail marks in the wood…

    That little show of paranoia should show you that I’m a bit of a masochist when it comes to horror. It should also indicate you that most of the stars given to this short story collection come from King’s talent to scare me shitless. From electronic appliances from hell to the torture of memories, these tales bring to your door a big bag of uncomfortable feelings and triggers for insomnia. Among the ones that impacted me the most are:

    -

    This was the reason I decided to read this book in the first place. It’s a sort of prequel to the events of Salem’s Lot: a man moves into a house that once belonged to his ancestors and progressively discovers an unsettling relation between his family and a ghost town called Jerusalem’s Lot.

    The story stands on its own well; it doesn’t require prior knowledge of the novel to enjoy it (although it certainly helps) and the style reminded me a little of Lovecraft and Sheridan Le Fanu. For those of us familiar with Salem’s Lot, it reinforces the idea of the existence of places that attract evil, be it in the form of vampires, serial killers, or even gigantic worms from hell.

    -

    An astronaut has to deal with the after effects of an exploration to Venus that goes really, really wrong. This one was creepy as hell, and it plays with the concept of close encounters in a way that I found very original. It made me want to scratch myself all over.

    -

    Here Kings answers the one question we’ve all asked ourselves at one point in our lives: What would happen if a demon possessed a laundry folding machine? What’s that? You don’t believe that anyone could wonder such a thing? They even made a movie!! (Starred by Robert Englund, no less)

    But seriously, it’s a good story. Those laundry machines are fucking evil.

    -

    This is the reason why I can’t open my closet door during the night. I originally read this story when I was 16 years old, living through my first winter in the house of my host parents, and it scared me so bad I considered the possibility of going upstairs and begging (at that point) virtual strangers to let me sleep with them. Here, let me give you an idea of what I looked like:

    In case you’re wondering, this little gem tells the story of a single psychotherapy session with a man who’s convinced that the boogeyman has killed his three children, and is now trying to get him.

    -

    Have you ever thought about the worst thing that could happen from eating rotten food? The result could turn you into a cross between

    and

    , so please check the expiration date of everything you eat.

    -

    I knew I was going to like this one right from the title. When ghost from the past force a high school teacher to come to terms with some memories buried deep within, he has to employ some drastic measures to preserve what little remains of his sanity. And it also has a movie coming up sometime next year!!

    -

    A serial killer haunts a college campus during the strawberry spring. I saw the ending coming from a mile away, but it was still a pretty good story and I really recommend it.

    -

    All I can tell you about this story without spoiling it is that you’ll want to get off your lazy ass and take care of your own lawn. This story was weird and wonderful and made me very weary of the man that is in charge of the lawn in my neighbor’s house.

    -

    “Quitters” is a story that will hold a special appeal to smokers. The proposed method is unorthodox to say the least, and quite chilling, but if that doesn’t cure you then nothing will.

    -

    I know this story spawned around seven movies that I don’t plan to see. It’s about a couple on the brink of a painful divorce that gets lost in the middle of nowhere… well, to say it better, in the middle of the Kingdom ruled by “He Who Walks Behind the Rows”. The disturbing factor of “Children of the Corn” is high, probably because it reminded me of kids like this little dude:

    . Little preachers always give me the chills.

    -

    The following contains spoilers, you’ve been warned:

    -

    The second reason for picking up this collection is right here. It attempts to give a sort of continuation to the events of Salem’s Lot, but all I could think while reading it was

    .

    I’d like to think the best though, and it is in its own right a good vampire story, so I’m recommending it. And tonight I’m sleeping with my parents, just in case.

    -

    The central theme of this story is terrifying, but not for the reasons you think. If a loved one is suffering from a terminal illness that has taken away the most basic aspects of his dignity, do you let the disease run its course or do you do something about it? I don’t think that SK is trying to pass judgment on either answer here but, for what it’s worth, I think it’s at least important to ask the question. (oh, and the story is also very good, so read it please :) )

    In conclusion: please do yourself a favor and read this book. You’re bound to find at least one story that tickles your fancy.

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  • Nandakishore Varma
    Sep 23, 2011

    Usually short-story collections, especially by the same author, always tend to garner a three from me: because they are almost always a mix of the good, the bad and the indifferent, and follows the bell-shaped curve of the normal distribution. But not this one. These collection of early stories from King is filled with the excellent, the very good, the good... and a few mildly good. The distribution skewed heavily in the direction of the terrific.

    It's been a long time, but many of the stories li

    Usually short-story collections, especially by the same author, always tend to garner a three from me: because they are almost always a mix of the good, the bad and the indifferent, and follows the bell-shaped curve of the normal distribution. But not this one. These collection of early stories from King is filled with the excellent, the very good, the good... and a few mildly good. The distribution skewed heavily in the direction of the terrific.

    It's been a long time, but many of the stories linger: the seminal one, in my opinion, is

    . This points to the basic concerns behind King's writing, and any horror story in general. The author does a fine job of walking the tightrope between psychological horror and pure, gut-wrenching terror, without let-up in the suspense towards the very end.

    Another story which still haunts me is

    . The feral children of the cornfield and their twisted religion is one of the finest examples of creeping horror in the traditional sense.

    and

    are two other stories which really creeped me out. The remaining ones, even though not as frightening, gave me pleasant shivers and "delicious nightmare" (to borrow a phrase from Alfred Hitchcock). I return to this collection again and again, whenever I feel that life has become too safe and dull... just to remind myself that the boogeyman is always an arm's length away, behind the closet door.

    (P.S. BTW, if you ask me to pick one story from this collection as my favourite, I'd choose the only one which is

    a horror story -

    . The reason is personal. I too have a kid sister like the protagonist of that story, who knows that the hay will always be there.)

  • Edward Lorn
    Nov 23, 2014

    First read this collection when I was... twenty, I think. Not sure. Does it matter? Probably not. Three things to mention before hitting you with my one sentence reviews: I forgot how much of King's early work tied into these stories, and how much I enjoyed his non-horror outings. Truth be told, I probably didn't like the more literary stories that I read once upon a when because I was a tried and true idiot in those days (I'm still an idiot, but my wife turned me into a functioning idiot, and I

    First read this collection when I was... twenty, I think. Not sure. Does it matter? Probably not. Three things to mention before hitting you with my one sentence reviews: I forgot how much of King's early work tied into these stories, and how much I enjoyed his non-horror outings. Truth be told, I probably didn't like the more literary stories that I read once upon a when because I was a tried and true idiot in those days (I'm still an idiot, but my wife turned me into a functioning idiot, and I say thankee sai). Finally, this is probably the most fun anyone will ever have with a King collection. There are stories in here that are simply fucking cool. The concepts are fun, even if they are a tad bit violent, but there's a heaping helping of humor to go along with the sadness and the terror. I don't think any other collection, novella, or novel of his can match the sheer entertainment factor of this, his first published collection. You might disagree; and if you do, give some examples in the comment section. Once again, I know there's scarier and more moving stories of his out there, but do you think any of them are thing much fun?

    On with the single-sentence reviews:

    "Jerusalem's Lot" - King's first attempt at Lovecraft fan fiction is a three-star outing for me because of the epistolary style, which I don't like.

    "Graveyard Shift" - Four stars worth of nasty fun that shows King's not opposed to the time-tested rule of get in, get dirty, and get out.

    "Night Surf" - A four-star jaunt back into a Captain Trips-ravaged world that I dug quite a bit.

    "I am the Doorway" - A tasty tidbit of sci fi horror that gets under your skin and explains that the cover you see above is quite literal in this four-star outing.

    "The Mangler" - Five demon-possessed pieces of industrial laundry equipment out of five for being the goriest thing I've read all year.

    "Grey Matter" - I'm going deeper into this one. I believe this story was the catalyst to great many things in the King-verse. The "Grays" from Tommyknockers and Dreamcatcher make an appearance, as well as a little story about a man going into a Bangor sewer to find a giant spider. The man comes out with his hair white as snow, and dies two years later, crazy as a shithouse rat. Of course these are only my theories, but I'm giving this story five stars based on possible coolness factor alone.

    "Battleground" - Ten pages and four star's worth of big fun that any kid who's ever played with little green army men will enjoy.

    "Trucks" - Three stars for the story that inspired the movie Maximum Overdrive, that B-movie masterpiece penned by King himself.

    "Sometimes They Come Back" - Two stars for this predictable little ditty that never has struck the right chord with me.

    "Strawberry Spring" - This five-star number is probably up there in my top ten Stephen King shorts; short stories, not the man's knickers.

    "The Ledge" - A different kind of three-star thriller that makes me wonder why King has written two tales (the novel Cujo, and this seventeen-page story) about a woman who has an affair with her tennis instructor.

    "The Lawnmower Man" - This two-star pile of offal was turned into a movie so horrible, King himself requested his name be stricken from the credits, but the story was just as bad as the movie, even though neither one had shit to do with the other.

    "Quitters, Inc" - I honestly cannot believe that the same man who wrote "The Lawnmower Man" wrote "Quitters, Inc.", because this five-star tale of willpower and familial love is altogether a horse of a different color.

    "I Know What You Need" - This three-star read first appeared in Cosmopolitan, and that's all I have to say about that.

    "Children of the Corn" - My favorite story in this collection easily gets all the stars, because kids and corn are scary, yo!

    "The Last Rung on the Ladder" - Well that one was a mule kick to the feels, so I guess it gets all the stars too.

    "The Man Who Loves Flowers" - Gets four stars based on nostalgia factor alone, as I believe it's the first short story of King's that I ever sampled.

    "One for the Road" - The second to last story in this collection gets four stars simply for being a companion to 'Salem's Lot.

    "The Woman in the Room" - Is an emotionally driven four-star effort that hits a little too close to home for me.

    Notable names:

    This time around, King references his other books in multiple ways, but mostly by the towns that would come to host some of his most famous works. Below you will find a list of these towns, and any names that struck a chord with me.

    Hemingford Home

    Derry

    Jerusalem's Lot

    Gates Falls

    Haven

    Patrick Hockstetter (this name pops up all throughout the King-verse, but I don't think it's the same person every time, mainly because, when he's just a teen, Hockstetter dies at the hands of Pennywise, yet he goes on to write a book that's referenced in Carrie then becomes a scientist in Firestarter.)

    In summation: Probably the most fun you will have with Stephen King. From animated army men to great beasts that tromp behind the rows, this collection is sure to please. Highly ecommended.

    (Author's note: I said I wouldn't be doing his collections during my massive reread of King's catalog, but I'm well ahead of schedule, so here you go. I plan on doing a decade of Kingly works every three months. I started in October, and have read everything he published between 1974 and 1984. Aside from Different Seasons, I'm all caught up with that time period. I think I'll do the audio books of those next...)

  • Will M.
    Dec 05, 2014

    Also posted at my blog:

    I find it really difficult to review short stories, especially anthologies. Night Shift is a collection of King's short stories, and if I'm not mistaken, this is a collection of the first short stories he wrote in his early years of writing. The most shocking thing you have to know is that the writing is not outdated. That's the thing about King, I've read his first book

    and the writing of it still felt like he wrote it mon

    Also posted at my blog:

    I find it really difficult to review short stories, especially anthologies. Night Shift is a collection of King's short stories, and if I'm not mistaken, this is a collection of the first short stories he wrote in his early years of writing. The most shocking thing you have to know is that the writing is not outdated. That's the thing about King, I've read his first book

    and the writing of it still felt like he wrote it months ago. Amazing author indeed.

    I'm unsure of what to write here. It would make this review damn long if I were to review each short story, so I'll just list down my favorites, and not so favorites, then give a brief explanation why I liked/disliked it. The ones not mentioned were either likable or boring.

    The likes:

    Something about mutated rats really caught my interest. I'm not normally afraid of rats, but if ever I see one as big as the ones described in this short story, then I would probably be scared as hell.

    The basis for The Stand, which is one of my favorites novels of all time. It was short but quite satisfying. I liked how King introduced the disease that would cause so much havoc in The Stand.

    Honestly it would be a sin not to like this. No spoilers along your way though, so all I can say is choose your decisions wisely. It has been proven how addictive smoking is. I've never smoked in my life, and after reading this, I don't think I ever will. The plot presented here is not unlikely to happen in real life, and that's the reason why this was so scary and entertaining at the same time.

    Originality might not be the most prominent factor of this short story, but it was executed quite nicely. I liked the main character and it was a satisfying short read.

    Please don't let them come back. The main character here was really likable, and the supernatural element was creepy as fuck. Good thing I was reading this one in the afternoon. A bit scarier than Pet Sematary if one were to look at the bigger picture.

    Who doesn't like to read about gambling/bets? I sure do. The deceiver becomes the deceived.

    Creepy as fuck if ever I meet a woman of the same kind as the weird man in this one. For me this tackled psychological factors with a pinch of supernatural element/s along the way. Typical King. Amazing.

    and last, my favorite of them all,

    I read The Boogeyman at one in the morning. That was the worst decision I've ever made in my reading life, so far (maybe alongside Pet Sematary). This one was fucking scary I had to turn on the lights right after. As none of you know, I'm a bit of a nocturnal person. I'm most productive at night, and being a Stephen King fan doesn't really bode well with the nocturnal life. Really likable characters that were fully developed despite this being a short story. The Boogeyman was fucking scary and the ending scared me the most. The best of the whole collection.

    There are the ones that I disliked. I don't think I should do an "in-depth" review of them anymore because the ones that I did like managed to make this review long already. Let me just comment on how much I hated

    but really liked

    . Both are related to 'Salem's Lot, a novel that I really didn't like. I was expecting to like JL so that I could have a better reread of 'Salem's Lot in the future, but nope, I hated it just as much. Another noteworthy disappointment would be

    . I'm sure it was showcased at the back of the book for a reason, but I'm quite unsure of what that reason would be.

    4.5/5 stars. Not a perfect collection but some will never be forgotten. This collection was executed beautifully considering this was written in King's early writing years. There's a reason why King is my favorite author, and most of his works prove my point. This is one of those works. Read this if you want to be scared, and I'd recommend reading this at night.

  • Councillor
    Nov 15, 2015

    Many readers consider this book to be one of Stephen King's most popular short story collections, and I can't disagree with that opinion ... mostly because it's only the second anthology by King I have read so far. Many original horror stories are included in this collection, with most of them having been adapted into classic horror movies like "Children of the Corn", "Graveyard Shift" or "The Mangler". In its entirety, however, I consider "Night Shift" to be a rather weak collection of short st

    Many readers consider this book to be one of Stephen King's most popular short story collections, and I can't disagree with that opinion ... mostly because it's only the second anthology by King I have read so far. Many original horror stories are included in this collection, with most of them having been adapted into classic horror movies like "Children of the Corn", "Graveyard Shift" or "The Mangler". In its entirety, however, I consider "Night Shift" to be a rather weak collection of short stories, and critics will certainly find affirmation that King is also able to write true crap. But on the other hand, some of the best short stories which might be discovered in King's writing universe are included here.

    In the following, I will list a short overview on the particular stories with my opinions on them. Because well, it's impossible for me to review this collection without taking a look at each of the stories itself, with so many crappy and so many fantastic short stories combined in one book.

    (2,5/5 stars)

    The first short story in Stephen King's first anthology deals with the origins of the fictional town Jerusalem's Lot which the reader already knows from

    . However, the story hasn't a lot in common with the novel counterpart, and whoever expects to find the roots of Kurt Barlow and the vampires will end up being disappointed. In epistolary form, Stephen King allows us to take a look at the story of a man called Charles Boone, who inherits the estate Chapelwaite and soon realizes that something with his new residence is not quite the way it should be.

    Nothing felt particularly outstanding in this story except for the epistolary structure, and as an introduction to the anthology it was a little bit deterring to me.

    (3/5 stars)

    Imagine working in a mill. No light except for electric torches. A bullying foreman who wants you to keep working, no matter what happens. And big, fat rats straying through the mill ...

    I'll give a piece of advice to you: Don't read this story if you have a rat phobia. Don't read this story if you like your protagonists realistic and without weird changes in behaviour. And definitely don't read this story if you intend to enter a cave or a mill anytime soon. It might not be your wisest idea in those cases.

    "Graveyard Shift" was a good story with creepy moments, but certainly with too much build-up in the beginning and too much speed in the ending.

    (1/5 stars)

    I'll borrow that quote from King's own story and apply it here to describe it. 'Hunk of junk' is actually pretty appropriate. I can't even explain what this story is about because it frustrated and bored me so much.

    (4/5 stars)

    A crossover between the genres Horror and Sci-Fi, this story fantastically explores the effects of a confrontation of one human being with alien powers. I was hooked from the beginning and suffered vicariously my way through to the ending along with a hardly remarkable protagonist who turned into an interesting character because of his fate - as, after being exposed to a certain mutagen, tiny eyeballs break out on his fingertips ...

    (1/5 stars)

    Ridiculous attempt to write about a haunted laundry. Let's better forget this story even exists.

    (3/5 stars)

    A father who has lost all three of his children to 'the boogeyman' visits a psychiatrist to tell about the terrifying deeds which have been committed against his family.

    One of the more frightening stories, but certainly also belonging to the more forgettable ones in this collection.

    (1/5 stars)

    This one just didn't catch my attention or attract my interest. I forgot what it was about ten minutes after reading it.

    (1/5 stars)

    I didn't get what this was supposed to be. A man attacked by tiny soldiers one inch and a half big?

    ...

    Seriously? Was Mr. King on drugs while he wrote this?

    (1/5 stars)

    A small town is attacked by haunted trucks, that's the basic essence of this short story. It may be used as the exact definition of ridiculousness. No soul behind these words; no sense behind this plot; no characteristics behind these appearing persons. Just another stupid story to be forgotten.

    You may think that I was so frustrated after those first nine stories that I was tempted to give up on it? Well, yes, I certainly was. But I kept telling myself to continue, not to abandon this, to believe in the power of King's writing ...

    And he proved me right.

    (3,5/5 stars)

    In one of the longest stories of the collection, Stephen King explores the life of a teacher for English literature who has been marked by a traumatic event of his past. Now, one after another, new students enter his class. And they look exactly like the teenagers who have attacked and killed his brother - about fifteen years ago ...

    A very good story with a lot of action, insight and interesting twists and turns. I would have liked to read a full-length novel of this with a more fleshed-out protagonist; the potential was clearly visible.

    (4/5 stars)

    Do you know this feeling when you're reading a mystery and suddenly have an idea on the potential outcome, which is so unlikely you immediately pass it, but then you realize the author has actually chosen this outcome for his story? I experienced it here, and it made me love the story even more. One of King's less-known stories, but definitely a fine piece of writing. The ending can be spoiled so easily that I will not even attempt to give you an idea of what it is about.

    In "The Ledge", a rich man is cheated on by his wife with her tennis instructor. The two men are confronted with each other in the penthouse of a skyscraper. And the husband has to settle a score - he comes up with a plan you will not believe that a human being is able to create.

    So, so good. This story is one of my favorites from King's works - action, drama, suspense, unbearable tension, believable character motivations, a unique idea and a wonderfully interesting plot - "The Ledge" has everything a good short story is supposed to have.

    (0/5 stars)

    Forget it, forget it, forget it.

    One of the worst short stories ever written. I will introduce zero stars to Goodreads ratings extra for this story.

    (5/5 stars)

    A middle-aged man wants to quit smoking and visits someone who claims to be able to make him do so. The man doubts these claims - until he realizes whereupon he got himself into ...

    This short story is perfect; it's as simple as that. No supernatural elements, but instead chilling and suspenseful writing with an ending which made me swallow more than once. Easily one of my favorite short stories of all time.

    (3,5/5 stars)

    At university, a young woman meets another man who she falls in love with, not knowing how dangerous this connection may turn out to be.

    Another very good story. Stephen King knows what he is writing, that's for sure (well, if you ignore certain stories like some of those I've mentioned above). I really liked the complex plot and the hidden appearance of supernatural elements.

    (3/5 stars)

    A married couple enters a deserted village with only children inhabiting it - and they clearly have no idea of how to welcome strangers with politeness.

    Of all the twenty stories in this collection, the one I was most excited about didn't work at all for me. It was scary, yes, scary and thrilling with the religious fanatiscism included, very atmospheric and creepy. Maybe it should have been longer - the potential for a full-length novel was clearly present. Everything felt a little bit too underdeveloped for me.

    (3,5/5 stars)

    This story deals with the adventures of a young boy and his sister in their childhood. Too short to be really able to explore the characters, but with a surprising twist, a realistic story and suspenseful writing. It's interesting to see how King is able to delve deep into a character's mind within only seven pages. Definitely one of his better stories.

    (2,5/5 stars)

    It's impossible to say what this story is about without spoiling it. King came up with an interesting concept and an unexpected turn, but on only four pages it was nearly impossible to get into the story.

    (4/5 stars)

    A deserted town. A heavy snowstorm. Vampires lurking in the dark. Sounds like everyone would want to be right in the middle of this scenario, doesn't it?

    This story creeped me out. It is by far the scariest one in the entire collection. You should avoid reading it in the middle of the night, just like I should have done.

    (3/5 stars)

    A very serious and highly relevant issue portrayed with very weird writing. From a writing point, this story might be worst executed in comparison to all the other stories (if you ignore the Lawnmover Man). It profits from emotion and potential alike.

    In conclusion, "Night Shift" did not live up to my expectations, but it also didn't disappoint me. Even if you are not interested in Horror or King's writing in general, you should give either "The Ledge" or "Quitters, Inc" a try. Both stories don't include any paranormal activities, but they cover interesting subjects and will keep you on the edge of your seat.

    It's a must-read for fans of Stephen King's writing and the Horror genre in general, but if you don't consider yourself to belong to one of those parties, then you might think about skipping these stories (apart from "The Ledge" and "Quitters, Inc", of course). But then, with readers raving about this collection everywhere, maybe I'm not the one to trust in this matter ...

  • Ron
    May 23, 2016

    . Not all of the 20 stories in Night Shift (his first short story collection) are terribly frightening. Some are not meant to be, and some just made me snicker. A few of them are simply fantastic. I could practically reread those right this second. Following is my short take each:

    - The best part: Fans get a

    . Not all of the 20 stories in Night Shift (his first short story collection) are terribly frightening. Some are not meant to be, and some just made me snicker. A few of them are simply fantastic. I could practically reread those right this second. Following is my short take each:

    - The best part: Fans get a back story to ‘Salem’s Lot! The worst part: I got little bored. It’s not the story. Possible rats in walls. Evil in a decrepit town. What’s not to like? The boredom lies in the epistolary layout, which means breaks in the action, and an 1800’s style writing mannerism (Lovecraft meets Bram Stoker ?).

    - This is why I wouldn’t be the first person to enter a cellar. If I end up being first, it didn’t happen without a struggle. Many will know what lies down there because of the movie. I won’t spill the beans if you don’t. I like everything but the ending.

    - If you’re a fan of The Stand, and just who isn’t, then this one’s for you because it came first. It’s a microcosm that reveals very little, unless you have read The Stand, but it hints at Captain Trips and what some people can become when order has been lost.

    - King opens this door just a crack, enough for us to see and then imagine what may happen when species collide. The alien presence here comes from a different direction than most with similarities to his later book Dreamcatcher, and gave me a case of the heebie-jeebies.

    - A piece of industrial-sized laundry machinery comes to life, and wants blood. Utterly preposterous premise that I can’t help liking for just that simple reason - sort of.

    - Warning. Parents of small children will be turned off, especially by the worthless excuse of a father included here. King and others often write from a child’s perspective, but I like it more when the kids are the stars.

    - There is a paragraph in this story that relates to IT. Just a hint at how SK thinks. Cool to find. Sorry to say that for me, that was the best part of this creepy tale.

    - You know the plastic Army men that all little boys create massive battles with on the backyard dirt pile? These little guys are real, and they pack a wallop. Good fun with an edge.

    - Many know it by the movie title Maximum Overdrive. Machinery comes to life, so to speak. An explanation of just why this happens is not offered. It simply does, and what better place for a setting than a truck stop. Better than the film version, but only because reading allows your own imagination to fill in the spaces.

    - Okay, now we’re talking. Begins innocently, finishes badass. I like when King tells a straight story, and that’s the way this one begins. Then, it goes down, down, down into the black. For King fans who love his dark side.

    - What a great title. Well, it’s an even better story, and the explanation behind the title makes it all the more so. There’s a killer on campus. This one’s good because we see the murder, only the effects. It’s really a quiet tale with a great ending. The mystery is built in, and a little fog makes for extra suspense.

    - There’s a lot of good stuff here, particularly scary for those with acrophobia. Imagine walking on a 5” wide ledge of a building 400 feet off the ground. The protagonist has another choice, but believe me, this is the best option. Only King would throw in a pigeon attack half-way through the journey. Gosh that’s fun.

    - Have fun with this one, because if there’s one thing that it is not it’s serious. Different from the movie version, and so different period. It would have possibly have turned my stomach, but I was too busy giggling.

    - Just after a bloody, grass-stained experience with the “lawnmower”, King throws in this doozy. Previously unpublished before Night Shift, and I’m so glad he decided to write and include it. I have never smoked, and never will thanks to Quitters, Inc. The protagonist Richard Morrison learns his lesson, and the final line is a gem.

    - Not really scary, except for the very real look into a stalker’s mind. I didn’t know where this was going, and I like that in a story. The ending was just so-so.

    - Here’s another creepy good tale distorted by Hollywood. I don’t remember previously reading this writing, probably because of the movie. Don’t miss it because it’s a great display of how King subtly draws you in with great writing. Before you know it you are trapped, sort of like the couple who happened to pick the wrong road…or were they drawn?

    - A short story which lifted my heart, then pulled the rug out from under my feet. Loved it because it made me think like a kid again, and how almost anything is possible when we’re young. Left me reeling and thinking.

    - Well, what can I say when I don’t connect with a character or his actions? :(

    - A welcome return to ‘Salem’s Lot. I love when a writer, King especially, returns to a book to give us one more look. This one’s brief, but oh so good. Now we have the bookends to Salem’s Lot with a back-story in Jerusalem’s Lot, and an afterward in One for the Road. I’m unable to pinpoint a specific point in time compared with that of Ben Mears, but it’s sometime after. It’s obvious that the vampires are in full swing. Wish this was more than a glimpse.

    - This is sad but also scary in human terms because some people experience pain when dying. They are not the only ones. There is emotional pain, and sometimes guilt, for those left behind.

    This was not my first time reading Night Shift, but it’s the first time that I read all of the stories. My favorites of these could very well change with time. At this moment my top five are: The Last Rung on the Ladder, Quitters Inc, Strawberry Spring, One for the Road and The Ledge.

  • Christy
    Oct 30, 2016

    In this book we are treated to much of Stephen King's earliest published writing, a full 10 stories (half of this book), were released in magazines, before his first novel, Carrie, was set loose on us.

    I was pleasantly surprised by these early works, as it seems to me King is not one of those authors who needs to develop a lot of skill over time....I have heard/read that often writers do their best work when their bellies are not too full (I am aware that this is a misquote, by King himself...p

    In this book we are treated to much of Stephen King's earliest published writing, a full 10 stories (half of this book), were released in magazines, before his first novel, Carrie, was set loose on us.

    I was pleasantly surprised by these early works, as it seems to me King is not one of those authors who needs to develop a lot of skill over time....I have heard/read that often writers do their best work when their bellies are not too full (I am aware that this is a misquote, by King himself...perhaps Duma Key was one of the places), and the case is proven to me here. These are from the period he was trying to feed his young family, as well as get his foot in the door. The earliest published one seems to be

    , published in 1968, six years prior to Carrie (which was meant to be a short story in itself, for another magazine, that his wife Tabitha dug out of the garbage, and encouraged him to turn it into a novel...that story is in my review of Carrie, so I won't bore anyone with further comments on it...except to say...Yay! to Tabitha one more time...she gave him shoves and suggestions all along, good ones, and King's fan's owe her a lot).

    The pre-Carrie ones are, for the most, part collected near the beginning of the book, including such hits and misses (depending on the reader, of course) as

    (1970),

    , which is related to

    , the amazing book that isn't released until almost a full decade after the magazine article (1969),

    (1971),

    (1972),

    (1973),

    (1973),

    (1972),

    (1973),

    (1968),

    was published in March of 1974. With Carrie's release being just the next month, It's safe to say that it was probably NOT written Pre-Carrie.

    Out of this collection came a large number of movies (9 again), as well. Either for the big screen, or small. I'll talk about those, along with the stories, but again, I was amazed by the number his early work inspired. (Though some are definitely best forgotten!)

    This book is *almost* bookended with stories related to

    of my favorite King books,

    , we start out with Jerusalem's Lot, a prequel that seems long, and is written in the epistolary style, I both read and listened to it, and found this story worked best for me when I listened to it, closing my eyes to get a picture of the creepy tale. It is very Lovecraftian in style. The second to last story in the book is the so-called sequel, One for the Road, which is a good story, yet originally disappointing because it did not let us know the outcome of the main characters from the original story. Yet, reading it again, it is good and lets us know

    The short story is also good at bringing the characters in it to life, in the short pages, and has it's fair share of fear. For those reasons I liked the story.

    I am not going to write about each of these stories, mainly because I'm no good at rating each individual story. This book gets 5* from me because of some of the things I mentioned above, and that I really enjoyed reading it. I only plan to mention some of my most and least favorites.

    I was going to limit myself to the five I liked best (it was too hard). I liked Graveyard shift (this, and The Mangler are the two movies I have yet to see), The Mangler (I really was surprised how much I liked a story about a stem ironer coming to life! Another cool part of it was a tie-in I noticed to IT,

    ), I am the Doorway (what a cool story!!! I read this AND listened to it a few times), The Boogyman (again, so incredibly great....and that closet....reminds me of closets in other books, like Cujo, but oh, so good, with one of the best endings in the book! This is another I both read and listened to a few times-I just liked it that much!), The Ledge (this one isn't horror, but it is nerve-racking....and the end is tremendous. Payback is a b*tch! Again, read AND listened to.), Quitters Inc. (One of the best from the entire collection! This one, and The Ledge are both handled very well in the movie

    ), The Last Wrung on the Ladder (There's a moral to this one: Keep up with your family!!! Well written, yet with a heart-tugging ending).

    Finally, The one that hit very close to home for me, The Woman in the Room. It got me, because I can see myself as that woman. I didn't think I could read this one at first. I put it off for days. I can read about all the pain in the world...as long as it's tied to some sort of unrealistic horror. This ad story was only too real. It's not horrific, unless you live with day-to-day chronic--at times unbearable--pain. I was able to read this story, though. I actually had to schedule it into my life. I knew I could deal with it if I had it ready to read after mu afternoon dose of medication (which puts me in the tolerable camp). And I got it read. Mini-triumph for me! It's a sad story, raising a polarizing question. You'll know what that question is is you have read it. Very sad...terrible doctor, that you just hope ends up the same way someday--when you're feeling ugly mad, that is.

    The worst story for me was The Lawnmower man, which also had one of the worst movies I've ever seen named after it. Stephen King even sued to have his name removed from it, and really....it had *almost* nothing at all to do with the story at all; in fact it inspired the film

    , which was released a few years later....and the jump from the short story King wrote to the movie

    is a long one. I'm surprised Pierce Brosnan was in

    ...it was so ridiculous. King's story wasn't great, but it came nowhere near the absolute horribleness of the movie.

    ********As for horrible movies based off of these short stories, it would be a great oversight not to mention

    , based on the story

    (which surprised me, actually [the story, that is], in how much I enjoyed it....only King could get me interested in trucks circling a diner!). This movie was so bad, I wasted my rental fee, by turning the idiotic thing off....

    First off, it was King's first, and only directorial effort, not only did it lose money in the box office, further was lost when King and others were sued. See, there were a few accidents on the set. One was especially ironic AND horrific. During one scene, a radio controlled lawnmower went crazy--Striking a block of wood supporting a camera, which sent chunks of wood flying and cost the director of photography an eye. After the Box-office loss, there went another 18 million. This film was nominated, very deservedly, for a couple of Golden Raspberry Awards. King swore off directing, later admitting to being "coked up" the whole time, not knowing what he was doing. It shows. If you are an

    fan, there is a silver lining....the album

    was released as the soundtrack to this movie. At least that album had some winners in

    , including You Shook Me All Night Long, Hells Bells, and of course the title track.*******

    On to the small screen. The story

    had an exceptionally well done episode of Nightmares and Dreamscapes based upon it, starring William Hurt...and I swear I recognized one of those tiny soldiers...from somewhere. Very good--worth the watch if you loved the story. One other on television:

    , was so-so...not for me, story or movie, though the acting wasn't horrible and I'd say look it up if you did like the story.

    There were two stories that weren't bad, but I saw the end from the first page in both of them. Those were the stories

    and

    . Again, not bad at all, I was just hoping I wasn't right and there would be a twist. Still,

    especially is worth the read. Liked the atmosphere even though I saw the end coming...yes, it was still good.