FOUR PAST MIDNIGHT
Publisher: Signet/Penguin USA
Publishing date: 4 October 1990
This is a collection of four novellas. So first I'm going to give you my review of the individual novellas, and then at the end I'm going to give you my thoughts on the collection/book as a whole.
As a lot of King's horror, this story has a lot of science fiction elements. Here one element straight out of science fiction is central to the plot.
The Langoliers is not a slow starter, it doesn't take many pages before you are drawn into the story. The shorter length, at 234 pages it is short for King, works to the stories advantage, King introduces the characters pretty fast, and they come fully formed, and never feels two-dimensional.
This is a great story, the tension builds nicely throughout, and it does not loosen its grip on you before it is finished. The atmosphere of the whole story is also very good.
I would recommend this story to any fan of sci-fi-horror, and if you like King it is a must. -As an added bonus, there is a scene that is very reminiscent of LOST in it.
SECRET WINDOW, SECRET GARDEN
This story is pure psychological horror. It is also one of Kings stories about a writer, and it has in fact some elements to it that are also found in The Shining, but I must hasten to add that it is in no way a re-write.
From page one, and all the way to the epilogue, I found myself guessing as to what was actually happening. And it got under my skin at several points. Both the main character, and the others you meet are well done, and they seem real. It is a story that will keep you wanting to read to the end.
THE LIBRARY POLICEMAN
Making libraries a scary place for someone who loves books is difficult, but King manages to do so in this story. The build-up at the beginning is very well done, and as the story progresses it transcends the fairly standard ghost story it initially looks like it is.
King pulls off one of the best retrospectives I've ever read here. There are in fact a couple of stories within stories, and one of them is so shocking that I think some people could be put off by it. That being said, it is essential to the overall story, and not just put there for its shock-value.
The only problem I had with The Library Policeman, was that it was let down a bit by one of King's rather week endings.
THE SUN DOG
This story belongs in King's "Castle Rock-cycle". It is basically a sort of ghost story. Starting innocently enough, it soon builds up to quite a eerie tale.
The characters have back stories that adds much to their realization, and one of the characters is delightfully mysterious at first.
King manages to build on the eeriness factor right to the end. And the ending here is ,in my opinion, one of the best he has ever written.
These four stories really serves well to showcase King's writing. They give a taste of how most of his novels are, at the same time they are different enough to work very well together as a collection. I enjoyed the book a lot, even though I usually prefer King's stories to be as long as possible. If you are a fan of King's work, but have yet to read Four Past Midnight, I suggest you do so as soon as possible.
If you have never read anything of Stephen King's work, I would suggest this as a good place to start. Both because they are not as long as some of King's other work, and because these four stories are a nice taster of what you can expect from him should you wish to read more of his work.
Links: Stephen King Penguin (USA)
Links: Stephen King Penguin (USA)