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From a Buick 8: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Stephen King
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (417 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $7.99
Kindle Price: $6.83
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Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc

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Book Description

The state police of Troop D in rural Pennsylvania have kept a secret in Shed B out back of the barracks ever since 1979, when Troopers Ennis Rafferty and Curtis Wilcox answered a call from a gas station just down the road and came back with an abandoned Buick Roadmaster. Curt Wilcox knew old cars, and he knew immediately that this one was...wrong, just wrong. A few hours later, when Rafferty vanished, Wilcox and his fellow troopers knew the car was worse than dangerous -- and that it would be better if John Q. Public never found out about it.
Curt's avid curiosity taking the lead, they investigated as best they could, as much as they dared. Over the years the troop absorbed the mystery as part of the background to their work, the Buick 8 sitting out there like a still life painting that breathes -- inhaling a little bit of this world, exhaling a little bit of whatever world it came from.
In the fall of 2001, a few months after Curt Wilcox is killed in a gruesome auto accident, his 18-year-old boy Ned starts coming by the barracks, mowing the lawn, washing windows, shoveling snow. Sandy Dearborn, Sergeant Commanding, knows it's the boy's way of holding onto his father, and Ned is allowed to become part of the Troop D family. One day he looks in the window of Shed B and discovers the family secret. Like his father, Ned wants answers, and the secret begins to stir, not only in the minds and hearts of the veteran troopers who surround him, but in Shed B as well....
From a Buick 8 is a novel about our fascination with deadly things, about our insistence on answers when there are none, about terror and courage in the face of the unknowable.

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Editorial Reviews Review

Stephen King, an evil car, and a teenage boy coming to terms with the fragility and randomness of life.... Wait, haven't we read this before? Diehard King fans, worry not. Aside from the titular car playing a main role in the story, From a Buick 8 could not be less like King's 1983 masterpiece, Christine. If anything, this story resembles King's serial novel The Green Mile, with reminiscing police characters flashing back on bizarre events that took place decades earlier.

The book's intriguing plot revolves around the troopers of Pennsylvania State Patrol Troop D, who come into possession of what at first appears to be a vintage automobile. Closer inspection and experimentation conducted by the troopers reveal that this car's doors (and trunk) sometimes open to another dimension populated by gross-out creatures straight out of ... well, a Stephen King novel. As the plot progresses, the veteran troopers' tales of these visits from interdimensional nasties, and the occasional "lightquakes" put on by the car, are passed on to the son of a fallen comrade whose fascination with the car bordered on dangerous obsession.

Unlike earlier King works, there is no active threat here; no monster is stalking the heroes of the story, unless you count the characters' own curiosity. In past books, King has terrorized readers with vampires, werewolves, a killer clown, ghosts, and aliens, but this time around, the bogeyman is a more passive, cerebral threat, and one for which they don't make a ready-to-wear Halloween costume--man's fascination with and fear of the unknown. While some readers may find this tale less exciting than the horror master's earlier works, From a Buick 8 is a wonderful example of how much King's plotting skills and literary finesse have matured over his long career. And, most of all, it's a darn creepy book. --Benjamin Reese

From Publishers Weekly

An assembly of readers performs King's latest, which is told from several different perspectives. This subdued, vaguely creepy tale is about an extraordinary force that infiltrates the lives of the people who work at a police barracks in rural Pennsylvania. King displays his masterful knack for building tension, but this work is more about the effect of events on the central characters' psyches than it is about the events themselves. In that vein, the portrayals of the characters, their inner monologues and their interactions are vital to the success of this audio, and the entire cast does a fine job. Rebhorn serves as an able narrator and provides a brief, chilling portrait of the sallow, mysterious man who brings an otherworldly '54 Buick into the life of Troop D before vanishing. Davidson handles the inner turmoil of Sgt. Sandy Dearborn and the youthful stubbornness of troubled Ned Wilcox. Among the other highlights is Tobolowsky's perfectly inflected Swedish accent for Arky, the troop's janitor. With only a few, appropriately wistful notes of guitar at the beginning and end, the production is kept to a minimum. The approach works well for a quieter book that relies less on shock than much of King's previous work.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3560 KB
  • Print Length: 496 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0743246799
  • Publisher: Scribner (September 24, 2002)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FC0OUO
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,528 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From a Buick 8 July 29, 2004
I worked in a large office for an extended period during my somewhat checkered employment career. I don't think I had been there but three weeks when a gentleman suddenly took ill and retired on sick leave. He died a few months later of brain cancer. Another man inherited his desk. He, too, was dead within a year from a tumor in his brain. A third gent was given the desk, and within six months, he also was gone, for the same reason. A number of us attended his funeral, and when we returned to the office, four of us, by agreement common and unspoken, took the desk and unceremoniously shoved it into a storage room where it may still remain. I have been convinced since that time that there are some objects in this world that for whatever reason are salted with a wrongness. Maybe it's a storefront where a business can never successfully take hold, or a piece of jewelry that seems to herald domestic problems, or something else. It's as if they're not meant to be here. But they are.

One of these objects is the basis for Stephen King's new novel, FROM A BUICK 8. There have been some nattering nabobs of negativism who were deriding this book as "Christine II" before it ever came out. Nope, this Buick, unlike Christine, does not sell its soul to rock 'n' roll. Sure, you can't read this bad boy without hearing Bob Dylan's "From A Buick 6" floating in the background --- it even makes an appearance in the story. But the vehicle in this book isn't haunted. No. It's worse.

This Buick 8 pulls up to some gas pumps at a full-serve gas station in Western Pennsylvania in 1979. While the pump jockey is gassing her up, the driver walks around to the back of the station and...disappears.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars There are Buicks everywhere December 1, 2002
I have generally heard bad reviews of this book, so I was little worried about picking it up. But I did, and decided to read it the other night whether than put it off. Now, there are many things to say about it:
For starters, this is NOT Christine 2. This is not a sequel to the story. This is not a retelling. There are similarities, but the focus of this story is nothing like Christine.
Secondly, this story is rarely in the details. Often, the details are the weak spot. It is when King gets nervous and decides to go back and fill in a few of the blanks that the narrative decreases.
Thirdly, this book has a lot more personal philosophy to impart rather than horror. This is about growing old. This is about mysteries in life. This is about sticking to duty. This is about the chains that we can feel but rarely know.
Finally (for now), what horror IS in this book tends to be strictly the real life stuff: a cop hitting an old woman, a suicide, genitalia ripped off by the force of impact, young children decapitated, abusive relationships, the way that people think you are nuts when you are telling the truth. That sort of thing. The real life horror of the PSP is felt more than the Dunsanian/Lovecraftian terror of the Buick...which tends to be more a catalyst to facing lifes greatest, most beautiful, and extremely disturbing mysteries.
As for the quality of the book: Stephen King's writing has matured quite a bit and he seems to be ready to impart more of himself in the telling. But, on the flipside, like any older person...the maturity they have gained has drawbacks. For one, some aspects seem more tired. There seems to be more repetition. You know all the old tricks, they will not suprise you no matter how much you want them to. The voice telling is more captivating.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best for last September 25, 2002
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If this really is King's last real novel (the forthcoming Dark Tower books don't quite count), then he's going out with style and grace. "From A Buick 8" is a wonderfully gripping read, full of the creepy crawlies, but mostly it's a moving, melancholy meditation on time and loss, more "Green Mile" than "Christine". His command of character and flow are wondrous at times. You believe in these people; you can see them, you know them. I've always thought that was his great gift and the real secret to his popularity--his people live in the same world we do. In them, we recognize ourselves (and our landscapes), and somehow that provides solace, as if we're finally being seen and understood. (It's similar to what Springsteen does.) The scary stuff was always secondary. Anyway, this one's awfully fine. It kept me up nights--and there's really nothing better in the world than a book that keeps you up nights. (It's like having a secret power source, and is almost as rare.) There are more subtle writers in the world, but there's not another who's given me more pure pleasure. I always feel wide awake when I'm reading Stephen King, as if I'm reading with my whole self. Being one of his Constant Readers has been one of the best relationships of my life. We sort of grew up together. I think he really means it about not publishing anything else, and that's a loss destined to be as resonant for me as the ones he details so beautifully in this last, best book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Buick Blues November 6, 2002
If curiosity killed the cat and satisfaction brought him back, the cat who read From a Buick 8 is most decidedly still dead.
Don't get me wrong, this is good writing. I have a natural affinity for stories that explore the possibility of haunted objects. And haunted objects-turned-portals are even better. The characters are multi-dimensional (some in more ways than one) and the concept piques my interest. But piquing is right about where the story stalls.
Some critics have claimed that From a Buick 8 lacked suspense, but I completely disagree. It was nothing but suspense -- and the buildup sans payout left me wanting. The story dribbles out a vagely disturbing event here and there, but offers nothing truly shocking. The 'horrible incident' in 1988, which is hyped for several chapters, turns out to be an homage to cheesy Japanese horror movies and not worth the wait.
I knew I was in trouble when the main storyteller, Sandy, repeatedly warns his young listener, Ned, that there are no definitive answers to be had. That's a bad thing because if Ned isn't getting any answers, that means we aren't either. And there's a clear warning sign that a novel is going horribly wrong when most objects/events are labeled 'indescribable' by the narrators. It's Stephen King's *job* to describe the indescribable. That's presumably why the novel was published, no?
Stephen King seems to have also decided that the real horrors in life are not greenly-illuminated aliens taking over your town or an evil clown stalking you, but the fact that LIFE GOES ON. While you're lying in a ditch on the side of a Maine road, mangled by a minivan, the reckless dunce of a driver is going to sit calmly next to you and offer cheery observations on your crushed torso while ruminating about a Mars Bar.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Average at Best
I would have to say that this novel was not one of his better works. It had enough to keep me interested, but on a whole it was very lacking. Read more
Published 6 days ago by T.S. Charles
4.0 out of 5 stars Curiosity Killed the Cat
The Curious Case of Buick 8
Car enthusiasts, mystery fans, and sci-fi devotees alike are sure to delight in the unique tale, From a Buick 8, a mystifying recount of the story... Read more
Published 26 days ago by Jasmine Meyer
2.0 out of 5 stars The worst ever by King
I had to struggle through this one. It's all over the place. Too many names to remember. Would not recommend this book.
Published 2 months ago by RP
4.0 out of 5 stars This Car is Made for Spooking and that's just what it'll do!
Beware of Pennsylvania State Troopers' Shed B. There sits a '57 midnight blue Buick which is anything but innocent. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Terry A. Benedict-Devine
4.0 out of 5 stars King nails the Staties...and something that's better left alone in...
Having been disappointed with the past few King offerings, including the current "Doctor Sleep", it felt prudent to revisit older work by this prolific author. Read more
Published 4 months ago by stachehunter
4.0 out of 5 stars Fans of Christine check this one out
Not as good as Christine but still really cool. If you have read Christine you will notice a few similarities but of course this is in no way a sequel or remake. Read more
Published 4 months ago by KISSfansince87
5.0 out of 5 stars Believable
Yet another great mystery/spooky novel by "The Master" Steven King. The entire time you're reading it, you tell yourself that this can't be happening and yet he does such a... Read more
Published 4 months ago by RobErnst
5.0 out of 5 stars classic King and it will be your companion for hours of driving
Very long, which makes it perfect for commuters. It made the drive go by painlessly and when it was over I wanted to start it right back from the beginning. Read more
Published 4 months ago by F. Dale Cauthen
2.0 out of 5 stars Missing A Few Cylinders
Stephen King's vivid imagination and talent for yarn-spinning are on strong display in this 2002 horror novel, so much so I was about 100 pages in before realizing the writer was... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Bill Slocum
1.0 out of 5 stars Throw this book in the trunk, and hope that it disappears.
One reviewer put this book "Lightyears" beyond what she considers to be his worst books. Since this book does flirt with alien life and landscapes, let's put that statement in... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Stepjam
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More About the Author

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes Doctor Sleep and Under the Dome, now a major TV miniseries on CBS. 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 as well as the Best Hardcover Book Award from the International Thriller Writers Association. He is the recipient of 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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