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King at His Horrific Best
on September 1, 2011
You'll probably hear this a lot in the coming days and throughout what's bound to be a long list of reviews, but I'm going to say it anyway because it's the truest thing I can think to say: MILE 81 is classic Stephen King.
With only a few exceptions, most of King's more recent work (everything since NEEDFUL THINGS really) has been more mysterious, paranormal, or suspenseful than horrific. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, and I've enjoyed most of what King's written from CARRIE all the way through FULL DARK, NO STARS, but MILE 81 is a welcome return to a purer kind of horror for those readers who fell in love with King back in the CUJO, CHRISTINE, and IT days. I'll save the plot rehashing for other reviewers, but I will say that I think this novelette is what King might have written if he'd gotten the idea for FROM A BUICK 8 25 years earlier.
It's a fantastic story. One of my favorite King stories of all time. And maybe that's all I really needed to say. If you're debating whether or not to buy this, stop. Go click that 1-Click button as fast as your fingers can move.
**Note: Although the novella earns a solid 5 stars from me (I'd give it ten if I could), the formatting could have used some more attention. There are missing section breaks, and the dedication--which should have been on a page of its own--comes immediately after the last line of the story. Somebody needs a slap on the wrist for that one. Or a kick in the teeth.
Also, MILE 81 ends at the 80% mark. What you get after that is a long excerpt from 11/22/63. That's just a heads-up for readers who like to know how close they are to the end of a story.
I'm not taking anything off my rating for those things, but I thought some of you might like to know.