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Mile 81 (Kindle Single) [Kindle Edition]

Stephen King
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,557 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $2.99
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc

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Book Description

With the heart of Stand By Me and the genius horror of Christine, Mile 81 is Stephen King unleashing his imagination as he drives past one of those road signs...

At Mile 81 on the Maine Turnpike is a boarded up rest stop on a highway in Maine. It's a place where high school kids drink and get into the kind of trouble high school kids have always gotten into. It's the place where Pete Simmons goes when his older brother, who's supposed to be looking out for him, heads off to the gravel pit to play "paratroopers over the side." Pete, armed only with the magnifying glass he got for his tenth birthday, finds a discarded bottle of vodka in the boarded up burger shack and drinks enough to pass out.

Not much later, a mud-covered station wagon (which is strange because there hadn't been any rain in New England for over a week) veers into the Mile 81 rest area, ignoring the sign that says "closed, no services." The driver's door opens but nobody gets out.

Doug Clayton, an insurance man from Bangor, is driving his Prius to a conference in Portland. On the backseat are his briefcase and suitcase and in the passenger bucket is a King James Bible, what Doug calls "the ultimate insurance manual," but it isn't going to save Doug when he decides to be the Good Samaritan and help the guy in the broken down wagon. He pulls up behind it, puts on his four-ways, and then notices that the wagon has no plates.

Ten minutes later, Julianne Vernon, pulling a horse trailer, spots the Prius and the wagon, and pulls over. Julianne finds Doug Clayton's cracked cell phone near the wagon door — and gets too close herself. By the time Pete Simmons wakes up from his vodka nap, there are a half a dozen cars at the Mile 81 rest stop. Two kids — Rachel and Blake Lussier — and one horse named Deedee are the only living left. Unless you maybe count the wagon.


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Stephen King has said it himself: the short story is ailing in America. But with a new story that is part coming-of-age, part paranormal tale, he has helped give the form a boost--and us a reminder of how skillfully he works in a small space. In King’s worlds, peril and disaster often hide in the most ordinary things and places, and in Mile 81, danger lurks at an abandoned rest stop in the author's standard Maine setting. With expert pacing, King allows a short but life-changing journey to unfold for his young protagonist, and the most pedestrian details of the rest stop take on eerie significance with each quickly-turned page: a cut-up chain-link fence surrounding the place, a hollowed-out Burger King left fallow, a door of a filthy car hanging silently “open like an invitation.” Fans will recognize nods to Christine and From a Buick 8, but the destructive force in Mile 81 is even more savage, the horror more faceless and primal. And as one would expect, it’s not just a scary story--it reads, in ways, as parable, his characters at once archetypal and uniquely crafted. Although set in present day, Mile 81 feels timeless---it's a story about good people encountering the terror of the unknowable, and about the courage that innocents must summon in the face of it, when there is no one left to protect them. --Simone Gorrindo

About the Author

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes Mr. Mercedes, 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.

Product Details

  • File Size: 702 KB
  • Print Length: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (September 1, 2011)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005COO1X6
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,826 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
463 of 479 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars King at His Horrific Best September 1, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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.
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140 of 148 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic King -- a real treat for long-time readers September 1, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Stephen King's story, MILE 81, is a delight for any of his readers with memories of the classic stuff - CHRISTINE and PET SEMETARY and CUJO and great stories like "The Mist" and "The Body." This is King at his best, with characters so real they remind you of people you've known for years. I've always felt King did his best work with his shorter fiction - here his prose is tight and perfect, giving the story itself a chance to both terrify and delight the reader.

MILE 81 is about a long-abandoned rest stop on Rt. 95 in Maine. Ten-year-old Pete Simmons, who has been left behind when his older brother runs off to play daredevil bike stunts, decides to explore the old rest stop to see if he can scare up an adventure of his own. What happens is something he never could have imagined. A succession of other travelers also pull into the rest stop, each investigating a strangely muddied station wagon inexplicably parked there. King's story is divided into sections, each one giving us a brief glimpse into the lives of these varied characters before they are sucked into the horror of what awaits at the Mile 81 rest stop.

The story is both colloquially fresh and intensely exciting. I liked Pete, and I understood him completely. I liked the others, too - insurance salesman Doug, horsewoman Julie, the Lussier family, and Jimmy the cop. These are real people who find themselves in Stephen King's "Twilight Zone" world on a perfectly ordinary afternoon. And you know it's true - horror seems more horrible when it happens in broad daylight, with the traffic whizzing by and the sun shining.

Great story - classic King. Highly recommended.
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100 of 109 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Road Trip September 3, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
You know an author is deeply embedded into popular culture when he references one of his own books in a subsequent effort (and gets away with it). In Mile 81, King returns to the road and car covering ground similar to Christine and From a Buick 8 (the latter which is standout for me). This short story moves with speed and entertains but is not iconic King. There is no deep thinking or message here with the exception that good samaritans are often not well rewarded. Still worth it though - it is the perfect length for a quick road trip ... as long as the reader is not behind the wheel.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Man, have I missed him.... September 5, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I just got my Kindle a few months ago and have been reading a lot of the lower priced (or free), self-published authors lately. While some of them have been decent, reading this story reminded me why I love and miss the work of Stephen King. There's just nobody quite like him. Anywhere. Not even close.

Not wanting to give anything away but as other reviewers -- who are obviously familiar with his body of work -- have stated, this is typical Stephen King. His stories make you smile, look over your shoulder, cringe, laugh, wrinkle your forehead, and say, "Are you serious?" -- all in the same story.

If you must have logic and tidy endings then perhaps this isn't the story for you. As for me, I appreciated the story; it suited me just fine.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Short Story October 4, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I don't get all of the negative or even mediocre reviews. I was highly entertained and couldn't have predicted the ending. It definitely has a big "what the #$%& is going on here" feel to it, and I mean that in a good way, and it resolves itself in the end. Well done, Mr. King. I hope you keep pumping out short stories on Kindle!
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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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Tax on Purchases?
I feel it might have something to do with your State's tax policies as well. I live in NYS and they passed a law a few years ago which charges a NYS resident a sales tax for any online purchases which Amazon is bound by law to pass along.
Sep 5, 2011 by Margaux Paschke |  See all 6 posts
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Everyone is having the same issue (look up the replacement cord and read the reviews). I chatted with a rep that gave me a "credit". I had to order a new cord and when I did, it credited the cost and shipping off the invoice. They will replace if you ask.
Aug 30, 2011 by Eugene M. Homan Jr. |  See all 8 posts
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why not
Aug 19, 2011 by bugeater |  See all 3 posts
Mile 81?
It's 80 pages long about a group of people who stop at a mile marker and disappear.
Aug 7, 2011 by Mimi666 |  See all 9 posts
Nice and Fast Paced Be the first to reply
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