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Night Shift Hardcover – October 1, 1993

4.5 out of 5 stars 492 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

 
“A master storyteller.” —Los Angeles Times

“Eerie. . . . Ought to chill the cockles of many a heart.” —Chicago Tribune

“A master. . . . [King] will catch you in his web and reach you at an elemental level where there is no defense.” —The Cincinnati Enquirer

“Stephen King has built a literary genre of putting ordinary people in the most terrifying situations. . . . he’s the author who can always make the improbable so scary you'll feel compelled to check the locks on the front door.” —The Boston Globe
 
“Peerless imagination.” —The Observer (London)

About the Author

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. Among his most recent are Full Dark, No Stars; Under the Dome; Just After Sunset; Duma Key; Lisey’s Story; Cell; and the concluding novels in the Dark Tower saga: Wolves of the Calla, Song of Susannah, and The Dark Tower. His acclaimed nonfiction book On Writing is also a bestseller. In 2003, he was awarded the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, and in 2007 he received the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America. He lives in Maine with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; Reissue edition (October 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385129912
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385129916
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (492 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #326,433 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Brian D. Rubendall HALL OF FAME on May 21, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've read over two dozen of Stephen King's books, and this one is his best. King's short story writing is what allows him to be mentioned in the same sentence with the likes of Poe as one of the best horror writers ever. There are so many King classics in "Night Shift" it is scary. "Graveyard Shift," "The Mangler," "Children of the Corn," "Trucks," "Gray Matter," "Quitters Inc.," the list goes on and on. Many of these were made into inferior movies, but the stories themselves are are among the scariest things he's written because they reduce fear to its most basic elements. This is one King book that qualifies as a "must" read.
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You know that friend of yours that notices you reading a Stephen King tome and says, "Ugh, you like that guy?" You know, the friend who hasn't ever actually read any Stephen King books and thinks his work is simply grist for very, very bad films? Well, slide them a copy of this and they'll be a fan for life.
This collection of his short stories is the first and best one he's ever done in tone, consistency and ideas. It's no mistake that out of the 20 stories collected here, no less than 12 of them have been made into cinematic adventures (though most of them have been bad films, they were originally great stories, trust me). All of the shorts that he's known for and that made him a household name come out of this collection as well: "The Lawnmower Man" (forget the movie...this is REAL horror), "Trucks" (which was made into 2 bad movies, but don't hold that against the book), "Quitters, Inc.", "The Mangler", "The Ledge"...this is all very concrete stuff that even a non-horror fan will take to because it's simply grand story-telling.
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I recommend this very highly if you are a fan of horror fiction mostly because this is King's anthology that includes one of the scariest, most disturbing short stories of all time (at least that I've read) entitled simply, The Boogeyman. That childhood monster that never really goes away. If you have any conscience what so ever this story will rattle you, I can only think of two other short stories that I would say are scarier; H.P. Lovecraft's The Rats in The Walls and Algernon Blackwood's The Wendigo. The rest of the stories in the collection are undeniably King (if you liked Salem's Lot you get a glimpse of the shadows in the town in Jerusalem's Lot, a fantastic atmosphere piece). It's fun reading, what short stories should be and IF (note the capitalization) you have a love of entertaining, interesting reading you just might want to pick this one up. If you're not particularly a Stephen King fan I'd recommend borrowing this book from your local library just to read The Boogeyman, 'cause it's gonna end up in future horror fiction text books.
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Of King's 4 collection of short stories, I'd have to say that I like 'Night Shift' the best. It's definitely the most consistently horror oriented of them, and the non-horror stories are particularly compelling. Also his tendency to overwrite hasn't displayed itself yet. It's got a few weaker stories, such as 'Gray Matter', 'I Know What You Need' and 'The Lawnmower Man', in particular, but the good ones more than make up for these few short comings. (It's too bad that 'Suffer the Children' got cut instead of 'Gray Matter'. 'Suffer the Children' would've been one of the better stories here, while 'Gray Matter' is probably the worst.) The tales also tend to be more straight forward and conventional than his later ones, but sometimes the older stories really are the best ones. (It still get pretty damn weird at times, no doubt about it, but it's got nothin' on the level of 'You Know They've Gotta Helluva Band' or 'The Moving Finger'.)

'Jerusalem's Lot' is unabashed Lovecraft homage. It can't quite match his best work, but it's excellent and manages not to be too utterly derivative. 'The Mangler' is a strange one, as it's about a possessed industrial dryer/folder thing. It's got an unintentionally black-comic vibe to it, along with perhaps the most gruesome, disturbing violence in anything I've read from him. (Being killed by one of those things would involve being crushed and scalded to death simultaneously. Not pleasant, I'm sure) 'The Graveyard Shift' which was made into an amusingly bad movie, is surprisingly effective. The story focuses more on the conflict between Hall and his supervisor, Warwick, and keeps the rat stuff in relatively small, if still fatal, doses. 'Sometimes They Come Back' is probably my favorite story here.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was King's first collection of short stories. Man, was I happy I read this!

This was the first of several books by King that I read. It really introduced me to the rest of his works, so, if you are wanting to try reading the stuff he writes, then this book serves as a great first stepping stone into his freaky world of imagination.

Here's a brief overview of the short stories included in Night Shift:

Jerusalem's Lot: Classic King, here. A great Vampire thriller.

Graveyard Shift: Employees at a hotel (or apartment building, I can't remember) work in the basement. To their surprise, they find a tunnel that has been completely left alone for years...left alone by humans, that is...

Night Surf: Look at one of the spotlight reviews, and you'll receive what the deal is with this short story; it is there for descriptive purposes.

I am the Doorway: A handicapped man's hands go out of control...or, better yet, they are in control of themselves.

The Mangler: Clothes machine that has gone out of control and is possessed by none other than an evil spirit, and starts looking for PEOPLE to fold? Now that's the kind of stuff I like to read...one of my personal favorites in Night Shift.

Battleground: Toy Soldiers begin hunting their buyer...and if you thought they were just unarmed plastic figures, ya might wanna think again.

The Man Who Loved Flowers: Some crazy guy with a small hammer...yes, we do get a great description of the surroundings: not too much, nor too little. But this character is on the insane side.

The Lawnmower Man: Another favorite. A grass-cutter is hired to trim a lawn. Little does the lawn-owner realize that the machine isn't the only one cutting the grass...
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