I thought 2 stories were great and 2 stories were OK in this 4-story "novelette" collection; hence, my 4-star rating. My favorite story is the title story, "If It Bleeds," primarily because of the return of Holly Gibney, the character from King's Mr. Mercedes series and The Outsider. I love the character, and she does not disappoint in this story. It is time for Holly to have her own book! My second favorite story in this collection is "Rat." A writer is trying for the last time to write a novel, and goes to a remote family cabin to get started. During a storm, he encounters a rat who offers him a strange bargain...or does he? "Mr. Harrington's Phone" offers an entertaining theory about what happens if a cell phone is buried with its owner and continues to work. The story that did nothing but confuse me was the 3-part "The Life of Chuck."
I liked that King provided some background on the stories in his Author Note. His writing is as vivid as ever, with strong characters and brisk-moving plots. I am not usually a short story reader, but I make exceptions for King and his son Joe Hill. Very good.