Cycle of the Werewolf Book Review

“Any dedicated moon-watcher will know that, regardless of the year, I have taken a good many liberties with the lunar cycle-usually to take advantage of days (Valentine’s, July 4th, etc.) which mark certain months in our minds.”-SK

 

Bookstore Totals

  • Published in Nov. 1983 by Land of Enchantment as a hardback limited edition
  • Was published the same year that Pet Sematary and Christine were issued
  • The book was supposed to be a monthly calendar but King thought it would make a better book
  • In 1985 it was re-produced as a mass-market paperback to coincide with the movie adaptation, Silver Bullet

 

I can tell you what this book isn’t: it isn’t a deep and profound thought-provoking piece of fiction that often comes from Stephen King. This book is quite the opposite; it’s straight up entertainment, an escape for about an hour. It’s an in your face, month by month account of the going-ons of the residents of Tarker’s Mills fearing the full moon as a werewolf stalks the night.

This book is short but big on entertainment value. A hidden gem in the King library.

Why does Cycle of the Werewolf work?

1)    Cycle of the Werewolf works because it’s a really cool story about a werewolf preying upon a small town. Everyone is terrified but no one wants to admit what’s really the cause of all the grisly murders. King is not greedy on the gore.cycle of the werewolf

2)    Cycle of the Werewolf works because of Bernie Wrightson’s illustrations that walk us through King’s books. I love his depiction of the werewolf and overall tone he added with King’s words. I think that was a good combination for this book.

3)    Cycle of the Werewolf works because it’s just a fun book. It’s a book that you’d read on a cold night sitting on the couch with the lights dim. It doesn’t insist upon itself and King doesn’t dress it up to be something that it’s not.

4)    Cycle of the Werewolf works because it started out being a monthly calendar. And who else could take something like that and turn it into a book? Stephen King of course.

Cycle of the Werewolf howls- 3/5 (Very Good)

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The Colorado Kid Book Review

“Mystery is my subject here, and I am aware that many readers will feel cheated, even angry, by my failure to provide a solution to the one posed. Is it because I had no solution to give? The answer is no…I’m not really interested in solution but in the mystery.”-SK

 

Bookstore Totals

  • Published October 4, 2005 by Hard Case Crime
  • 2007 The Colorado Kid was re-issued by PS Publishing as a limited edition hardback with 4 different covers by 3 different artists
  • The Colorado Kid was Stephen King’s first book under the Hard Case Crime imprint

 

Our novel this month is King’s first effort with Hard Case Crime publication. It’s a thin novel…not a deep novel. That’s the best way to describe Stephen King’s, The Colorado Kid. If you’re looking for ghosts, goblins, crazy killers, cell phone signals that turn people into maniacal zombies, go someplace else because this book aint it.

I want to go out and say that I liked this book. A lot. I read it in an hour or so. Sometimes I can read fast and sometimes not. But this book never go lagged at all and I never wanted to put it down. It’s one of those King books that you got to see through to the end even if you have to sit and read all day.colorado kid

 

Is this one of King’s most powerful books? No. Is it a book that will haunt you days after you read the last page? No again. But this is a King book that is high on mystery and even higher on entertainment value and escape. The overall theme of this novel: sometimes there’s not any answers…

Why does The Colorado Kid work:

1)           The Colorado Kid works because of this book’s subject matter. A man is discovered on a beach on a small island off the coast of Maine. No one knows who he is or how he got there. From this point, the story gets more and more stranger wrapped in a shroud of mystery. The mystery in this book is the driver. The mystery is why I kept reading.

2)         The Colorado Kid works because King doesn’t give us any closure to the story whatsoever. I get that. The reason The Colorado Kid came to the island in the first place is never discovered nor is why he left Colorado and his family. Some things, much like in life, you just will never know. Another one of King’s books is like this: From A Buick 8. At the end of both books, you still have no closure and have more questions than answers. Really is like real life…

3)          The Colorado Kid works because of the way the book was written. The story was told by two old timers that worked and ran the island’s newspaper, both reminiscing about an event that happened decades ago. Reading this book it was like I was sitting in the newspaper building and they were telling me the tale of the strange man that showed up dead on the beach. I felt very engaged by Vince and Dave as they told Steff about the mystery that they each recalled with clarity.

4)         The Colorado Kid works because this kind of thing happens all the time all over the world. Something happens and there’s no real explanation. Sure, people have theories and educated guesses, but at the heart of it all, some mysteries just don’t have any answers but more questions. And sometimes the mystery is way better than any solution can provide.

The Colorado Kid finishes strong at- 3/5 (Very Good)

Dreamcatcher Book Review

“I was in pain all the time {while writing that book}. I couldn’t keyboard that book at a computer or a typewriter. I was in a chair with pillows on both sides of me, particularly on my right where my hip just hurt all the time and my lower leg was on fire. I wasn’t sleeping very well. I was taking a lot of painkillers that weren’t helping very much. And at the same time, the book took me away when I had a chance to write it.” -SK

 

Bookstore Totals

  • Published on  March 20th, 2001 by Scribner
  • Debuted on #1 The New York Times Best Seller List April 8th, 2001
  • Stayed #1 for 3 weeks in a row
  • Was nominated at the Deutscher Phantastik Preis Awards for Best International Novel in 2002

 

I read this book when it released back in 2001 when I was 23 years old. By then, I had read everything that Stephen King had put out. The problem that I had withDreamcatcher then was that I couldn’t relate with any of the characters being just 23; a young 23 mind you.

Now, some 13 years later, I have revisited the novel and have a totally better understanding of what Dreamcatcher is at its core. And this time around I related to all four of the characters in some way at the age of 35; Beav, Pete, Henry and Jonesy, each of them has an authenticity factor that drew me into them and into the enveloping story. They (the characters) seem real to me, and outside of their special powers, they are like people who I know today.200px-Dreamcatchernovel

If you are a fan of the novel and are a King fan, you already know what this book is about. There’s no use in going over the story chapter by chapter. The novel that I put back on my bookshelf back in ’01 strangely wasn’t the same book that I pulled off a few nights ago. I was shocked, too, that time had changed my view of a novel that I wasn’t all that much into. Time has a way of changing the way you see and understand things. Listen, life is long and opinions change.

The thing that I have learned with King that I hadn’t learned when I was younger was that the older and mature you get, the more you understand not only King’s complex stories but you harness a better sense of the characters and their thought processes. Most of the people in his books are relatable to me now days. Maybe it’s because of my age and I have run into these types of people in my travels. Back when I was a kid at 12 when I first picked up The Shining, I didn’t get it. I mean, I understood it, but not to the depths of what he was conveying to an older generation than me.

Reviews of Dreamcatcher vary from good to bad to middle of the road. I read one the other night from CNN.com from 2001 where the author of the review said that Dreamcatcher “Overall, it doesn’t work”. Really? Doesn’t work? I think it works…

Why Dreamcatcher works:


  1. Dreamcatcher works because it has that sense of profound friendship that I love in his books. I had a group of friends growing-up and I recall how we all hung out and did things together. It was like we were brothers. The group of Beav, Pete, Henry and Jonesy and later Duddits harkened back to me and my friends. There was that relatable connection for me in the book. And when I can relate to the book it makes it more than a book to me; it makes it a journey. King has a way of taking you back to not only the character’s childhood, but often times (if you were lucky) even back to your own. King is really good at tapping this emotion in all of us.
  1. Dreamcatcher works because it had that “fate of the entire world” theme in it. I love that. I love that a single, ordinary person (well, maybe not so ordinary in the case of the characters in this novel) can save the world no matter the odds. I like the fact that it comes down to a beaten up and physically exhausted Jonesy trying to save his mind, body and the world at the water supply at Shaft 12.
  1. Dreamcatcher works because it keeps you guessing. It’s not a novel that is straightforward or that has been “repeated” in his other works. You don’t know what’s going to happen. You don’t know if the detainees at Gosslin’s are all going to be barbecued; You don’t know if Jonesy and Henry will make it out alive at the end of the book. That kept me turning the pages. I even wondered what was going to become of Mr. Gray because it was such a dominating force in the novel. If anyone says this novel’s plot was predictable is crazy. But then again everyone, such as myself, is entitled to their opinion.
  1. Dreamcatcher works because it had an antagonist character in Abe Kurtz that was a cool driving force in the background of the book. With so much going on, so many things happening in different character’s lives at different places around the same times, Kurtz was that wild card that you didn’t know what he was going to do or to what ends he was going to make it happen. Let’s face it, he was pretty unstable. But just like all crazy people, he justified his insanity (at least to himself). I literally smiled when Freddy shot and killed him. One of many highlights of the book for me.
  1. Dreamcatcher works because I love the fact that the Losers Club (if only in words) made it in the book at the monument marking the 1985 storm there in Derry. I love a good call back to his other books. Obviously if you’re a King fan then you’ll know what I’m talking about. If not, then go read It!

All in all, I liked this book when I was 23, but now at 35, I love this novel! It was hard to put down and it was literally like I was reading it for the first time. Such a different book that I put on the bookshelf in 2001 in comparison to now. Perhaps the biggest reason for that is because I have gotten older and wiser and see the world with different lenses. In my opinion, this is one of King’s most underrated books and it shouldn’t be. It’s a really solid novel! But then again…that’s just my opinion.

Dreamcatcher catches a–4/5 (Awesome)

Stephen King Short Stories You Ought To Know

“Yeah, it’s about baseball, but give it a chance, okay? You don’t have to be a sailor to love the novels of Patrick O’Brian, and you don’t have to be a jockey-or even better-to love the Dick Francis mysteries. Those stories come alive in the characters and the events, and I hope you’ll find similar liveliness here.”-SK 

This short was first released back in 2010 by Cemetery Dance as a limited edition hardback. Later Scribner released it under their house and eventually it was added to the collection, The Bazaar of Bad Dreams in 2015. 200px-Blockade_Billy

I like baseball, past and present and wondered when King was ever going to write a fictional baseball book. Blockade Billy is his fictional gift for baseball fans and fans of his. I enjoyed it on two different levels: One as a baseball fan and another as a fan of Stephen King’s work.

 

So why does Blockade Billy work…

  1. Blockade Billy works because it’s a baseball story set in the later part of the 1950’s. And if anyone knows about that era of baseball history they can appreciate a trip to the past, fictional granted, but still a good trip.
  1. Blockade Billy works because the title’s main character Billy Blakely is a little off in the head. You don’t know why or how and that’s where King begins to work his magic. He writes Billy as odd as any one of his creations. And throughout the story, you know that there’s just something sinister about the baseball player but you don’t know what. Great suspensebuilder.
  1. Bloackade Billy works because the way King wrote this story is fluid. Meaning that the narrator’s voice is strong and uninterrupted throughout him telling the story to Mr. King himself. I liked that. I liked the fact that an old man in a old age home is recalling a story, a baseball story, and he tells it with such enthusiasm and vigor.
  1. Blockade Billy works because King keeps it simple. No need to saturate the plot or populate the landscape with characters that do not matter. King sticks to the story and doesn’t allow it to lag at all. Plus he gave the narrator a truly strong and believable voice. I felt that the old salty coach was really talking instead of King writing his words.

 

Blockade Billy hits a homer at- 3/5 (Very Good)