If It Bleeds by Stephen King

Two Stephen King book reviews in a row. Elevation was the most recent book that I’ve finished, and If It Bleeds is the least recent book I finished but hadn’t reviewed.

If It Bleeds is a collection of four shorter stories.

The first novella, Mr. Harrigan’s Phone, is classic Stephen King. The story follows a young boy who becomes obsessed with his late employer’s iPhone and discovers a terrifying connection that blurs the line between the living and the dead. With his keen understanding of human nature, King delves into themes of obsession, mortality, and the consequences of tampering with forces beyond our control.

The second novella, The Life of Chuck, is a thought-provoking exploration of life’s meaning and the interconnectedness of our existence. King employs a nonlinear narrative structure that adds a layer of mystery and intrigue to the tale. The story unravels in reverse chronological order, revealing the life and impact of a seemingly ordinary man named Chuck. The story is poignant and introspective, leaving readers pondering the mysteries of life and the legacy we leave behind.

Next, we have If It Bleeds, the titular novella that features one of King’s most beloved characters, Holly Gibney. Known for her appearances in the Bill Hodges trilogy, Holly takes centre stage in this thrilling detective story. When a string of mysterious child murders rocks the city, Holly’s investigative skills and intuition come to the fore as she uncovers a malevolent force at work. King effortlessly blends elements of crime fiction and horror, creating a suspenseful narrative that keeps readers on the edge of their seats. If you enjoyed the Bill Hodges books then you have to read this.

Finally, Rat concludes the collection with a tale of a teacher who takes a sabbatical to write a book, out in a remote cabin in the woods. The potential author rescues a rat from drowning, which then starts talking to him. With its dark humour and razor-sharp commentary on human nature, Rat serves as a fitting finale to the collection.

If It Bleeds showcases Stephen King’s versatility as a writer, effortlessly transitioning between genres and exploring a wide range of human experiences. His characters are richly developed, and their struggles feel authentic and relatable. King’s prose remains as captivating as ever, drawing readers into each story’s world and refusing to let go until the final page.

If It Bleeds is a must-read for fans of Stephen King, although if you haven’t read any of his books, this probably isn’t the one to start with. With its blend of suspense, horror, and thought-provoking narratives, this collection will leave you both entertained and haunted. Prepare to lose yourself in the twisted and captivating worlds created by one of the greatest storytellers of our time.


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