Just After Sunset
By Stephen King
Published 2008 by Scribner
Stephen King the master of horror delivers once again with his latest book, “Just After Sunset.” “…Sunset” is a collection of short stories that, as King states in the introduction to the book, allow him to exercise that little used short story muscle. Back in the day when he was writing, not to put food on the table, but to allow that extra check that turned out be nice to a then struggling family where his source of income was teaching high school English and summer jobs as a delivery driver or in a laundry. This book is basically his challenge to himself to see if he can still write the short story.
“Just After Sunset” is a collection of 13 stories ranging from the romantic ghost story to the gross out kill-the-man-by-locking-him-in-a-port-a-potty-and-tip-it-over story. Each story is different but they all ring true of that Stephen King touch. He takes the what-if and makes it real, but usually in a scary or at least a haunting finish.
In the back of the book Mr. King provides a story by story explanation as to why and how the stories evolved.
Here’s a breakdown of the stories.
The story of some folks that have just experienced a train crash and have been waiting for hours at the nearest depot for a back-up train to take them home.
2. “The Gingerbread Girl”
read my review of the audio release of this story here:
3. “Harvey’s Dream”
A man who wakes up from a nightmare of his wife being killed, and wanting to tell the wife. She doesn’t want to hear the story but knows she has to.
4. “Rest Stop”
A writer his headed home on the interstate and stops in a rest stop to relieve himself. As he enters the building he hears an argument and a man beating a woman. This is a what-would-you-do story that brings out the hero in all of us.
5. “Stationary Bike”
A man buys a bike to become healthy and prolong his life but ends up crossing into another dimension.
6. “The Things They Left Behind”
This is Stephen King’s story to help understand the after effects of 9/11. This is a heartwarming story telling what happens to one man that survived the bringing down of the twin towers in New York. Told in a way that only Stephen King could.
7. “Graduation Afternoon”
Another Stephen King what-if. A girl celebrating her boyfriend’s graduation and contemplating her own future is witness to a sight that changes all future plans. When reading this story it may be helpful to play Pink Floyd’s “Two Suns in the Sunset” from the Final Cut album.
A psychiatrist treats an OCD patient that developed his disorder after leaving a Stonehenge like structure.
9. “The Cat from Hell”
A great story about a hit man hired to kill a cat.
10. “The New York Times at Special Bargain Rates”
A cell phone is the last connection to a wife’s late husband.
An interesting guy-picks-up-hitchhiker-then-goes-to-confession story.
“Pay it Forward” movie meets a psychic healer.
13. “A Very Tight Place”
This is the gross out story in the book, and my favorite. Two enemies from the rich part of society, one seeks revenge by locking the other in a port-a-potty and tilts it over and leaves him to die.
Fun stories to read and all have that Stephen King touch to keep any fan happy. If you are not a typical Stephen King reader you’ll enjoy this also, a story for everyone.