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The Stephen King Collection: Stories from Night Shift    by Stephen King Amazon.com order for
Stephen King Collection
by Stephen King
Order:  USA  Can
Random House, 2005 (1979)
Hardcover, Paperback, CD
* *   Reviewed by Lance Victor Eaton

This Night Shift Collection is a nugget from Stephen King's early writings. Published in the 1970s, this anthology reminds us what it was that fans liked so much about him. Interestingly enough, many of these short stories have become movies including Sometimes They Come Back, The Mangler, The Lawnmower Man, Quitters Inc, and The Ledge. The last two shorts were incorporated in the movie Cat's Eye. While not all of these stories engage the listener, there are plenty of chestnuts to enjoy and it's evident why Stephen King has become the highest paid writer in history.

King's stories run the gamut from the slightly eccentric to the down-right freaky. His craft for making the weird almost commonplace is obviously a talent honed for years. This collection feels like an anthology of pulp fiction, but good pulp fiction if there is such a thing. Whether performing a sťance to kill demons, fending off a deranged landscaper, or escaping the attacks of live-action army toys, the protagonists react as any common person would when thrust into such a bizarre and uncanny world.

A single person narration of an anthology becomes a tricky task in today's market where many audiobook publishers use multiple narrators. But John Glover shows us that competent and talented narrators can still rise to the challenge. Without becoming complacent in his character range, Glover guides listeners through over a dozen stories with well-constructed characterizations. His narrative voice keeps listeners intrigued and awake while his speaking voice portrays his characters' emotional intent. The sound quality of the series raises the most questions. During the first half of the stories, all narrations are straight reads. But about half-way into the collection, some stories include sound effects and even a musical background. Because of their absence earlier, sound effects feel intrusive and awkward during the second half.

Though Stephen King claimed he would be retiring after Dark Tower VII, he has since published at least two books, with others to come. If retirement really is in store for him, it's nice to know that listeners can still find some of his classic material to enjoy in audio.

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