Friday, September 16, 2011

Mile 81

by:  Stephen King
published by:  Simon & Schuster Adult
publish date:  September 1, 2011

At Mile 81 on the Maine Turnpike is a boarded up rest stop on a highway in Maine. It's a place where high school kids drink and get into the kind of trouble high school kids have always gotten into. It's the place where Pete Simmons goes when his older brother, who's supposed to be looking out for him, heads off to the gravel pit to play "paratroopers over the side." Pete, armed only with the magnifying glass he got for his tenth birthday, finds a discarded bottle of vodka in the boarded up burger shack and drinks enough to pass out.

Not much later, a mud-covered station wagon (which is strange because there hadn't been any rain in New England for over a week) veers into the Mile 81 rest area, ignoring the sign that says "closed, no services." The driver's door opens but nobody gets out.

This is a new short story from the Master of Horror and this story illustrates why he got that moniker.  It was pretty creepy.  I think I read somewhere it was a cross between Christine and Stand by Me and I think that would be a fair assessment.  The first third or so talking about Pete Simmons and his trek to the rest stop was reminiscent of the Stand by Me boys.  The station wagon at the rest stop was just as evil as Christine.

Once again, King's characterization in this novella is superb.  The reader knows and cares about the characters in a few short paragraphs.  I love his creative cussing and there are some really good ones in here.  I was cracking up laughing at a few. 

My only disappointment with Mile 81 came with the ending.  It was a little far fetched in my opinion, but it's not my story so how can I dispute where the station wagon comes from?  But I didn't particularly like it.

No comments: