If It Bleeds
A collection of four stories:"Mr. Harrigan’s Phone”“The Life of Chuck”“Rat”“If It Bleeds”

If It Bleeds Details

TitleIf It Bleeds
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 21st, 2020
PublisherHodder & Stoughton
ISBN-139781529391541
Rating
GenreHorror, Short Stories, Fiction, Thriller, Mystery

If It Bleeds Review

  • Nilufer Ozmekik
    January 1, 1970
    I missed to read Stephen Kings stories a lot! You may know that most of his short stories including Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, The Body from Different Season, Mist from Skeleton Crew, Lawnmower Man, Children of the Corn from Graveyard Shift, 1408 from Everythings Eventual adapted into successful movie scripts. ( Even though only good thing about Lawnmower Man seeing his cameo as a priest!) This time: We luckily have four fantastic stories in our hands and best part is one of them I missed to read Stephen King’s stories a lot! You may know that most of his short stories including Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, The Body from “Different Season”, Mist from “Skeleton Crew”, Lawnmower Man, Children of the Corn from “Graveyard Shift”, 1408 from ”Everything’s Eventual” adapted into successful movie scripts. ( Even though only good thing about Lawnmower Man seeing his cameo as a priest!) This time: We luckily have four fantastic stories in our hands and best part is one of them belongs to Holly Gibney! After Mercedes Man trilogy and Outsiders, I already missed the character and welcomed her with open arms. But don’t worry, all those stories are also unique, mysterious, entertaining and it actually helped me get rid of my frustration after I read “Institution” ( I know what you’re thinking! I already gave four stars to that book but frustration part comes from different writing style. When you resume reading same author’s books nearly 3 decade, you may sense something is not right and the words in the book won’t get clicked with your expectations and your literature taste) This book brings back the joy of reading old school King stories and stop thinking about you’re just a prisoner in your house and living in a mad mad world. It gave me so much fun and reminded me of my emotions when I was a small kid and watched “Back to the future” for the first time: mesmerized, enchanted and purely joyous and happy. Every time, when I read a new King’s book written by his regular sarcastic, witty, dark, awkwardly absurd tone with detailed and differentiated characterization, I turned into that small girl playing hooky, hiding under blankets, drinking Mexican Coke and devouring each page, barely breathing- right now I’m the same, only difference is I’m consuming alcohol and drinking from bottle!Let’s take a close look to the stories: Mr. Harrigan’s Phone: ****starsThe story is narrated by little Craig, living with his dad, got attention of rich and old billionaire Mr. Harrigan who mysteriously moved to the town and listened to his bible reading at the church offers him a job at his house including watering plants, reading him books, dusting his silver antiques. He pays him hourly and sends him postcards, scratch lottery tickets at holidays which defined as cheapster by his father (because Mr. Harrigan plays with billions and only pays $5 for hour.) Till one day, he won nearly half million dollars from scratch lottery ticket! (Yes! The universe rewarded young guy in a different way!) And Craig shows his appreciation by purchasing Mr. Harrigan an Iphone 4 which made him reluctant to accept at first but Craig advertised the product wisely and made the businessman addicted by showing how to read business news daily and track Dow Jones index to decide his next investment steps. Iphones helped them form a special and interestingly immortal relationship because after Mr. Harrigan dies, Craig hides the phone in his coffin and get buried with him. He kept calling Mr. Harrigan, listening his voicemail message (Surprisingly for years the phone never got out of charge and when Craig tells a problem to Mr. Harrigan like a school bully kicked the shit out of him and he leaves a message about the incident, next day he finds out his bully is dead! A creepy, emotional, Amazing Stories meets Twilight Zone story! “Life of Chuck”- ***** stars The story begins with the end of the world and told backwards with three acts including three important parts of Chuck Krantz. At the apocalyptic world shattered with earthquakes, collapse of networks and communication sources, billboards emblazoned with an eerie message: “39 great years! Thanks Chuck!” Before everything gets weirder at each page when you reach to the other act and learn more about Chuck’s back story, you get more surprised his connection with the universe’s collapsing. Especially his childhood life and living with grandparents, prying around the house to know more about ghosts ends with twisty revelation connecting with the beginning of the story. It was brilliant. If It Bleeds- ***** stars The story starts Outsiders’ detective Ralph Anderson’s returning to his house after family holiday and finding the envelope sent by Holly Gibney. When he opens the envelope he finds a drive named “If it bleeds” including audio spectrograms and a folder containing photographs. Holly wrote a note tells him: “If I do die, you choose to continue what I’ve started please be careful. You have a wife and son!” I’m not gonna give much details but I can only say that large explosion at a middle school in Pineborough, Pennsylvania resulted numerous casualties, many of children and teachers. Holly realizes another outsider, a grief vampire feeding itself by consuming people’s pain and sadness may be involved with the incident and she will do whatever it takes to hunt him alone even though it means this will be her last task! This is the best story of the book and I wish we had more Holly but don’t worry, I think she will have her own novel sooner. I can feel it. Rat- **** stars A passionate writer Drew Larson got attention of literature world with his short story but after that, his writing attempts end with psychical and mental breakdowns. He keeps his job as academician for the sake of his marriage. But now he wants to give another try and convinces his wife to work on his new project at her father’s isolated cabin in the woods. (From the beginning you may sense something really spooky will come out, right?) As he starts his assignment to writer a western thriller (I wish he shared the plot with someone instead of keeping himself so somebody may have stopped him!) The story gets eerier as Drew makes a haunted bargain with a rat for accomplishing his plan to create a fantastic novel. But… Yes… It is time for me to shut up and stop giving more details!Overall: I enjoyed the stories. I had quality time with the author’s brilliant story telling skills. Those are the stories I’ve missed so long! I’m rounding up 4.5 stars to 5! I highly recommend it to not only my one and only KING lovers but also to the well written thriller and fiction lovers as well.bloginstagramfacebooktwitter
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  • Chelsea Humphrey
    January 1, 1970
    Really enjoyed stories #1 and #3, snoozed through stories #2 and #4. Middle ground 3 star rating from me! Highly recommend the audio, as the cast of narrators are a few of my favorites.
  • Justin Tate
    January 1, 1970
    1. Mr. Harrigans PhoneThis opening novella rocked my world. With signature Stephen King finesse, he introduces characters so vivid they could be standing next to you. Im particularly impressed by his ability to deliver the millennial youth experience as effectively as he writes about being a boomer in his many other books. Then, when you least expect it, he scares the shit out of you. Its better not knowing anything going in, so I wont give away details. I shouldnt even tell you its scary, but I 1. Mr. Harrigan’s PhoneThis opening novella rocked my world. With signature Stephen King finesse, he introduces characters so vivid they could be standing next to you. I’m particularly impressed by his ability to deliver the millennial youth experience as effectively as he writes about being a boomer in his many other books. Then, when you least expect it, he scares the shit out of you. It’s better not knowing anything going in, so I won’t give away details. I shouldn’t even tell you it’s scary, but I guess it’s Stephen King so that’s not a surprise. Even though technically the plot has been done before (at least a couple times by Richard Matheson and The Twilight Zone) it feels fresh here because of the rich characters and updated tech. A perfect 5/5 for me.2. The Life of ChuckAlas this novella is also signature Stephen King, but more exemplary of his occasional weakness—an outstanding setup let down by a disappointing conclusion. The opening pages are soaked in intrigue and promises what could be a thrill ride as dramatic as “The Mist.” But I think King stumped himself with the mystery and couldn’t figure out how to have it make sense. He puts up a decent effort, but the explanation is too uneven compared to the blockbuster opening. 3/5.3. If It BleedsThe further adventures of Holly Gibney and a direct sequel to The Outsider. There's enough references to key events that I wouldn't recommend reading it as a stand alone. It also refers to the entire Mr. Mercedes trilogy, so ideally you're reading it at Book #5--or perhaps #4.5 if the series continues.King's flavor of cat-and-mouse crime mystery with supernatural elements has been a winning formula for me from the beginning. I don't quite get his obsession with Holly, but I like what she does and the dangerous situations she gets herself into. This new mystery is fully engaging with an edge-of-your-seat climax.Most people would consider If It Bleeds alone a full-length novel, but I suppose it is novella-length by Stephen King standards. The plot doesn't involve particularly fresh experiences for Holly either, so that's probably why they felt it didn't deserve a celebrated release all unto itself. Still, though, it's a suspenseful ride that shouldn't be missed if you're all caught up on the series. 4/5.4. RatAt first it seems like a mashup of The Shining and The Stand, which would've been super awesome because that's basically how I feel right now, but then it takes a sharp turn toward Richard Matheson territory and his "Button, Button." A solid creeper overall despite being two halves and not quite a whole. Reminds me of King's younger days and the stories that appeared in Night Shift or Nightmares & Dreamscapes. Subtle references cleverly tie-in the three previous novellas. Not enduring by any means, but top notch entertainment. 4/5.
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  • Matthew
    January 1, 1970
    Just announced! Another Holly Gibney mystery!Note: to avoid confusion, I wrote the above on May 14, 2019. It is now released and I am reading it. Also, at the time I was not aware it was another four novella book.
  • megs_bookrack
    January 1, 1970
    1. Mr. Harrigan's Phone -- ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Original:IT IS TIME!!!!COVER REVEAL HAS ME LIKE...Earlier:...receives book recommendation...Is this for real?This seems too good to be true?Does the universe love me this much?
  • Johann (jobis89)
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars. Some of Kings best work in recent years. Fantastic! 4.5 stars. Some of King’s best work in recent years. Fantastic!
  • Tucker
    January 1, 1970
    [10/03/19] - Unpopular opinion time! I am not a fan of this cover. It totally branches off from the style of The Outsiders and The Institute and I LOVED that style. Also, is that Church from Pet Sematary?*************[9/12/19] - Holly was one of my favorite characters from The Outsiders. I am beyond excited*************is this real?!| Goodreads | Blog | Pinterest | LinkedIn | YouTube | Instagram
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  • J.D. Barker
    January 1, 1970
    Like most of you, I devour everything Stephen King puts down on paper. He plays a great long game but its with short stories and novellas where he shines brightest and this latest collection of four may be his best yet. Over recent years his love for authors such as Michael Connelly, Don Winslow, and Meg Gardiner have crept into his own work, adding a realistic police procedural element to some of his tales. Combining with his uncanny ability to make the unbelievable believable, he tends to Like most of you, I devour everything Stephen King puts down on paper. He plays a great long game but it’s with short stories and novellas where he shines brightest and this latest collection of four may be his best yet. Over recent years his love for authors such as Michael Connelly, Don Winslow, and Meg Gardiner have crept into his own work, adding a realistic police procedural element to some of his tales. Combining with his uncanny ability to make the unbelievable believable, he tends to strike gold—the title story in this book being a great example.IF IT BLEEDS gives us a welcome glimpse into the life of Holly Gibney, his detective of choice for the twenty-first century. Alan Pangborn 2.0 for those of us who have been reading his work for a while. The story picks up after the events of THE OUTSIDER and answers a question not only for Holly but us readers—was the monster in that book alone in the world? I imagine the executive in charge of THE OUTSIDER Season Two over at HBO perked up when this one crossed his or her desk.RAT and MR. HARRIGAN’S PHONE will satisfy those Constant Readers who regularly say things like, “I’ll read the new stuff but it’s the books from the ‘80s that really hooked me.” Either would fit perfectly in earlier collections like NIGHT SHIFT or SKELETON CREW. If you’ve ever tried to write a novel, RAT in particular will claw under your skin. There’s a certain anxiety only writers know, one that comes from staring at a blank page for a little too long or just as bad—reading something you just wrote and wondering about your word choice. A simile is not the same as a metaphor and neither are quite an analogy and you can drive yourself mad spilling red ink as you swap one for the other.My personal favorite (and we all have one after reading a book like this, right?) was THE LIFE OF CHUCK. In his author’s note, King mentions how this story came together. I won’t reveal that here, I’ll only say that it works. It works wonderfully. It worked well enough for me to put on my student cap and map out the structure on a piece of paper. Some stories have a rhythm, a beat to them, and this is one you can dance to.This collection has a little something for everyone—the hardcore fans, newbies, and even those people who harp, “Oh, that King guy is too scary for me.” The latter may need to leave a few extra lights on but they’ll find themselves flipping the pages as fast as the rest of us.
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  • Mark
    January 1, 1970
    Another year another Stephen King book this time containing 4 novellas and not another full novel, I have found that Kings shorter stories and novellas are actually quite brilliant and offer some amazing stories. I do love the cover and was in first view also wondering if the cover might depict Church from "Pet Cemetery" but that is not the case the cats nose seems to contain at least one of the books novella titles hidden very nicely. Mr. Harrigans PhoneA bittersweet tale about a boy and an Another year another Stephen King book this time containing 4 novellas and not another full novel, I have found that Kings shorter stories and novellas are actually quite brilliant and offer some amazing stories. I do love the cover and was in first view also wondering if the cover might depict Church from "Pet Cemetery" but that is not the case the cats nose seems to contain at least one of the books novella titles hidden very nicely. Mr. Harrigans PhoneA bittersweet tale about a boy and an adult man who befriends him and helps him making some extra money reading books to him. The relationship somehow continues after the mans demise. Some supernatural but modern stuff involved. Really haunting but beautiful written. The Life of ChuckThis reads like a post apocalyptic story at first and is then about life itself, as always King knows how to tell a tale but this one left me puzzled and less impressed. For me one of Kings lesser stories. It is actually according to Stephen King three short stories within one novella If It Bleeds Holly Gibsons new adventure in a sequel to the King novel "The Ousider" which is a satisfying read even if it is situated in the near future (like end of this year / next year). The story builds upon the new kind of baddie as created by King in the previous novel. RatThis is a little Faustian tale about a writer who has troubles writing a novel and makes some interesting choices. A nice writers tale of whom King has written so often this one is very likable.The advantage of a book with Novellas is that you can read them in no particular order and so I kept the title track of the book for last and looking forward to it. This book was already easier to read than the previous Stephen King novel "The institute" which still lies on my stack of books that I have not finished yet. Glad to see King back on form and his best format besides the doorstop-format.
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  • Anna Luce
    January 1, 1970
    ★★★★✰ 3.75 stars News people have a saying: If it bleeds, it leads.If It Bleeds presents its readers with four unnerving short stories. Yet, while Stephen King certainly excels at creating disturbing scenarios, there is something oddly comforting about his books. His distinctive voice feels familiar, and his stories are infused with a certain American nostalgia. King is a gifted and empathetic storyteller who is unafraid of entertaining dark possibilities. These stories in particular seem all ★★★★✰ 3.75 stars “News people have a saying: If it bleeds, it leads.”If It Bleeds presents its readers with four unnerving short stories. Yet, while Stephen King certainly excels at creating disturbing scenarios, there is something oddly comforting about his books. His distinctive voice feels familiar, and his stories are infused with a certain American nostalgia. King is a gifted and empathetic storyteller who is unafraid of entertaining dark possibilities. These stories in particular seem all too relevant for these uneasy times. King taps into anxieties about technology, media, and data privacy. Characters have to battle their own vices and make sense of what can only be evil. By thrusting his 'ordinary' characters into uncanny realities King challenges their perception of themselves and of the world. If It Bleeds features revenge, ambition, violence, apocalypses (?), corruption, and faustian pacts. But there are also plenty of moments in which human connections triumph: friends looking out for each other, dancing on the streets, moments of kindness.MR. HARRIGAN’S PHONE: ★★★★✰ 4 starsA very King-esque story. From the setting to the characters, this first story is great. I liked the atmosphere, the discussions around technology, and I was invested in the narrative. THE LIFE OF CHUCK: ★★★✰✰ 3.25 starsThis story has a very interesting structure. There are some moving moments, especially towards the end. I was a bit confused but that was probably intentional.IF IT BLEEDS: ★★★★✰ 4 starsHolly is a blast and this story cemented my love for her. Her 'peculiarities' make her all the more relatable. Her pursuit of justice makes her into an admirable charter and it was fascinating to read of the way her investigation unfolded.RAT: ★★★✰✰ 3 starsAlthough I really like it when King writes about writers I found this last story to be simultaneously grotesque and hilarious. Also reading about a 'snot-clotted bandanna' during this pandemic gave me the heebie-jeebies.
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  • Scott
    January 1, 1970
    **The Stephen King Goodreads Discussion Group is doing a re-read of his works from the beginning to the end. Its been a long time since I have really immersed myself in Uncle Stevies world, but a rate of a book a month, I am all in. My goal is to read and review each one with as much honesty and reflection that I can give. ** Let it Bleed is a collection of four novellas published by King in April, 2020. My hardbound length of the combined novellas as 436 pages.The four Novellas include:Mr. **The Stephen King Goodreads Discussion Group is doing a re-read of his works from the beginning to the end. It’s been a long time since I have really immersed myself in Uncle Stevie’s world, but a rate of a book a month, I am all in. My goal is to read and review each one with as much honesty and reflection that I can give. ** “Let it Bleed” is a collection of four novellas published by King in April, 2020. My hardbound length of the combined novellas as 436 pages.The four Novella’s include:“Mr. Harrigan’s Phone” – Craig, a nine-year-old growing up in a small-town Maine in 2004 goes to work for Mr. Harrigan, a retired millionaire and extreme cheapskate. Three years later, while working for him, Craig dreams of buying himself a new Apple iPhone, and gets one from his father as a Christmas present. Craig uses his iPhone to show Mr. tight-wad Harrigan how he can use its apps to track the stock market on a daily basis and read articles on a real-time basis. Pretty soon they both have iPhones, discovering the convenience of texting, and their unofficial friendship grows. However, when Mr. Harrigan suddenly passes away, and Craig nostalgically places Mr. Harrigan’s iPhone in the casket with his mentor, things get weird when Craig starts to communicate beyond the grave… “The Life of Chuck” – Charles “Chuck” Krantz’s life is explored through three inter-connected acts told in reverse order. In the first act, Chuck is dying at age 39 from a brain tumor while the world is falling apart from many natural disasters. The second act involves Chuck on a business trip coming across two strangers that send him on a nostalgic music trip of a lifetime. Act three ends with Chuck’s childhood spent living with his grandparents and a special room upstairs that should not be entered, ever… “If It Bleeds” – The return of Holly Gibney, private investigator extraordinaire - last seen in King’s 2018 novel “The Outsider”- comes under terrible circumstances. Holly, owner of Finders Keepers detective agency, is in the office working on multiple cases when a horrible news story comes on her television. There’s been a bombing at a local middle school, including numerous casualties, many of which are children. Holly is drawn in to the developing event, the footage of the delivery man dropping off the explosive package, and the local news reporter who was first on the scene. It doesn’t take long for Holly to realize there something’s not quite right with the images she’s watching… Soon, she’ll find out that she’s not the only one who sees something scary and hideous… Something inhuman… “Rat” – Drew Larson is a decently successful college professor who teaches creative writing and has published four short stories including one in The New Yorker. However, he struggles with being able to successfully complete a novel. Each time he has attempted to write one, his creative juices cannot sustain it and the projects turn into bitter disappointment. The last time included a personal breakdown and a fire that nearly burned down his house. But one day during a walk to a sandwich shop, Drew gets an idea for a full-length book, and not just any idea, but a clear and complete vision from beginning to end of the whole thing. Since he is on sabbatical, Drew heads to the family cabin where he immerses himself in the perfect secluded and peaceful writing environment. But after a great start – his best ever - the creative juices start to ebb and Drew finds himself faced with an unbelievable Faustian offer that comes in the form of all things… a rat… My thoughts and reflections on the novella’s include: “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone” – started slow and didn’t pick up enough speed for me until Mr. Harrigan passed away more than half-way through the story. It flowed well, but I just didn’t find it to be as interesting as I hoped for. I found that Craig’s use of his iPhone to dispense justice reminded me a lot of another King book – “Gwendy’s Button Box” (another novella co-written with Richard Chizmar back in 2017) – but in a lighter version.I found it interesting to see King using technology to dispense Old Testament style justice delivered through the use of an iPhone. This brought back some nostalgic memories for me. I especially liked the references to buying Amazon and Apple stock before they became the pot at the end of the rainbow. I am sure we all wish we had bought them back then and celebrate our riches today. “The Life of Chuck” – was by far the strangest and incoherent of the of the four novellas, but it also had the most heart. Like the classic movie “Memento”, King finds an interesting and creative way to tell a story backwards, although it is really three different stories connected together to show the power of living life to its fullest no matter what challenges are being faced. Even though each of those stories could stand alone, they connect in a weird and charming way that grabs you enough to keep going until you discover how they all link together in a beautiful, messy, and magical manner. Lesson delivered, Uncle Stevie. Always remember the importance of living life to its fullest. Carpe Diem! “If It Bleeds” – was, hands down, the gem of this collection. To me, it seems almost impossible not to be drawn to the charm of King’s popular character. Holly Gibney. She is quirky, socially challenged and haunted by her past. She is also mentally skilled with the ability to solve crimes, especially those of an unusual or unbelievable nature. It is impossible not to cheer for her success while feeling deep empathy for her personal family struggles. Uncle Stevie has her dialed in and it’s a beautiful thing. Please note that it especially helps if you have read King’s “The Outsider” and Bill Hodges trilogy before reading this novella. Without doing so, a lot of history, context, and character understanding will be missing. This was, by far, my favorite of the four novellas. I especially loved how King intertwined both plotlines – her investigation and her family disintegration with her mother and uncle – in parallel and deeply connected style. The two themes of loss blended and contrasted so well, hitting on both personal fear and emotional cost. To me, Holly is an ultimate survivor. I love her and want see her continue to develop and grow. Give us more Holly, Uncle Stevie!“Rat” – was the weirdest, and yet, most poignant and personal story of the four for me. It felt like King was letting us behind the private curtains in the life of struggling writer. The reader gets pulled into Drew’s personal demons subtly at first, then the figurative onion is peeled away in both a physical and imaginative way that delivers. It feels like some of Uncle Stevie’s inner thoughts, fears, and secrets are being shared through his exploration of an artist’s internal need to create. What especially worked for me was that this wasn’t about a writer trying to be famous, but rather about someone trying to succeed just one time at something they really love and are passionate for. It’s about the inner win that makes us believe in ourselves and gives us confidence that we have accomplished something, regardless of the critics. It’s hard not to self-reflect while reading it. The age-old question of what you be willing trade for personal achievement is well delivered by Uncle Stevie in this one. Overall – Although I am biased and loved the Holly Gibney the most, I found the four different stories delivered well overall. Again, King does a great job of introducing the humanistic qualities, relationships, and experiences of daily life to draw you in and connect with his characters. And when he has your full attention, he pulls in the horror attributes to explore powerful themes like justice, living in each moment, fear and loss, and the costs of sacrifice. These are lessons that motivate, define moments, and leave unforgettable memories in each of our lives as we struggle to become who we want to be.
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  • Tobin Elliott
    January 1, 1970
    I can't even remember the last time I awarded all the stars to a King book. I know it's been a few years. I'm really happy to say that, on this one, King earns every single damn star. There's four stories in here, and I won't take you through them. I will, however, say that, while they're all separate, non-connected stories (well, okay, they all take place in the Stephen King Universe, but they aren't directly connected to each other), they do have a common thread running through them.King has I can't even remember the last time I awarded all the stars to a King book. I know it's been a few years. I'm really happy to say that, on this one, King earns every single damn star. There's four stories in here, and I won't take you through them. I will, however, say that, while they're all separate, non-connected stories (well, okay, they all take place in the Stephen King Universe, but they aren't directly connected to each other), they do have a common thread running through them.King has written about death in pretty much everything he's published. But these four stories look at death a little more delicately, and with the compassion of someone who knows they have many more years behind them than ahead. At least one character in each outing faces the death of disease or simply old age, rather than the usually more violent death that we're used to.And King handles each one with a deft, loving touch.Now, having said that, these deaths are by no means the central pivot of any of the stories, but they do serve, as I said, as a tenuous connection between the four. All I will say about three of the four are, the stories are wonderful, touching on youthful love and lust, the horrors of actually wrangling the creative process to the ground and making it work for you, and a brilliant take on the Amadou Hampâté Bâ quote, "when an old man dies, it’s a library burning." I have to say, the "burning library" story in particular stole my heart simply for the scene with the dancing. That's all I'll say.I do want to mention a couple of things about the title story If It Bleeds, which is the much-touted return of Holly Gibson from the Bill Hodges trilogy of books, as well as The Outsider. I will say I found the trilogy offered diminishing returns as it went on, and I can say I only enjoyed the first half of Outsider, because King seemed to get very lost in the second half and couldn't stick the landing. So, with that out there, three things about this story. First, if you haven't read those previous four books, and most especially Outsider, go back and read them first, as they all get spoiled, and this story is a direct sequel to Outsider.Second, this is very much a solo Gibney outing, and for that, I'm grateful. With her fifth appearance, she's obviously becoming one of King's favourite go-to characters, like Flagg was in the 70s and 80s, but on the side of good, and while I wasn't super fond of her in the first couple of books, she's really grown on me. This story pays off by letting you into her world a lot more and, while that is often a disappointment (I'm looking at you, Hannibal Lecter...Harris should have left you alone after your second appearance [but the television show was brilliant]), this outing only does very well by Ms. Gibney.Finally, this story, to me, delivers the payoff that was only promised in Outsider, but never delivered on. So, thanks Uncle Stevie.When this thing comes out. Get it. Read it. You're gonna love it.
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  • Obsidian
    January 1, 1970
    Wow. What a great collection of stories by King. This felt like new King but also improved King as well. I was not a fan of Sleeping Beauties and I was really disappointed with certain aspects of "The Outsider" as well. When I heard that King was going to follow Holly (from the Bill Hodges trilogy and most recently of The Outsider I was worried since she has not been my favorite, but he toned down a lot that irked me about Holly and made her a formidable force. Kudos for King, since his writing Wow. What a great collection of stories by King. This felt like new King but also improved King as well. I was not a fan of Sleeping Beauties and I was really disappointed with certain aspects of "The Outsider" as well. When I heard that King was going to follow Holly (from the Bill Hodges trilogy and most recently of The Outsider I was worried since she has not been my favorite, but he toned down a lot that irked me about Holly and made her a formidable force. Kudos for King, since his writing of women is often....um inconsistent? Yeah let's go with that.King hits you with a lot of emotions throughout these stories. For me, the first story evoked feelings of nostalgia (I remember my first phone and first IPhone) as well as summers as a kid just playing in my backyard.The second story made me cry buckets. My poor cat kept cuddling up to me to make me feel better.The third story was gripping the whole way through and there were some points I was screeching, hurry up, hurry up, oh no! oh no! Crap, Crap, Crap.The fourth story definitely dropped the tempo a bit and then I got to see some Easter eggs that King left for us Constant Readers and they made me smile a bit. I also rolled my eyes though too cause seriously at this point if anyone offers me a wish I am going to politely decline and go about my day. As you know I rate based on the stories and give an overall rating for the collection, let's get to it."Mr. Harrigan's Phone" (5 stars)-Classic King here. We follow a young boy through adulthood and his friendship with a recluse (slightly) that has moved to his small town in Maine. The two strike up an unusual friendship and understand and a phone ends up connecting them more than either thought possible. I have to say that this book hits a lot of nice spots. You get the creeps throughout the story with the implications that King lays out. He does not definitely say something one way or the other, but your imagination (that scary thing) leaves you a bit freaked out when you finish this."The Life of Chuck" (5 stars)-Just have tissues, a bottle of wine or some beer nearby. I wept throughout this three part collection of the life of Chuck. It's just...it hits me the same way that "The Body" did the first time I read that. The line "I contain multitudes" will make me cry probably for the rest of my life. "If It Bleeds" (5 stars)-A follow-up to "The Outsider" where we see Holly running Finders Keepers and wondering if there is something else out there that mimics human beings. This was a neat little bow on the story of Holly and we get some updates about Ralph, Jerome, and Barbara too. We also get to see even more glimpses of Holly's home life with her mother. I thought that the evolution of Holly has been one of the greatest character developments. Go see my earlier reviews in the "Bill Hodges trilogy" and you know the whole "poopy" and all of that crap made my teeth itch. There is a little bit of Holly left, but now I think this is a Holly I would want by my side if the bad shit ever popped off."Rat" (4 stars)-The weakest of the group, but still pretty solid. King loves throwing these wishes backfire on you stories in his novellas I think. This one works a bit better cause you are left wondering what did happen or did not happen. You have to question the narrator in this one a lot.
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  • MM Suarez
    January 1, 1970
    As always, a wonderful ride, one that always ends much too soon, but I have "Holly Hope" that the next one is already in the works😊.
  • Cody | CodysBookshelf
    January 1, 1970
    The publication of a new Stephen King story collection is always cause for celebration because his collections are not quite as common as his novels and theyre usually top-to-bottom good as hell. If youve kept up with my updates here or on Twitter you wont feel surprised by my giving this five stars, because dammit Im nothing if not bad at holding in my feelings when loving a book this hard. If It Bleeds is comprised of four novellas (well, three novellas and the title story, which qualifies as The publication of a new Stephen King story collection is always cause for celebration because his collections are not quite as common as his novels and they’re usually top-to-bottom good as hell. If you’ve kept up with my updates here or on Twitter you won’t feel surprised by my giving this five stars, because dammit I’m nothing if not bad at holding in my feelings when loving a book this hard. If It Bleeds is comprised of four novellas (well, three novellas and the title story, which qualifies as a short novel) and I’m having trouble picking a favorite because I was impressed by all four, for different reasons. I think I’m leaning toward the bookends, Mr Harrigan’s Phone and Rat. The former features a narrator who’s my age and it gave me all the nostalgic feels—doesn’t hurt it brings the goods (and scares). Rat is what I want most out of a King book: backwoods Maine territory, old Yankee general stores and accents, writers, madness(?). All that good shit. I love when King goes literary and/or experimental (he does so successfully in career highlight Life of Chuck), but I cut my teeth on books like ’Salem’s Lot and Pet Sematary and Bag of Bones, and, if I’m honest, that *vibe* is what I love most from Sai King. And then there’s the title story, which I wasn’t looking forward to until I reread The Outsider and realized maybe Holly Gibney isn’t so frackin bad after all. In fact, she’s kind of a badass—especially here—and the story’s climax is among King’s most suspenseful. It successfully adds to the Mercedes/Outsider lore without cheapening the characters or their growth. It’s natural for me to try ranking a new King book amongst his past works, but I think it’s too early for me to make a call: is it better than classic Different Seasons? How about that late career masterpiece Full Dark No Stars? I’m not sure; my gut tells me this is his best novella collection yet, but who knows how I’ll feel a year from now? What I can definitely say is I had a helluva time reading this, and I can unquestionably give it five stars. What a start to the new decade!
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  • Tanya
    January 1, 1970
    After Different Seasons, Four Past Midnight, and Full Dark, No Stars, Stephen King is back with the fourth novella-collection of his career. The release date was moved up by two weeks due to the global pandemic, and breezing through these definitely made lockdown more bearable.If It Bleeds collects four previously unpublished novellas, and the longest piece, the title story, is a direct sequel to The Outsider , and revisits the character of Holly Gibney. It was by far the weakest and my least After Different Seasons, Four Past Midnight, and Full Dark, No Stars, Stephen King is back with the fourth novella-collection of his career. The release date was moved up by two weeks due to the global pandemic, and breezing through these definitely made lockdown more bearable.If It Bleeds collects four previously unpublished novellas, and the longest piece, the title story, is a direct sequel to The Outsider , and revisits the character of Holly Gibney. It was by far the weakest and my least favorite of the novellas collected, and due to its length, I feel like it should carry more weight than the shorter, better stories—but I enjoyed the two stories that bookend the collection so much that I decided to go with the rounded up rating of four stars after all. The Author's Note at the end goes a little into the genesis of each tale, and was lovely; I appreciated having his thoughts on each story at the end much more than before reading each, as was the case in The Bazaar of Bad Dreams .Death is obviously pretty much always a major player in any Stephen King story, but I felt that it was a very present theme in this collection, and not in his usual way. Instead of dealing with violent, gruesome deaths, these stories all share the passing of a character from disease or old age, and King approaches it with empathy and compassion; it's quite clear that death is heavy on his mind. After all, he's getting on in years, he's in his seventies, and I may be projecting, but I felt that these stories were his way of confronting his own mortality, and that of his peers and loved ones. Perhaps it's also how he confronts a very natural fear of being dealt a bad card a little further down the road, be it aggressive cancer or Alzheimer's. These stories also have in common that they reach past the death; they look at the life lived, and how it impacted and enriched that of others, candidly and realistically exploring the process of grieving and mourning.Mr. Harrigan’s Phone · ★★★★½A child starts earning pocket money by reading to an 80+ year old rich former businessman who has retired to live out his life in a small Maine town. They form a rapport over the years, and when the man dies, the now teenager finds that he can still contact him through the cell phone that was buried with him. This story reminded me a lot of the novella Low Men in Yellow Coats from Hearts in Atlantis because of the relationship that blossomed between the narrator and the old man, which is the most memorable thing about this story. Despite being largely about death, revenge, and justice, all connected through, of all things, a first generation iPhone, I thought that it resulted in a charmingly sweet story that is, at its core, really about lonely people finding companionship.The Life of Chuck · ★★★½I can't say what this story is about without spoiling it, so suffice it to say that it hinges on the famous "I am large, I contain multitudes" line from Whitman's Song of Myself poem. The story is divided into three acts that could be considered separate stories... but together, they form a bigger picture. Three shorts that make a novella, if you will. The acts are also told backwards, and the first (actually third) one will lead you to think that this story is going to be something entirely different. The narrative structure was more experimental than I am used from King, and while I'm generally a fan of unique, funky formats, I wasn't fully sold here—I'll give him that the twist was well-executed and entirely unexpected though. Overall I found the story just a little too saccharine and silly in parts, although I loved the ending, and this is hands down the most surprising story included. Despite it falling a little short of its potential for me, I can see this being many people's highlight of the collection.If It Bleeds · ★★This novella revisits Holly Gibney, a character we first got to know in the Bill Hodges trilogy , and who then later recurred as a main player in The Outsider , which you could consider the novel-length prequel to this title story. In If It Bleeds, Holly's first solo outing, she notices something off about the correspondent who was first on the scene after a school bombing, and decides to go off and investigate on her own. I found the plot much too similar to that of The Outsider to be worth fleshing out into its own novella-length tale, especially into one as bloated as this one was, taking up almost half of the collection. I'm not going to mince words, it might've been improved if he hadn't approached the idea from his "procedural" angle and built on a recycled supernatural entity from another novel... and weighed it all down with the baggage the character of Holly comes with. I need Stephen to give her character a rest—I don't dislike her per se, but I am most definitely over her constantly popping up. A woman in her mid-thirties battling mental illness and an overbearing mother doesn't make for a character interesting enough to fill four novels and a novella, but I fear we haven't seen the last of her yet.Rat · ★★★★½A writer who's never managed to finish a novel he started (the last attempt having ended in him having a nervous breakdown and almost burning down the house) has a sudden, inspired idea, and retreats to his family's summer cabin to get started on it. He falls sick just as a four-day storm pins him to place and shuts him off from the world, and in his feverish state, he makes a bargain in order to finish his novel just when he can start feeling it slip away from him. I've often said that King is at his best when he writes what he knows, and he's not reinventing the wheel with the teacher-who-is-an-aspiring-novelist-suffering-from-writer's-block trope—but he makes it work, time and time again, and this story is no exception. It's a little reminiscent of Secret Window, Secret Garden from Four Past Midnight, but I also got slight The Shining vibes from it—the supernatural element is much more subtle though. It's really up to the reader to decide what's real and what isn't, and the ambiguity of the ending is really what sold this story to me.—————All my book reviews can be found here · Buy on BookDepository
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  • Ashley Daviau
    January 1, 1970
    Im might be biased when it comes to King because lets be real, Ill read anything the man puts out no matter what its about. That being said, I still do think this is a phenomenal collection of novellas that even someone whos not a King fan would enjoy. What I love the most about King is how even though hes classified as a horror author, his stories contain so much MORE than just horror and thats very evident in this collection. Each story has its own horror aspect but they go beyond that, theyre I’m might be biased when it comes to King because let’s be real, I’ll read anything the man puts out no matter what it’s about. That being said, I still do think this is a phenomenal collection of novellas that even someone who’s not a King fan would enjoy. What I love the most about King is how even though he’s classified as a horror author, his stories contain so much MORE than just horror and that’s very evident in this collection. Each story has its own horror aspect but they go beyond that, they’re emotionally moving and explore such different themes that you’ve got something for everyone here. Even the Holly haters! Which I’m definitely not, I ADORE Holly Gibney and I’ll gladly read dozens of stories featuring her. Even though I loved the three other stories, her story If It Bleeds was by far the highlight of this collection for me!
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  • Kristie
    January 1, 1970
    Holly Gibney?! Yes!Update! The release date for this book has been changed from May 5th to April 28th! Yay!
  • Alondra Miller
    January 1, 1970
    PRE-ORDERED
  • Kandice
    January 1, 1970
    I read this on a LONG travel day yesterday. I'll write individual reviews later:Mr. Harrigan's Phone - *****A teenager finds that a dead friend's cell phone, that was buried with the body, still communicates from beyond the grave.This was a very sweet story. King is so good at writing from the viewpoint of kids. This story covers over a decade so he not only has to capture the kid's voice, but then the grown man's. He does both beautifully.In the Author's Notes King says this is his ode to a I read this on a LONG travel day yesterday. I'll write individual reviews later:Mr. Harrigan's Phone - *****A teenager finds that a dead friend's cell phone, that was buried with the body, still communicates from beyond the grave.This was a very sweet story. King is so good at writing from the viewpoint of kids. This story covers over a decade so he not only has to capture the kid's voice, but then the grown man's. He does both beautifully.In the Author's Notes King says this is his ode to a mixture of Twilight Zone and The Monkey's Paw which is all I thought about as I read. Well, past the 20 page mark or so. I love that while he is writing this ode, he also leaves enough room for the reader to decide that this is all just coincidence and nothing fishy is going on. That sort of story is my favorite because when things get too out there, suspension of disbelief becomes hard for some. Not me, but some.The Life of Chuck- ****1/2As the world around him crumbles into oblivion, a man realizes that he contains multitudes.It was very odd to read this during the COVID 19 Pandemic. This read very much like three separate stories that King just lightly sewed together. One is about a world possibly ending, one is about a man's life, but told in small and lovely snippets and one is about love that lasts outside the norm. They are even strung together in a very non-linear way. The bookend tales about the world on the brink of it's death felt so incredibly NOW! And I know King must have written this more than a year ago. If It Bleeds- ****1/2Holly Gibney of the Finders Keepers detective agency is working on the case of a missing dog – and on her own needs to be more assertive – when she sees the footage on TV. But when she tunes in again, to the late-night report, she realizes there is something not quite right about the correspondent who was first on the scene.[2] Gibney is one of King's recurring characters, having appeared in his Bill Hodges trilogy (Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers and End of Watch), and in The Outsider.Holly is one of my favorite characters. That's really saying something when you think about the hundreds, nay thousands, of characters that King has created. She is so beautifully flawed, and yet so good on the inside. I feel so much for the lost years of her youth and then late 20's, early 30's, when her fucked up mother makes her life unbearable. Somehow King also makes me feel sympathy for Charlotte, Holly's mom. I can't like Charlotte, but I can feel for her. That is a writing feat all in itself.I have to admit that a bit of this detective yarn was a little hard to swallow. We are introduced to a new Outsider, and this one is different. It was hard for me to think that Holly would accept that, and jump to some of the conclusions that she did, if only because she is so logical. I almost wish King had made no reference to the original Outsider and simply made this a new supernatural villain. Clearly I don't feel strongly enough to rate the story down, but it felt just the tiniest bit like he felt he needed to give us that connection to make us care, he didn't.Rat - *****A writer with writer's block, seeks a devilish bargain to help him finish a novel.Much like The Life of Chuck feeling prescient on the part of King as far as our current pandemic goes, so did this one! Like so many of King's strongest stories, this is about a writer. (write what you know, after all) A writer, who like Jack Torrence, suffers from not just simple writer's block, but almost the reverse. Writer's diarrhea if you will. When this writer is in a groove he has too many ideas of which words will work and becomes bogged in that literary quagmire. I can sympathize with this. I have to write copy for work. Nothing as exciting as fiction, but I often think of too many ways to say what I want and then panic that the particular way I chose was not the best to get my point across. King does a fantastic job of illustrating that with this story. That's just a small aspect of this little tale.Another, of the three, is that our writer gets sick. Not just sick, but he catches a virus from shaking hands with someone infected. There are paragraphs devoted to the thought behind shaking the hand of someone who has just blown their nose, but politeness wins out. Later, in retrospect, there are many paragraphs devoted to how germs work, where they lurk and how we pick them up. Prescient much? Boy howdy!The third aspect of this one is a bit of a fairy tale. I won't say which one, but it was weird. The minute that part of the story is introduced, I wondered if King was fever ridden when he wrote this. I can flow with his literary what-the-fuckery, but I know some people can't. I suspect this will be the least popular of the four because of that, but I enjoyed it just the same.Author's Notes - ALL THE STARS ***************************I look forward to King's introductions, forwards, afterwords and notes almost as much as I look forward to his stories and books themselves. I have been, and will always be a Constant Reader!
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  • posthuman
    January 1, 1970
    I've been enjoying the hell out of Stephen King's books since I was a kid and eagerly awaited publication of his latest, If It Bleeds. However, this collection of stories was a mixed bag that left me slightly disappointed. "Rat" is a claustrophobic fable about a neurotic creative writing teacher who isolates himself in a remote cabin near the Canadian border during a winter storm. It was a joy to read this snarky reflection on the writing process with a clever touch of magical realism as Drew, I've been enjoying the hell out of Stephen King's books since I was a kid and eagerly awaited publication of his latest, If It Bleeds. However, this collection of stories was a mixed bag that left me slightly disappointed. "Rat" is a claustrophobic fable about a neurotic creative writing teacher who isolates himself in a remote cabin near the Canadian border during a winter storm. It was a joy to read this snarky reflection on the writing process with a clever touch of magical realism as Drew, the struggling author, makes a Faustian bargain with a talking rat. Perhaps one of King's best shorts.The eponymous novella "If It Bleeds" continues the story of the Bill Hodges trilogy (Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers, End of Watch) and The Outsider. I loved all of these books and quickly devoured this tale of autistic, obsessive-compulsive private investigator Holly Gibney growing into her independence as she tries to thwart a supernatural villain, perhaps a sort of cousin to the Outsider. The story was riveting, but the ending left me rather unsatisfied. This novella felt like it could have been the perfect first half of a novel, reaching a sort of false victory begging to be undermined by a more clever antagonist. Hopefully another book is in the works that will pick up where this story left off. If you haven't already, I recommend reading the Bill Hodges trilogy and The Outsider first."Mr. Harrigan's Phone" is a classic gothic horror tale that largely works if you can accept the somewhat silly conceit of a haunted iPhone. Craig is an enterprising, optimistic boy who befriends Mr. Harrigan, a wealthy hermit at the end of his life. After Craig gifts this Luddite an iPhone, the story takes a turn into gothic territory and builds up toward a crescendo of what might have been truly horrific, but instead ends with a whimper."The Life of Chuck" is certainly the most ambitious story in the collection in terms of narrative structure, but it didn't resonate with me. Three stories are told in reverse chronological order. The first part concerns a series of mysterious billboards thanking someone named "Chuck" during an insane apocalypse that makes covid-19 look like a walk in the park. The second is the story of the same Chuck featured on the billboards connecting with strangers as he dances in the street to the beat of a busker. The third is about Chuck's coming of age living with his grandparents in a haunted house. I'm going to dare to suggest that less would have been more in the case of this book. As much as I would have loved to read a new full-length Holly Gibney novel, even this shorter novella would have made for a more delightful read published by itself. I enjoyed "Rat" and "If It Bleeds," but "Mr. Harrigan's Phone" and "The Life of Chuck" were not at the same level of brilliant storytelling.
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  • Jesse Ramshaw
    January 1, 1970
    MR. HARRIGAN'S PHONE **** (4 stars)a) Stephen King's version of "Great Expectations" I really enjoyed this one! There was a certain maturity saturating the pages. It had shades of King's short story "Obits" (which I prefer). King, even at 72, does quite nicely tapping into the mind of a young boy. As a book lover, I enjoyed all the references to the novel's mentioned.THE LIFE OF CHUCK ****1/4 (4.25 stars)a) Without a doubt, the strangest, most original, and poigant of all the novellas in this MR. HARRIGAN'S PHONE **** (4 stars)a) Stephen King's version of "Great Expectations" I really enjoyed this one! There was a certain maturity saturating the pages. It had shades of King's short story "Obits" (which I prefer). King, even at 72, does quite nicely tapping into the mind of a young boy. As a book lover, I enjoyed all the references to the novel's mentioned.THE LIFE OF CHUCK ****1/4 (4.25 stars)a) Without a doubt, the strangest, most original, and poigant of all the novellas in this collection. I feel this deserves a second read, which could possibly inflate it's rating. The world is falling apart at the seams; destruction all over; cell towers down, etc. But who is this Chuck that keeps popping up on the billboards? How does he relate to this all? I love the depth of this story. It is so rich, structured so well. I haven't read such a poigant story from King since 11/22/63.IF IT BLEEDS ***1/2 (3.5 stars)a) Ahem, I don't like Holly Gibney. I'll just say it. From Mr. Mercedes onward, I have found her to be distractingly annoying. You can only imagine my chagrin when she arrived on the scene in The Outsider. However, this is definately the book that does her the most justice as a character. Stephen King even mentioned in his Author Notes, that he loves this character of Holly Gibney. And you can tell. He writes about her with the passion of a lover. I suppose all authors must cross that path at some point, especially considering each character is (for better or worse) a child of the imagination.b) The story itself is really compelling. How exactly is this particular reporter always at the scene of the crime? Hmmm... c) I wasn't in love with the ending. Gibney vs. The Baddie. I wish it could have had more twists and turns. It felt so rote, so straightforward. RAT *** (3 stars)a) King returns to one of his favourite subjects: A writer struggling with writer's block. I'm not going to lie, this book doesn't do anything new with the subject matter, BUT it did remind me of Leonardo DiCaprio in "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" as he's strategizing how to perform his particular western character. You really get the "inside scoop" of the writer's mind. And of anyone out there, King would know best.Quite enjoyable. I'm going to boost this up to a 4-star rating as a whole, but again, each novella should be taken as its own, not as a whole (in my opinion).4 Stars
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  • Amit
    January 1, 1970
    Couldn't ask for more. One of the finest book I say that done by King. Containing 3 novella and 1 short story it was a perfect book to enjoy while you are locked down of the time [while writing this on April 22, 2020 Dhaka, Bangladesh here] in Corona virus epidemic. Thanks to King again for bringing this book for us readers to enjoy his unmistakable magic of work...MR. HARRIGANS PHONE -"I kept telling myself that. Dead people dont have bad sides."...Wow! Great start to read the first story of Couldn't ask for more. One of the finest book I say that done by King. Containing 3 novella and 1 short story it was a perfect book to enjoy while you are locked down of the time [while writing this on April 22, 2020 Dhaka, Bangladesh here] in Corona virus epidemic. Thanks to King again for bringing this book for us readers to enjoy his unmistakable magic of work...MR. HARRIGAN’S PHONE -"I kept telling myself that. Dead people don’t have bad sides."...Wow! Great start to read the first story of 'If It Bleeds' and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Finished it in one sitting. Hell of a story that was...Mr. Harrigan an aged wealthy person,owned a lot more than mills. Until he retired, he was being the grand high poobah of a company called Oak Enterprises. It owned a shipping line, shopping centers, a chain of movie theaters, a telecom company. So yes that was how wealthy he been. Craig used to visit that old man to accompany him by reading books. Someday Craig buy a  iphone and gifted it to him. Thogh he was not a much tech guy and didn't have any interest with the phone but Craig insisted by teaching him how to operate it. After sometime he begins to like it and get used to with the phone. As he was being aged in normal way he eventually died and of course it made Craig sad to the core. But Craig did a peculiar thing, he put the iphone by not seeing anyone in the dead man's coffin. Mr. Harrigan before die give fair amount of money to Craig's name and with the help of these he went to high school. Made friendship with Billy, Regina, Roger, Mergie. It was all ok until he get bullied by Kenny Yanko, though Craig too did beat him by not surrendering. It was then the real twist begun. It was of course not natural way of thinking if you know what that got to do with. Craig had that crush on his beautiful teacher named Ms. Hargensen. With her too there's that incident that neither he believed it will happen again but in deep in his mind he knew it will happen again and it did. Completely worth my time...THE LIFE OF CHUCK -It's not a horror tale but nice enough to enjoy the story. It opens on the image of billboards bearing the portrait of a middle-aged accountant named Charles Krantz. Each billboard bears the words: “39 GREAT YEARS! THANKS, CHUCK!” Who is Chuck? And what is the story behind those billboards? King written down the tale with three act describing the fact about Chuck from his childhood, his dance, music, mortality and to the day he died in the hospital. It's kind of bizarre read to know of course in a positive way. But it was a good story to read I have to admit...IF IT BLEEDS -Oh, this one by far best of three tales I say. The story has linking with two King books 'The Marcedes' and 'The Outsider'. Holly Gibney the prime female character who happened to appear on those two books has gotten in 'If It Bleeds' story and you can say this one is a direct sequel of 'The Outsider.' Where there's much similarity with the book in here but of course 'If It Bleeds' stand on its own, no doubt...In Outsider Holly Gibney track down an ancient monster with the help of a police detective. But this time she must do it alone and it was so tentative and all she can manage how calm she must remain in order to achieve what she was going for. Last part of this story was so tensive and I just couldn't help but kept my eyes remain on the pages. Best ending that was in my opinion and of course so good. It's good to see Holly Gibney appear again in here with perfect circumstances I say. Enjoyed it...RAT -Whoa! Bit of unusual and queer read that was. But I did like the story and quite sure myself it will be another hot read of short fiction by King and it is...Drew Larson wanna be a writer though he has his job and living with his wife Lucy and children it was perfect for him to maintain his family enough with. But he want to write novel and he did writes some short stories but whenever he try to write a complete novel almost when he is in the middle of his work he forget everything about to choose right word to written down. Isolated in a cabin deep in the woods of Northern Maine Drew this time was determined to finish a complete novel all by himself. But there's a change this time. While the weather going to be very serious and a strom in coming he encountered a Rat while getting ready to sleep. After that everything changes and Drew Larson couldn't blame what he had done by doing something that he can never regret! Or could he? Who knows!...
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  • Ariel
    January 1, 1970
    If you receive this book without author nor title, you'll KNOW it's a Stephen King from the very first pages. Mr Harrigan's Phone kinda reminded me of the first story of Hearts in Atlantis. The relationship between the two main characters is what you'll remember.The Life of Chuck is the best story of the book and it took me on a ride that included several different feelings and moods, leaving you with a very nice taste at the end.If it Bleeds is like you're reading The Outsider 2. If you liked If you receive this book without author nor title, you'll KNOW it's a Stephen King from the very first pages. Mr Harrigan's Phone kinda reminded me of the first story of Hearts in Atlantis. The relationship between the two main characters is what you'll remember.The Life of Chuck is the best story of the book and it took me on a ride that included several different feelings and moods, leaving you with a very nice taste at the end.If it Bleeds is like you're reading The Outsider 2. If you liked that book (I liked it quite a lot) you'll enjoy it. Has some easter eggs related to other works, such as The Dark Tower and Storm of the Century.Rat is like a twisted fable that also sounds familiar. Something we read in Secret Windows, Secret Garden. Has a tiny wink to IT.
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  • Joshua Jorgensen
    January 1, 1970
    I will preface this review by confessing that I am a massive Stephen King fan. I read everything the man puts out, for better or worse. I will also add that his novellas and short stories are among my personal favorites. So, having said all that, IF IT BLEEDS is another 5-star contribution from a master storyteller. Each story is unique, and yet there is still an underlying theme that threads them together. I will add some of my quick thoughts about each piece.The primary entry is MR. HARRIGAN'S I will preface this review by confessing that I am a massive Stephen King fan. I read everything the man puts out, for better or worse. I will also add that his novellas and short stories are among my personal favorites. So, having said all that, IF IT BLEEDS is another 5-star contribution from a master storyteller. Each story is unique, and yet there is still an underlying theme that threads them together. I will add some of my quick thoughts about each piece.The primary entry is MR. HARRIGAN'S PHONE. It is a bittersweet, coming-of-age ghost story told from a first-person perspective. I will also confess that I am partial to first-person storytelling, and some of my all-time favorite King stories are in this fashion (11/22/63, Bag of Bones, Revival). The story feels like vintage Stephen King, (a term I am reluctant to use, because late in his career, Stephen King has written some of his most compelling fiction) in that it could easily fit in with DIFFERENT SEASONS or FOUR PAST MIDNIGHT. From start to finish, this piece was captivating. It was tightly wound, and it ends on a button. THE LIFE OF CHUCK seems to be everyone's favorite (based on what I've seen from book Twitter and King fans across all social media platforms) and I can definitely see why. When Stephen King gets more literary with his writing, he also usually produces an exquisite story. The story is told backwards, and in three-acts. It gave me 11/22/63 vibes, and it moved my heart and spirit. I guess, after some reflection, it is "my favorite" from this collection as well, though it feels wrong to say that. This one was the most creative, and I think I love it mostly from a writer's perspective. King's ability to remain innovative after 45 years is inspiring. IF IT BLEEDS is the eponymous story, and continues King's recent interest in blending crime with the supernatural. It is a direct sequel to a previous work, THE OUTSIDER, which was a stunning novel in its own right, and adapted beautifully as an HBO limited series. Holly Gibney has divided King fans since her introduction in MR. MERCEDES, and I have long been in the camp that loves her. Perhaps it is because I notice certain qualities she has that some of my closest friends have (maybe myself, as well), but mostly I think it's because she is resilient and tough, and yet filled with an unmistakable empathy. IF IT BLEEDS is the longest story in this collection, and it was the fastest one I read. Page-turning suspense and high-stakes with characters I've come to enjoy reading more about. RAT is a twist on the classic Faustian tale, one that King has explored in a number of stories throughout his career. In his previous novella collection, FULL DARK, NO STARS there is a story titled "Fair Extension," which follows a character who shows no remorse about the catastrophic bargain he strikes up. Here in "Rat," the main character is uncertain if the bargain was a fully-realized thing, if he really meant it, or if he is losing his mind. This story is clearly King having fun, and it is certainly a fun, slightly unsettling read. Of course, I love every opportunity we get to hear about Stephen King's writing process and his thoughts. Usually we are blessed with a forward or an author's note in his collections, and IF IT BLEEDS is no different. What a blast these four stories were, and I cannot wait to revisit them soon.
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  • Craig
    January 1, 1970
    King's new book is a collection of four novellas in the tradition of the Different Seasons and Four Past Midnight. I don't know if If It Bleeds will end up being as well-remembered as the classic Different Seasons (no one will know for another forty years, right?), but I do know that I enjoyed all of the stories and thought they were all quite fine. King here revisits many of the tropes and situations that have served him well throughout his career: the young boy-old man friendship, the King's new book is a collection of four novellas in the tradition of the Different Seasons and Four Past Midnight. I don't know if If It Bleeds will end up being as well-remembered as the classic Different Seasons (no one will know for another forty years, right?), but I do know that I enjoyed all of the stories and thought they were all quite fine. King here revisits many of the tropes and situations that have served him well throughout his career: the young boy-old man friendship, the struggling writer, Holly facing otherworldly evil, etc. Mr. Harrigan's Phone is an eerie tale that may be a variation on the Richard Matheson Twilight Zone story about a direct line to the grave. (Phones are instruments of evil, as we learned in Cell.) The Life of Chuck is the most different or experimental piece in the book. It's a triptych of the life of the titular character, one from early, one from the middle, and one from (the very) end. One of the stories is told in the spirit of a science fiction story, one as a fantasy, and one as horror; interestingly, too, they're presented in reverse chronological order. The third story is actually a short novel rather than a novella, as the page counts used to be defined. It features Holly, one of the main characters from the Hedges trilogy and The Outsider. She faces another supernatural evil threat while dealing with familial problems and has to overcome her own weaknesses not to mention overwhelming Outside odds. It strikes me as ironic that the fact that the universe Holly inhabits is an alternate one to ours is brought even more firmly to bear because the various sections are dated in progressive December dates of the current year, but there's no mention of Captain Trumps or its lingering effect. The final story, Rat, is the most traditional of the lot, blending the deal-with-the-devil pitfalls with the struggling author character, a familiar guy to all the Constant Readers. As always, even when you're not sure that the story itself is the greatest, you can't argue that his characters are all amazingly well developed and depicted, and his way of pacing and framing his prose compels you to keep the pages turning 'cause you just have to know what happens next. I enjoyed the book very much; I'm sure King's other fans will, too!
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  • Kristyn
    January 1, 1970
    Do I love Stephen King? Yes! Does that mean I have to love everything he writes? Nope!If It Bleeds just fell a little flat for me. Mr. Harrigan's Phone was like something that would appeal to Goosebumps readers which could be great if you're expecting a middle school read, which I wasn't. The only story I liked a lot was The Life of Chuck. The title story was okay, but I'm so sick of Holly. She's not a character that I particularly like and I felt she was super whiny in If It Bleeds. From the Do I love Stephen King? Yes! Does that mean I have to love everything he writes? Nope!If It Bleeds just fell a little flat for me. Mr. Harrigan's Phone was like something that would appeal to Goosebumps readers which could be great if you're expecting a middle school read, which I wasn't. The only story I liked a lot was The Life of Chuck. The title story was okay, but I'm so sick of Holly. She's not a character that I particularly like and I felt she was super whiny in If It Bleeds. From the ending, I fear this won't be the last of her. The Rat was actually pretty boring and felt stale like it's been done before. I'll definitely keep reading King because I'm confident he'll continue writing good things too, but this one is going in my bottom King's.
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  • Lars (theatretenor) Skaar
    January 1, 1970
    Im gonna go ahead and give this one five stars!Stephen King is up to his usual tomfoolery alright. I loved every story, truly did. Every one of them struck a particular and different chord and I liked that a lot.I love new King too. Unashamed. I know a majority, Id be willing to bet, love old King more than new King and some even hate new King and are staunchly supportive of old King. And thats fine! Thats the beauty of books! I like both, to be fair to myself, but I do like new King better.Lets I’m gonna go ahead and give this one five stars!Stephen King is up to his usual tomfoolery alright. I loved every story, truly did. Every one of them struck a particular and different chord and I liked that a lot.I love new King too. Unashamed. I know a majority, I’d be willing to bet, love old King more than new King and some even hate new King and are staunchly supportive of old King. And that’s fine! That’s the beauty of books! I like both, to be fair to myself, but I do like new King better.Let’s break down his newest offering, If It Bleeds:Mr. Harrigan’s Phone - 4 stars - I enjoyed it! Nice opener. My least favorite of the four. Fun concept tho. It IS indeed creepy to think of a phone ringing from inside a grave. And I liked the magic paranormal aspect. I won’t give anything away.The Life of Chuck - 4.5 stars - I loved this one! Super story. Super character. Great little surprise. Touching. I love stories that get me in that way. Wasn’t expecting a non-horror story! A little something missing, and maybe it’s that? Maybe it’s the non-horror when I wasn’t expecting it? I’m not sure. I’ll be interested to do a reread maybe next year and see how I feel!If It Bleeds - 5 stars - loved this one! Love Holly Gibney. Sue me, I do. I don’t care. Loved the concept of the news reporter who is always there and that he is feeding off the despair and sadness of the victims. I don’t know, just do! And I love crime novels. I love when King writes crime. And, to be fair to my review, I LOOOOOVE the entire Bill Hodges trilogy. Mr. Mercedes of course being my favorite, Finders Keepers second and End of Watch third favorite. So that clouds my review I’m sure!Rat - LOVE this one! I think might be my favorite of the four, even above If It Bleeds. This one really just tickled my fancy, if you will. Loved the storyline. The location. The characters. Especially the rat! And man did I get a kick out of when he heard the word “rat” replaced with other words people were speaking when he got back from the cabin. I did literally laugh out loud at a few of them. Really clever to me for some reason! Loved the ending (we know King can struggle there). I don’t know, just all around very enjoyable!So gotta give this book an overall 5 star rating!
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  • Alex findingmontauk1
    January 1, 1970
    Wow...just wow! King just served us a legendary collection with If It Bleeds. Comprised of 4 novellas, this collection blew my mind and each story just left me speechless and with all the feels. I smiled, I laughed, I danced, I was horrified, and I cried. I literally ran the gamut of emotions with this collection. I could have read an entire book on each (and the title story alone was QUITE long - I still could have enjoyed another 150-200 pages!). This is just... again, wow! 5 stars - EASY!
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  • Sjgomzi
    January 1, 1970
    Loved it, and it ended on a high note! All four novellas were fantastic, and its always a hoot hanging out with Holly, but the final story Rat, stole the show and ended up being my favorite! Loved it, and it ended on a high note! All four novellas were fantastic, and it’s always a hoot hanging out with Holly, but the final story Rat, stole the show and ended up being my favorite!
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