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Everything's Eventual, by Stephen King Book Review | SFReader.com
Everything's Eventual, by Stephen King Genre: Horror Anthology Publisher: Simon and Schuster Published: 2002 Review Posted: 7/18/2005 Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated
Everything's Eventual, by Stephen King
Book Review by Jeff Edwards
Have you read this book?
Stephen King's publisher would like us to believe that it's business as usual in Everything's Eventual: The back cover describes the collection of fourteen dark tales as "terrifying," "spine-chilling" and "nightmarish." But a lot has happened in the quarter-century since "Night Shift," and King seems to have lost his ability to add new life to old, familiar scary stories. If "Autopsy Room Four" is a tribute to Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and "The Man in the Black Suit" is an homage to Nathaniel Hawthorne, and "The Road Virus Heads North" and "Riding the Bullet" are each "no more than a camp counselor's ghost story told before lights-out," then where is Stephen King's unique voice in this book?
Ironically, in Everything's Eventual, King truly shines when he steps outside of the horror genre. "All That You Love Will Be Carried Away" is a quiet, wistful tale of a lonely, depressed traveling salesman and the bathroom graffiti he has collected from "thousands of truck stops and roadside chicken shacks and highway rest areas." And "That Feeling, You Can Only Say What It Is in French" is an unsettling story about the "human mind's final great parlor trick." To say more would ruin the effect, but readers who find the narrative repetitive and maybe even annoying are reacting exactly as the author intended.
King has always included a few thrillers in his collections, but he's not entirely successful here. "The Death of Jack Hamilton" is a tedious tale of Depression-era outlaws, and the story really doesn't come alive until its title character's last breaths: The climax features an almost surreal impromptu "circus" with John Dillinger walking on his hands while his sidekick ropes horseflies. "In the Deathroom" is a far more gripping piece about an American newspaper reporter being interrogated and tortured in a basement room of a Central American Ministry of Information. Oddly enough, the Chief Minister of Information ("fat and greasy as a cheap candle") sounds like the "heavily accented and rather greasy voice" in King's afterword to "Different Seasons."
Everything's Eventual contains plenty of other connections to King's past work. In the title story, a mysterious organization hires a young man with a deadly talent, and the recruiter could easily have ties to The Shop from "Firestarter." A hotel housekeeper's winning streak at roulette in "Luckey Quarter" is reminiscent of Johnny Smith's turn at the wheel of fortune in "The Dead Zone." "The Little Sisters of Eluria" is a prequel to "The Dark Tower" series, and the haunted hotel room in "1408" oozes as much evil as the Overlook in "The Shining."
King's latest anthology may not be as chock-full of "unrelenting horror and shocking revelations" as the back cover claims, but there's more than enough in the book to hold our attention, entertain us, and perhaps even frighten us once in awhile. A lot may have changed in the years between "Night Shift" and Everything's Eventual, but one thing has remained the same: Stephen King is still a masterful storyteller.
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