A Kingathon - My Journey Reading Stephen King, Part 2 — Down The Cellar — Down The Cellar (2024)

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Written By Chris Holt

A Kingathon - My Journey Reading Stephen King, Part 2 — Down The Cellar — Down The Cellar (1)

Continuing on with my Stephen King marathon, I’ve now read a further four books. I decided that after The Shining I was going to take a break from Stephen King, and that maybe I should check out some other authors or try a new genre…

That’s when I realised that Stephen King has written so much, that he covers pretty much every other genre out there anyway - not just horror, although it’s certainly his cornerstone.

So, not being able to help myself, I decided to take another plunge into the world of King, and smashed another bunch of books. I’ve got to admit, I think he’s undeniably addictive. Maybe I’m his ‘Number One’ fan?

The Dead Zone

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Another recommendation that was forwarded from fellow Down The Cellar writer, Ashley Walker, who promoted this one as one of his favourite Stephen King novels. It’s a blend of being a political thriller, mixed with a large dose of the supernatural.

I was intrigued by the premise and thought I’d give it a go. I must admit, I was a little hesitant due to the themes of the book, but boy was I delighted with it.

It follows Johnny Smith, a young teacher, who’s involved in a car accident and then plunged into a coma for six years. When he wakes up, he has psychic powers and can read the future of anyone he touches. Classic King.

When you read it like that, it just sounds absurd. But of course, it really isn’t.

This is the first time we visit Castle Rock in the King universe. A fictional town in Maine, which a lot of other stories of his are linked to.

With a fantastic protagonist to match, King then writes one of the most authentic villains he’s ever written - Greg Stillson. A well-crafted and believably awful human being.

My rating: 10/10

Misery

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Now this is one of those books that will always be compared to the movie because both are fantastic. I was about to take a flight to Greece and thought I would grab another King novel to read on the trip.

It was certainly a lot shorter than some of his other ones but one I was excited to dive into.

Having watched the movie a long time ago, I remembered the story and got excited to see what I missed in the film adaptation. Well, for one thing, I found it a lot more gruesome than the movie!

We follow veteran author Paul Sheldon, who wakes up in a log cabin in the middle of a snowy forest after he’s been in a terrible car accident. His legs are broken and he’s being ‘nursed’ back to health by Annie Wilkes, his “number one fan”, who we quickly find out is a total psycho.

Paul has to use wit, determination, and perseverance to find an exit from his never-ending nightmare and escape this axe-wielding maniac.

It’s a tense read, but exhilarating and page-turning. With a strong sense of dread throughout, you’re never really sure if Paul’s going to survive the ordeal.

My rating: 9/10

Cujo

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Interestingly, I heard that Stephen King has zero recollection of actually writing this story because he says that he was so high on cocaine back in 1980 that his memory is completely wiped from ever conjuring up such a story.

Now if that’s actually true, it just shows what a gift King has. If he can still write a fully-fledged novel, that critics and audiences still love to this day, whilst he was half-cut, and blown out of the sky by yeyo, then crikey, what can’t this man write?!

This story takes place in Castle Rock, Maine and follows Dee Wallace and her son Tad Wallace, who get stuck in their car, whilst a rabid and dangerous Saint Bernard dog stalks them from the outside.

Now, to me, this concept was very alluring. It’s a nightmare confined to a minimal location. But to get to this part of the story you do have to read about half the book! Which gives ‘slow burn’ a whole new meaning.

By the time I actually got tot the exciting part, I felt a bit brain dead with back stories and side plots that I almost didn’t really care about what happened next.

Still, a good book with a few vicious and gratuitous death scenes throughout. An ending that pays off, but in my eyes, the characters are quite forgettable.

My rating: 6/10

Night Shift Collection

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This is the first of his short story collections and it was released in 1978. Night Shift contains all the stories he wrote for magazines and gossip publications, such as Penthouse, Cavalier and Cosmopolitan, back in the 1970’s.

He did add a few extras into the book that had previously been unpublished, such as “Jerusalem's Lot", "Quitters, Inc.", "The Last Rung on the Ladder", and "The Woman in the Room".

After reading this book, I can now say I’m definitely a fan of his short story collections too. It’s great to be able to read a whole story in a single sitting whilst still being bewildered and excited by the characters and narratives.

For our lovely readers at Down The Cellar, I’ve decided to name a few that really jumped out to me as awesome! They were “The Boogeyman”, “Sometimes They Come Back”, “Strawberry Spring” and “The Mangler”.

My rating: 8/10

Chris Holt

Werewolf lover. Zombie hugger. Football avoider.

A Kingathon - My Journey Reading Stephen King, Part 2 — Down The Cellar — Down The Cellar (2024)

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