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If It Bleeds by Stephen King

If It Bleeds (edition 2020)

by Stephen King (Author)

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5942628,496 (3.88)14
From legendary storyteller and master of short fiction Stephen King comes an extraordinary collection of four new and compelling novellas, each pulling you into intriguing and frightening places.
Title:If It Bleeds
Authors:Stephen King (Author)
Info:Scribner (2020), 448 pages
Collections:Your library

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If it Bleeds by Stephen King



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Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
This is a collection of four short works, novellas in length I believe. If I have a knock on the book, it’s that there isn’t really a good connection across the stories and “If It Bleeds” reads more like a novel that just didn’t quite pass the length test to be standalone. In the end, I don’t care, because I enjoyed all four stories and several were pure ‘King.’ I’ve written a little about each of the four stories below.

“Mr. Harrigan’s Phone”
King might be at his best when he writes from a child’s perspective. Think of IT, “The Body”, or more recently “The Institute.’ Or consider some of his standout child characters such as Danny Torrance (“The Shining”) or Charlie McGee (“Firestarter”). And somehow, he nails adult relationships from a child’s viewpoint, which is sheer talent, in my book. Anyways, that’s the highlight for me in this excellent tale, the relationship between Craig, the young protagonist, and Mr. Harrigan. Of course, the ‘monkey paw’ horror component works too, but that’s just the icing on the cake.

“The Life of Chuck”
In my opinion, this is the weakest of the four stories in this collection. It’s a three-part tale told in reverse and a little gimmicky, not that I mind a bit of plot trickery in shorter works. You figure out the overall premise of the work, about halfway through the first tale (which is the ending), and it’s kind of fun to work backwards, but I enjoyed the first part the most.

“If It Bleeds”
“If it bleeds, it leads,” is an old newspaper/television reporter axiom. In this tale, we get the return of ‘Holly Gibney.’ She is quickly becoming one of King’s favorite and most defined characters. We met her in the Mr. Mercedes series, and she returned in “The Outsider.” She goes solo (mostly), in this story. It’s similar to the second half of “The Outsider”, but well written and carried me along with strong currents both due to Holly, but also a thrilling plot. At nearly 200 pages, I think King could have expanded this into a standalone novel. Maybe add a James Bond type opening (an unrelated mini-adventure), and another scene here or there and he'd be at 300 pages. Oh well, I enjoyed it, I just hate for Holly to have to share the limelight with three other novellas!

I love when Stephen King writes about writing. Why? Well first, he knows a little about it. He’s not afraid to express his fears about writing poorly or about ‘losing the words.’ To me, when his character is an author, it always feels personal and honest. For maximum impact, I recommend you read this story, while you are fifty percent complete of a full-length novel like I am. Much of the plot concerns our main character, ‘Drew,’ and his experiences attempting to finish a novel. King points out that with every scene written, the author loses a bit of choice until at some point you’re left in a ‘cow chute.’ Or, even worst, the words just might dry up. And when you’ve invested a good bit of your time and a little of your soul in fifty percent of a novel, it’s a little terrifying to think about a premature expiry. Anyway, I loved ‘Rat,’ but for me personally, it’s a true stomach-turning, horror story!

Overall, I give the whole collection four stars. “The Life of Chuck” drags it down a little, but in my opinion “If It Bleeds” had the potential to be a full length novel and didn’t deserve to share the pages with the other three. Still, three excellent stories and a fully entertaining reading experience. ( )
  Kevin_A_Kuhn | Sep 18, 2020 |
What can I say. Always love Stephen King's short stories and have for years. Sometime I find his novels burdensome to ready as some are almost overwhelming to read. His short stories really show off this abilities as a story teller, which, in my opinion are outstanding.

Found some very unique ideas in these stories. Whoever thought of the end of the world was like turning off the lights. Or the ordeals of that a writer would go through to get the perfect novel he had been trying do for years. Sometimes the deals you do aren't the one you expect. It also seems Stephen King has some fascination with the worlds addiction to cell phones and the things they can do. Or, the evil they can bring.

What really drew me to this book was the visit with my friends from Mr Mercedes, Holly Gibney and friends. Enjoyed her development as a person and character thought the Mr Mercedes series and her she is again finding and fighting evil that the rest of you are missing out in plain sight. Holly is developed so much as a living person over several books it almost feels like this is someone you know and you are proud of how she has grown as a person overcoming the personal obstacles with which she was confronted.

Of this is a book of 3 short stories and a novella. Stephen Kings stories. So there is not much more I can say about it. Well written great story structure and, most importantly, enjoyable. And fan of Stephen King (and Mr Mercedes series) this is a must read. Some of his best short stories in few years. ( )
  can44okie | Aug 28, 2020 |
Shortish stories, including a new Holly Gibney story in which she goes after a slightly different kind of inherent evil preying on the suffering of the human race (classic King), though the first story—in which a young man continues to call the cellphone of his deceased older friend, with disturbing results—is the best and creepiest. There’s also a tripartite story about the life of one individual as having an entire world in it, and a writer-makes-devil’s-bargain-to-finish-book story. ( )
  rivkat | Aug 22, 2020 |
It’s been a long time since I’ve read a Stephen King story collection, and I didn’t realize how much I actually needed it right now. His story collections are actually where I started my King journey, and there’s something so comforting about going back to that place. Yes, I know that sounds odd since his stories are always rather bleak, but it’s more going back to that place where I first discovered my love of the darkness, and the weird hope that I found there.

Anyway, pardon my prattling. I’m mostly here to tell you that this set of novellas really impressed me. While I didn’t love all of them equally, there are some gems in here! It didn’t surprise me at all that “If It Bleeds”, the title story, is utter perfection. I read the The Outsider last year without realizing that it was part of a series, and so it was kind of nice to catch up with Holly Gibney again. I missed her quirks, and her constant inner monologue. It’s not hard for me to tell you that this was my favorite story in this book.

However the other stories all have their own merits, and work well within the whole. “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone” caught me up, and threw me back into the times when cellphones were new and the world of technology hadn’t taken over yet. It was just creepy enough, and the perfect intro. “The Life of Chuck” was a little patchwork at first, but I enjoyed it because it was one of those King stories where his imagination shines and you’re only along for the ride. The story I liked the least, mainly because the main character was an insufferable ass, was “Rat”. If that’s what it is like to be married to writer, count me out. Hahaha. It was a very King novella though, and really brought to life the world of being a writer. I’ll give him that kudos.

I think this series of novellas is exactly what I needed to get my reading bug moving again, because I finished this morning and I already want to start another book. There’s something about King’s writing, something addictive, that makes me come back again and again. I’m not sorry I purchased a copy of this book. I’m only sorry it’s already over. Time to go find some more to devour. ( )
  roses7184 | Aug 13, 2020 |
Collection of four Stories. The main story If it bleeds a sequel to the outsider. The below are the ratings of individual stories

Harringan's phone - 4
Life of chuck - weakest in the collection. 3
If it bleeds - 5
Rat - 4 ( )
  madhukaraphatak | Aug 12, 2020 |
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Thinking of Russ Dorr
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My home town was just a village of six hundred or so (and still is, although I have move away), but we had the Internet just like the big cities, so my father and I got less and less personal mail.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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From legendary storyteller and master of short fiction Stephen King comes an extraordinary collection of four new and compelling novellas, each pulling you into intriguing and frightening places.

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If It Bleeds is a collection of 4 novellas
- Mr. Harrigan's Phone
- The Life of Chuck
- If It Bleeds
- Rat
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