Sunday, September 25, 2011

Mile 81 - Stephen King

I finished reading 'Mile 81' by Stephen King just a few minutes ago. A review is simply an opinion, and I offer mine here of this new novella.  I grew up on King's work. No one can bring fright into the ordinary like King can, and he certainly does that in 'Mile 81', but the tale ended on a disappointing note for me; an anti-climatic clunker that actually made me sit back for a few seconds, thinking 'Is this it? It's done?'  It's still a worthwhile read for the build-up of suspense and dread throughout the tale. I felt that the character, Pete Simmon's role, was left wanting. See my review below.

     King's 'Mile 81' bears strong similarities to short stories of his earlier days, primarily those from the 'Night Shift' and 'Skeleton Crew' era. It focuses on King's obsession with evil cars that do bad things to people. The story began well and suspense built throughout as we're introduced to a variety of characters, the main players being three young children: there's Pete Simmons whose role in the story was surprisingly minor, given the goal he sets out to achieve - to take on a daring adventure in order to be considered old enough or man enough to be accepted into his older brother's group of friends. Then there's six year old Rachel Lussier and her younger brother Blake who end up playing more of a role in the story than the initial main character, Pete. The fictional mud-spattered car is definately creepy as it wrecks havoc to a handful of people who happen to stop on this abandoned stretch of turnpike. The ending of the story came about abruptly and left me both surprised and disappointed. I was expecting more, something of a more profound and satisfying resolution to what had otherwise been a story that built in a delicious tension. Without providing any spoilers, I can say that I understand why the character Pete Simmons needed to do what he did at the end in order to tie the first part of the story in with Pete's original reason for heading to the abandoned Mile 81 stop in the first place...but this could have been achieved in a much more credible and suspense-filled manner. The story simply petered out (no pun intended.) Otherwise, for an approximately two-hour or so read, it was fun enough but for the almost deus-ex-machina resolution that left the tale wanting.

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