cover image Drunken Fireworks

Drunken Fireworks

Stephen King, read by Tim Sample. S&S Audio, 2 CDs, 1.5 hrs., $14.99 ISBN 978-1-4423-8964-9

This short, humorous tale, about a Fourth of July fireworks competition that gets magnificently out of hand, will not appear in print until November, when it arrives as part of King's collection The Bazaar of Bad Dreams. Its narrator, Alden McCausland, is a nonstop boozer who has been sipping away the summers with his similarly inebriated mom in a meager three-room cottage on Lake Abenaki. On a fateful Fourth, the McCauslands set off a few sparklers and rockets, and the Massimo family, the high-living, high-style occupants of the mansion across the lake, top that with their display, thereby initiating an ever-escalating rocket war that cannot end well. The production has the sound of a one-man theatrical performance, and its entertainment value depends as much on the one man as it does on the material. King's story, though its inevitable conclusion siphons off any suspense, is amusing enough to keep one listening, especially with Sample narrating it in the same kind of appropriate "down east" accent he used for over a decade on the "Postcards from Maine" segments on CBS News Sunday Morning. This audiobook is pretty much in the same wheelhouse as "Postcards," only drunker. And, ultimately, more explosive. (June)