cover image You Like It Darker: Stories

You Like It Darker: Stories

Stephen King. Scribner, $30 (512p) ISBN 978-1-6680-3771-3

King proves he’s still a master of short fiction in his sterling seventh collection (after The Bazaar of Bad Dreams). Standouts from the five previously unpublished entries include “Danny Coughlin’s Bad Dream,” in which the title character has a psychic vision and then accidentally incriminates himself in a murder he didn’t commit, and the eerie yet touching “Two Talented Bastids,” in which a young man discovers the dirty secret that helped his famous father and successful best friend develop their artistic prowess. Among the notable entries previously published elsewhere are “The Fifth Step,” about a recovering alcoholic making amends for his more sinister impulses, and “On Slide Inn Road,” which traces a family’s wrong turn en route to a family reunion in Maine. Themes of fate, morality, and heartache crop up again and again in these tightly coiled tales, and King expertly utilizes them to make every twist of the knife all the more terrifying. This remarkably assured collection will thrill the author’s fans. Agent: Liza Darhansoff, Darhansoff & Verrill. (May)