“No one will believe it really happened”
Stephen King doesn’t hide the identity of the murderers at the center of Holly Gibney’s latest case in the novel that bears her name. In 2012, Emily and Rodney Harris, professors emeritus at Bell College, tricked a colleague named Jorge Castro into helping them resolve a roadside issue. They drugged him and took him to a dungeon in the basement of their presentable home in a respectable part of town.
Why did the elderly Harrises kidnap him, why do they force him to eat something unpalatable, and what are their plans? Since Castro knows the identity of his abductors, it doesn’t seem likely he’ll be released. The popular consensus is that he packed up and left town abruptly, although his lover doesn’t agree.
It’s hot. Oh, so hot. Ever so effing hot. As many of you probably know, I live in Texas. Some years we get by without a single day with a temperature above 100°. This year, we’ve been “blessed” with almost nothing but triple-digit days, with “feels like temps” over 110°. It’s relentless.
So, while the world is melting down, what else should a person do but stay inside, with the A/C turned up high, reading and writing and watching television?
Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a safe and pleasant holiday season. I know a lot of people had travel issues, so I hope none of you are still stuck in an airport somewhere (if you are, Mr. King and I have an anthology to help you pass the time) or trying to track down your luggage.
Will 2023 be a good year? Hard to say, but I know one thing for sure: we have a new King book to look forward to in September and a movie adaptation that has the studio’s confidence.
Time for another Stephen King news update, don’t you think? Recently we saw the publication of King’s latest novel, Fairy Tale, and I have news about the next adaptation, which launches this week. In addition to those items, I’m going to talk about two associational projects, one of which involves yours truly and the other that involves someone from New Brunswick in Canada—and it’s not me!
Bev Vincent is living the life that most Constant Readers can only dream of.
Bev has written volumes documenting Stephen King’s work, from career-spanning books like The Illustrated Stephen King Companion to more focused works like The Dark Tower Companion. He co-edited an anthology with King called Flight or Fright. He gets early copies of King’s books, which he reviews for us here at Cemetery Dance as part of his “News from the Dead Zone” column. And soon he’ll have a new book out: The Stephen King Ultimate Companion: A Complete Exploration of His Work, Life, and Influences.
Recently, I fired off a few questions about this new project, which Bev graciously took the time to answer.Continue Reading
“There are other worlds than these”
Traditionally, in stories modeled after the Hero’s Journey, the main character receives a call to action, which he or she initially resists. Take, for example, Bilbo Baggins, who is cajoled out of his comfortable, quiet life to go on an adventure by Gandalf. In Stephen King’s fantasy stories, the characters are self-motivated. No one has to urge Jack Sawyer to light out for the Territories—he has a good reason to embark on a perilous journey. Similarly, Roland Deschain chooses his mission to find and save the Dark Tower, even though it will take him on a wild journey for the rest of his natural days. No one conscripts him. (Although, to be fair, sometimes his characters are yanked into a quest without being given any choice in the matter.)
In Fairy Tale, Charlie McGee Reade also decides for himself to go on a magical adventure although, when he sets out, he has no idea what dangers he will face and what will be asked of him while he attempts to achieve his goal.
“The Tower Is Strong”
There’s a lot going on in Ben Baldwin’s artwork on the cover of the Cemetery Dance edition of Gwendy’s Final Task, coauthored by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar. The dominant figure is the enigmatic Richard Farris, who has burdened Gwendy Peterson with custody of a mysterious and dangerous box of buttons on two previous occasions. In the foreground we see an illustration of a town or a city and what looks to be a rocket or a shooting star.
But what’s that behind Mr. Farris? Could it be…could it possibly be…the Dark Tower? This image generated a lot of discussion and debate when it was first revealed. The Gallery Books cover for the final book in the Gwendy trilogy puts the question to rest—the central image is the Tower and, in the foreground, a field of red roses.
Happy New Year to all my readers. It’s been a while since my last news update, primarily because there hasn’t been a lot going on in the Stephen King Universe. However, I now have some cool things to talk about, so pull up a chair.
Preview: Chapelwaite on Epix
“Blood Calls Blood”
I must confess that when I first heard that Epix was turning Stephen King’s early short story “Jerusalem’s Lot” into a ten-episode TV series, I wasn’t terribly excited. I don’t subscribe to that service, so I planned to give the show a miss. I thought it would turn out to be like the TV series The Mist, which bears little resemblance to the source material beyond the general concept. I’m here to tell you I was wrong, and this show is worth checking out. There is horror a-plenty here if you have plenty of patience for the show’s somewhat measured pace.
“A Garbage Man with a Gun”
The first time Billy Summers killed a man, he was barely twelve. By the time he’s eighteen, he’s a sniper with the Marines in Iraq, where he notches up another two dozen kills. Instead of re-upping, he tries to find work back in the States. One of his former Marine friends asks him to kill someone. Thus begins Billy’s career as an elite hitman. His only condition is that his victims have to be demonstrably bad men. He’s not a sociopath driven to kill — he’s just good with a gun. He can hit targets from an incredible distance and then vanish like Houdini without being identified or caught. Now, at the ripe old age of 44, he’s looking to retire. One last job and he’s done.Continue Reading
Preview: Lisey’s Story on Apple TV+
“Grief is a Bool hunt”
Lisey’s Story, the Apple TV+ adaptation of Stephen King’s 2006 novel of the same name, begins its eight-episode run on Friday, June 4. The miniseries features a stellar cast, including Julianne Moore as Lisey Landon, Clive Owen as her husband Scott and Joan Allen and Jennifer Jason Leigh as her sisters Amanda and Darla. Rounding out the cast are Ron Cephas Jones as Professor Dashmiel and Dane DeHaan as Jim Dooley. All eight episodes were scripted by King and directed by Pablo Larraín, who previously helmed the bio-pic Jackie.
King frequently cites Lisey’s Story as his favorite of his novels. His general policy towards adaptations of his books and stories is that he is either “all in” or “all out.” In the latter case, he has cast and script approval but he generally leaves the directors and other producers alone. However, he was heavily involved with every facet of the Lisey’s Story adaptation. In the video included below he says, “I thought if someone was going to screw it up, I used to tell my wife that no one was going to screw it up more than me.”
King of Crime: Part III — Featured Review of LATER and what comes…later
Today is publication day for Hard Case Crime’s third Stephen King novel, Later. Although King is generally thought of as a horror writer, he has written numerous crime short stories, novellas and novels, giving them a unique twist. In Part I of this three-part series, I looked at King’s earliest involvement with crime fiction. In Part II, I explored his more recent writings in the genre, including his previous two books with Hard Case Crime and the Mercedes series. Today, I review Later and look ahead to King’s next crime novel, Billy Summers.
King of Crime: Part II — Hard Case Crime and Beyond
Next week — on March 2nd, 2021 to be specific — Hard Case Crime will publish their third Stephen King novel, Later. Although King is generally thought of as a horror writer, he has written numerous crime short stories, novellas and novels, giving them a unique twist. In Part 1 of this three-part series, I looked at King’s earliest involvement with crime fiction. This week, I’ll explore his more recent writings in the genre, including his previous two books with Hard Case Crime and the Mercedes series. Then, on publication day, I’ll review Later and look ahead to King’s next crime novel, Billy Summers.
King of Crime: Part I — The Earlier Years
In a couple of weeks—on March 2nd, 2021, to be specific—Hard Case Crime will publish their third Stephen King novel, Later. Although King is generally thought of as a horror writer, he has written numerous crime short stories, novellas and novels, giving them a unique twist. In Part 1 of a three-part series, I look at King’s earliest involvement with crime fiction. Next week, I’ll explore his more recent writings in the genre, including his previous two books with Hard Case Crime and the Mercedes series. Then, on publication day, I’ll review Later and look ahead to King’s next crime novel, Billy Summers.Continue Reading
Hard Case Crime (The Colorado Kid, Joyland) will publish Stephen King’s next supernatural crime novel in March 2021. Later will be a paperback original (cover by Paul Mann) and eBook, but there will also be a limited edition hardcover featuring two covers by Gregory Manchess, one for Later itself and one for a fictitious novel within the novel that features prominently in the plot.
In this installment of News from the Dead Zone, I’ll tell you a little more about Later, bring you up to date on recent King appearances, let you know what adaptations you can expect to see soon, which ones are in production, which ones are on the table and which ones have died on the vine. I’ll also give you an early look at Hope and Miracles from Gauntlet Press, which collects the screenplays of The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, along with tons of ancillary material. Pull up a chair!