You Like It Darker: Stories

Scribner. May 2024. 512p. ISBN 9781668037713. $30. F
In King’s (The Bazaar of Bad Dreams) new collection of short stories, a rogue scientist tries to peer past the boundaries of the world by hypnotizing “The Dreamers”; “Danny Coughlin’s Bad Dream” becomes a nightmare when a police officer mistakes Danny for the murderer of a young woman; and the son of a famous author discovers how his father’s writing talent blossomed in midlife in “Two Talented Bastids.” There’s also a young lawyer in the 1930s who is trying to determine whether he should work at his family’s white-shoe law firm or open his own small practice; he’s lucky enough to fall into a fold of space and time to find “The Answer Man.” In fact, the lawyer will come to find the Answer Man three times in his life; will he like the answers he hears? Meanwhile, in “Rattlesnake,” the Constant Readers bump into a character from Cujo long after the events of that book, who is trying to outrun his own ghosts and the ghosts of others.
VERDICT King explains in an afterword to the collection that short stories are hard for him to write, but readers will be thrilled by these tales. Some of the stories are darker and more poisonous than others, but they all have that King touch.
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