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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 29 December 2002
I am writing this review only 5 hours after finishing "from a Buick 8" and i have to say that it is one of the best Stephen King books i've ever read! (and i've read nearly all of them). the story is wonderful in its simplicity and narrative and, while not quite up there with "Dreamcatcher", is definetly worthy of praise and a place among this years literary highlights.
most people seem to have dismissed this novel out of hand, claiming that "its boring" and "nothing much happens". to me, this is what it's all about. it shows that things can, and often do, happen for no reason, and that not everything needs a purpose, an ending or even a beginning, sometimes, things just happen. it also shows how, even in the most dire situations, you still just need to get on with your normal life and not let this control you, or you'll pay the price of obsession. troop D is what the carachters in this novel hold onto, keeping themselves sane, allowing them to lead their private lives, despite the fact the Buick keeps trying to intrude.
another common complaint about this book is that it's just another "Dark Tower" spin off, leaving it meaning less to the casual reader. however, this is blatantly not true. i personally detest the dark tower series, but i still managed to enjoy, or, even, love this book. it isn't even directly connected to the dark tower series (as Insomnia an Black house were). it seems that, nowadays, if King so much as hints at an alternate reality to ours everyone immediatly cries "another Dark Tower spin-off!" which is a shame, as this is a wonderful novel, with not one hidden reference to the dark tower books.
personally, i urge anyone reading this to rush out and buy "Buick 8" as i thoroughly enjoyed it, it's just BRILLIANT.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 October 2002
Following on from his X-Files stylee "Dreamcatcher" I first had the idea that this years offering from 'the King' looked very much like 'Christine' and was worried that he's running out of ideas. However, after getting into the book, which for most of his books is not very hard I was hooked, not for the scares or the twists but for the simplicity of the story based around a troop of every day policeman. The things that were "born of the Buick 8" were a bit simple and not exactly what I expected from the man that thought up IT !
Overall, a good engrossing read but as other's have already recommended, if you're new to King then start off with his earlier work. This book, I think is for his and I quote "constant reader"....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The "Buick 8" is a car kept in storage shed B behind the headquarters of Pennsylvania State Police Troop D headquarters. For all this neat-seeming classification, little is known about this vehicle. It was abandoned by an odd, nameless stranger. It occasionally gives off strange lights and noises. And if you damage it--with some difficulty--it seems able to fix itself. Troop D keeps it secret. And occasionally faces the consequences of its presence.

Stephen King weaves three stories around this car. The first is its history, related in hushed tones by members of Troop D and their close associates. They tell of the tragedies, disappearances, and strange events they have witnessed. And speculate without confidence about what they mean.

The second story is of a son learning about his father by talking with his father's friends. Ned Wilcox's father Curtis was a member of Troop D. He was killed by a drunk driver in one of those senseless events that seem so common in life, but so hard to understand. As Ned first visits, then joins Troop D, he learns who his father was. And develops his own version of his father's obsession with the Buick 8. The third thread is in the background. It unfolds the relationships between the members of Troop D, their loyalty to each other and their acceptance of things they cannot change and only partially understand.

This is a good book, subdued and with few action sequences amid all the reminiscing. It has some connections to Kings larger body of fiction, but not so many that readers unfamiliar with the Tower and its implications are at a loss. It is a thoughtful read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
'From A Buick 8' probably isn't the best place to start with Stephen King: when reading a book in an unfavoured genre, usually only the best will do, and 'Buick 8' isn't the best.

Pennsylvania's state troopers find themselves in possession of a mysterious object that looks like an old Buick but in fact is a portal to another world. Over 20 years a few things go one way and a few the other. That's it, pretty much. No explanation, very little conflict and no resolution.

It's a tribute to King's writing skills that he can be engaging for several hundred pages of mostly flashback in which nothing much happens. His characters are sympathetic, well-drawn and distinct, but they're all too sympathetic. They're all 'good cops' with the usual array of problems, except for the carboard cut-out bad boy who appears and then quickly disappears half-way through. Where's the conflict?

The structure is a procession of chapters where a different cop takes up the story of how an object that looks like an old car but is in fact a portal into another world found its way into Shed B. The listener is Ned, son of Curt, who has recently died in the line of duty. The way King often switches narrators and chapters in mid-sentence is a nice touch, but it gets tedious to listen to the old cop again talk about how good a cop Curt was and how much is son reminds him of his departed colleague.

Ultimately, this is a pleasant enough way to fill some idle hours, but we learn nothing about the car or the paranormal, and even less about the human condition. All pretty sterile really.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 13 September 2002
A Buick look-a-like is abandoned in a service station and is towed to Pennsylvania State Police garage (or shed). Every now and then temperature inside garage drops and then there is lightning and something more or less living comes from the trunk. Some people disappear. A dog dies.
Stephen King's text is usually enjoyable to read and it is this time too. Problem is that the story is rather boring. Not much happens here. I have had more exciting adventures with my '88 Escort than these Pennsylvania troopers have in this book with alien Buick.
I liked Everything's Eventual but didn't enjoy Dreamcatcher very much. Somehow I feel that SK has lost some of his touch. Maybe he has written everything he was meant to write. I hope not but his latest novels just don't impress me as much as his earlier ones did. If you are a SK fan you will certainly read this but if you are thinking of starting to read SK`s books try his earlier books from late 1970s and early 1980s.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 May 2009
I loved this book!! I honestly can't believe this novel isn't more well-known.

However I think I understand what has prompted alot of the negative criticism about From a Buick 8. If you enjoy a 'racy' plot, don't look here - nor if you are looking for a book in the pure horror tradition of Christine and Misery, nor if you are expecting an epic tale on par with The Stand. It's clear the book is not so 'mainstream' as many of King's other novels or short stories, but really, is mainstream everything?

As a big fan of all non-mimetic fiction (fiction not mimicking 'reality'), this is to me a brilliant achievement in science fiction reminiscent of H.P. Lovecraft's so-called 'Weird' fiction from the twenties and thirties; full of dread-suspense, mystery and strangeness. The characterisation is classic King; part of what really makes the book is the credibility of the characters. Their approach to the supernatural is typical of 'ordinary' people - exactly what you would expect of yourself or your neighbours. If you have a vivid imagination the description is fabulously detailed and original - and there are some pretty amazing, indescribable things to be described!

So to recap: If you like suspense, good characterisation, strangeness, mystery and have the kind of imagination that finds vivid description delicious, then this novel is for you!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 12 December 2003
Well this is the first time I have been on amazon.co.uk, I am a American and I always use amazon.com. Anyway, this book is rather good, I am not going to lie there, but it would be been better if this was a short story, Mr. King spends a lot of time dragging on and on about the history of the car, now dont get me wrong I love history and he knows how to write, but I just wish that he could explain more about the mysterious world inside the car, but he does not, so this kind of drew me off from the story.
The book is a rather good one, but it would of been better if this was a short story instead of a novel, good though.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 10 November 2002
Just like Dreamcatcher, for the first 100 pages you're hooked and hopeful that Mr King is back on top form. And then you keep going - and nothing much happens.
It's basically a good idea for a short story, padded way beyond its natural length.
A real shame.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 October 2013
Stephen King is one of those writers who, when I pick up his books to read the description I never quite fancy the contents. It always sounds silly, like he's run out of ideas. That's just 'Christine' again, I said to myself. If I pick it up, however, he always confounds this prejudice.

Here, King has taken a silly premise and turned it into an extremely engaging and enjoyable yarn. To be fair, the sci-fi sections don't hold up so well as the day-in-the-life-of-a-cop sections. *SPOILER* The part where Eddie was taking the violent neo-nazi into custardy was my favourite part of the book, whilst some of the Buick sections strayed a little on the silly side *SPOILER END*.

Over all though, the characters are great, the story is great, and I'm glad that King resisted the urge to tie it all up into a neat little bundle. There are no real resolutions or explanations here, and there doesn't need to be - this is a parable for tinkering with The Unknown.

Sometimes there is no need to understand or resolve things.

Dan Crawford
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 April 2003
This is the second book of Kings I have ever read. The first having been the Shining. I'd looked at it on the shelf a couple of times in the shops with a mild curiosity, something about the title didn't seem right. This was just before christmas.
As it happened, i found this in my stocking christmas day. I didn't start reading it straight away, but once I did i couldn't put it down. The title is just the start of things not seeming right, the further you get into this novel the questions you ask and the less you ever think they will answer.
Killing the cat with curiosity and then showing the links that led it that way pretty much sum this up. It is refletive of life, told by a writer who is capable of creating more than one engaging voice. I think I can safely say now that I will be looking for a few more King titles to put on my shelf.
So if you haven't read King, never been sure of all that horror, give this a try. Not scary, but expertly crafted to make you think while you enjoy
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