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88 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just read the whole book in 24 hours - excellent
I might be biased as I am a Stephen King fanatic but these are his best short stories yet. If you enjoy his work you will love these. If you are new to Stephen King and not sure if you will like his stuff then I would recommend this set of short stories as an introduction. As King is getting older (he turned 60 this year) these stories have a running theme throughout of...
Published on 16 Nov 2008 by L. Grace

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as I had hoped
A few years ago I had read Everything's Eventual : 14 Dark Tales, a collection of 14 short stories by Stephen King. For years I had been a big fan of Stephen King's novels, and I had always enjoyed short stories as a genre. Therefore I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Stephen King is not only able to write book-long narrative thrillers, but was equally if not...
Published on 12 Jun 2011 by Dr. Bojan Tunguz


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88 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just read the whole book in 24 hours - excellent, 16 Nov 2008
By 
L. Grace (Belfast, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Just After Sunset (Hardcover)
I might be biased as I am a Stephen King fanatic but these are his best short stories yet. If you enjoy his work you will love these. If you are new to Stephen King and not sure if you will like his stuff then I would recommend this set of short stories as an introduction. As King is getting older (he turned 60 this year) these stories have a running theme throughout of mortality and what kind of afterlife there could possibly be (In stories such as Willa, The New York Times at Special Bargain rates). He also has an uplifting story about September 11th - someone who survived who was meant to be in the twin towers and how he comes to terms with this. The Gingerbread Girl I think is the best story in the book - I couldn't put it down until I'd finished - a woman who has lost a child starts running and just runs away from all her problems only to find a bigger problem where her running comes in handy.
I don't want to give too much away but other themes are mid-life crisis (Stationary Bike), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (N), a cat from hell (!) nuclear bombs, and a story involving a porta - loo.

If you are a SK fan you probably already bought this, if not buy it if you like short stories, buy it if you like weird and wacky and stories, uplifting stories and stories that cause you to question the world.

I got this book yesterday and just finished it as I couldn't put it down
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as I had hoped, 12 Jun 2011
By 
Dr. Bojan Tunguz (Indiana, USA) - See all my reviews
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A few years ago I had read Everything's Eventual : 14 Dark Tales, a collection of 14 short stories by Stephen King. For years I had been a big fan of Stephen King's novels, and I had always enjoyed short stories as a genre. Therefore I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Stephen King is not only able to write book-long narrative thrillers, but was equally if not more at home with the constraints that short story imposes on the writer. I saw that King's writing style is in its own right a very compelling tool that he deftly uses to keep readers interested in the story, even there is nothing supernatural or out of this world in the narrative. This sentiment had led me to look forward to The Best American Short Stories 2007 collection for which Stephen King was a guest editor. However, this collection of short stories proved to be a complete disaster - the stories were some of the most boring and unimaginative that I have ever read in the Best American series of books. It had shaken my impression of King as someone who can truly appreciate a well-crafted short story, but I still believed that it bore no relation to his own writing ability. So when I came across this new collection of his own short stories, I was very eager to give it a try. The first red flag came in the introduction. It turns out that King was inspired to write this collection by his experience as the editor of "Best American Short Stories" collection. As I read through the stories my misgivings got confirmed. The stories, by and large, turned out to be the worst of the two worlds: they had all of the discursive, aimless rambling of some of King's longer works, and none of the shocking potency of immediacy of a short story. The characters find themselves in a variety of supernatural and otherwise strange situations, but for the most part we are not sympathetic enough to their plight to care what happens to them in the end. There were a couple of stories that I genuinely enjoyed, but overall this has been a rather disappointing reading experience. I still believe that Stephen King is a great writer of suspenseful stories that reflect on some of our deepest fears and anxieties, but this collection of short stories doesn't do justice to his talent.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars SK has done better in past, 7 Jan 2010
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This review is from: Just After Sunset (Paperback)
This is not as good a collection as Nightmares and Dreamscapes, Skeleton Crew etc. Stephen King seems to borrow more and more from his past unpublished works. It is eminently readable but does not linger on the consciousness as his better works do.
Being a huge fan, I set the standards pretty high for him and so will mark it as a mediocre compared to his other masterpieces.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars King at his best, 25 Feb 2013
This review is from: Just After Sunset (Kindle Edition)
As a "constant reader" of Stephen King books I was brought this book as a present when it first came out. I have to say that although I love SK books, sometimes I do very occasionally struggle to get into them, Under the Dome being a good example! I left Just after Sunset unread in the bookcase for a long time before finally settling down with it yesterday morning.

However, this one hooked me from the first story onwards and I sat on the sofa most of yesterday unwilling to put it down. I'm nearing the end of the last story now and will finish it off tonight. King at his best. An excellent read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars OK through the night, 13 Mar 2011
By 
Clipper 314 (Nottingham, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Just After Sunset (Paperback)
Good set of short stories with some interesting ideas turned into tales for our delight!.. as a bonus he has included the inspiration for the stories.. either through events or his own views/thoughts on life. Good read and nothing that scares the pants off you so you're OK to pick it up at at 2 a.m.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Gingerbread Girl, 17 Mar 2013
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The Gingerbread Girl reads just like a movie in your head. It was so vivid in my mind it made me feel uneasy. That's why I love Stephen King. He scares me, smashes my heart in a thousand pieces, blows my mind, tortures my soul and makes me beg for more. Just After Sunset is another great collection of stories.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shady stops on a highway, 13 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Just After Sunset (Paperback)
Great stories. Nervous and grim, but compasionate. Very well done. Steven King knows all of us, for good or bad. I really like the story about the couple who realise they are dead and move on.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A couple of real stand-outs in an otherwise average collection, 1 Feb 2011
By 
Lauren Thomas - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Just After Sunset (Paperback)
I am a really big Stephen King fan, and will generally read any of his work that I can get my hands on. While I didn't dislike this collection of short stories, I personally found that there were one or two stand-outs (The Gingerbread Girl, The Things They Left Behind and N. were the ones I thought about most after reading them) amongst an otherwise unremarkable selection. Don't get me wrong - they're enjoyable enough with some real classic King moments to them. I personally just didn't get the urge to continue reading like I usually do with King's books, and at some points I even found it hard work to turn the pages (Stationary Bike comes to mind)!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eight Excellent Tales (Out Of A Butcher's Dozen), 28 Nov 2010
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This review is from: Just After Sunset (Paperback)
As I've written elsewhere, the short story (or novella) is the perfect form for King, just enough room for readers to settle down and warm their hands on a good campfire tale.

After Sunset opens rather disappointingly with Willa. From the beginning, this story unfolds in an etherial and rather romantic manner which reminded me of the weaker offerings from The Twilight Zone. The atmosphere is too dreamlike and predictable to accumulate any real vitality, never mind tension or spookiness. I presume the effect was deliberate, and some people like this kind of thing, but it still didn't work for me. However, the collection contains eight other stories which are excellent, a few of which I would place amongst his very best. Graduation Afternoon is one of these, a startlingly convincing horror story, but without so much as a whisper of the supernatural or a single spatter of blood (plenty of sound and fury though). Others stories I liked were:
Harvey's Dream
Rest Stop
The New York Times At Special Bargain Rates
A Very Tight Space
Mute
I believe that each of the above is resonant for different reasons. Interestingly, two of the most powerful, Harvey's Dream and the one I mentioned, Graduation Afternoon, are also the most simple. There are images in these stories that will definitely stay with me. The revenge tale, A Very Tight Space is great black comedy, one of the best non-supernatural stories he's written, and with a pleasantly wicked ending. I also liked The Gingerbread Girl and The Things They Left Behind. Gingerbread was riveting, right up to the part when the killer returned. Then, for me, it lost steam, and the showdown seemed far too artful and protracted (and the unlucky guy who came to the rescue of the heroin is weirdly superfluous, like an actor who steps onto the wrong stage and is forgotten as soon as he makes his exit).

There are good things in the other stories too, but some of the ideas are far too familiar, and had had better outings in previous novels or stories. I had assumed there was a Lovecraftian dimension in N. though apparently it is based on an Arthur Machen story, The Great God Pan. I enjoyed it (and the novel way it made use of OCD) but it just rattled on a bit too long for my liking. Also it is VERY hard to make ghoulies from another, evil dimension really convincing, though Machen and his contemporary, Lovecraft, did sometimes manage this.

I enjoyed Stationary Bike till I realised where it was going. King has used that 'possessed artist' thing at least once before (the awful Duma Key). I thought the story better than that padded, overblown novel, but it still didn't quite get there. I would have liked less of the labored allegory (complete with metaphorical not-so-bad guys) and more strangeness; and the best kind of strangeness is both unexplained and very ordinary, obdurate really: not the fairytale wolves in Willa, but the beercan that appeared (in Stationary Bike) on a road that wasn't there, a road that was really just a mural in a guy's house. King is a great man for the telling detail, the loose thread that, if pulled, can unravel the partition dividing the everyday world from a waking nightmare. But sometimes it's far better not to yank that thread too hard; just a glimpse may be all we need.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dim lights, 5 Aug 2010
By 
Sam Quixote - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Just After Sunset (Hardcover)
I'm a big fan of King and short stories so I really wanted to like this. Unfortunately there were only a handful, about 4, I liked out of the 13 available. There was just too much cheese to really recommend this as a great short story collection. One story was about two ghosts who don't realise they're ghosts until the end, another was a bad pastiche of an Arthur Machen story, and another was about a possessed cat.

There were some good ones here though. "Mute" features a recently cuckholded travelling salesman who picks up a deaf mute hitchhiker one night. Realising the hitchhiker won't hear him, he tells him his tale of woe about his wife and an embezzlement scheme gone wrong. Then something terrible happens weeks later and he realises the hitchhiker might have been mute but wasn't deaf...

"Stationary Bike" is bizarre King, where an artist trying to lose weight via an exercise bike somehow taps into an alternate universe where his body cells are somehow maintained by a group of roadside workers who need the man to remain unhealthy in order to survive.

"Rest Stop" is about a crime writer who publishes under a pseudonym, stopping one night at a rest stop, overhears a couple arguing, hears the man begin beating the wife, and steps in, not realising the part his pseudonym's identity will take...

"A Very Tight Place" is about two bad neighbours, one of whom decides to trap the other inside a port-a-loo and leave him there to die. Will he escape and exact revenge?...

Some great stories then but too many average-to-lousy ones stop me from recommending this to non-King fans as a great story collection. If you're a King fan though you'll probably enjoy it. If you're a short story fan I recommend TC Boyle's recently published "Wild Child" and Helen Simpson's "In-Flight Entertainment" for top class writing and short stories.
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Just After Sunset by Stephen King
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