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4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 16 November 2008
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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on 10 December 2014
Like most of King's recent work this collection is a bit hit and miss. Only one, maybe two of these tales would have made the cut for `Night Shift' or `Skeleton Crew'
1. Willa - Atmospheric tale of a group of people waiting at a railway station, and what happens when one man leaves the group to track down his girlfriend who has wandered off. Once the big secret is revealed however, the story runs out of steam. I bought the collection on the strength of this story to find out what happens, but actually nothing much interesting happens after the end of the Kindle sample. A story with nowhere to go that goes nowhere. Score 3.5
2. The Gingerbread Girl - what on earth happened here? Starts out well as tale of a woman who copes with her grief by running, then loses it completely by a total out of the blue plot development. Feels as if King handed this story to a teenage fan of slasher movies to finish. And the chair scene was done better in Koontz's `Intensity'. Compelling but weird! Score 3.5
3. Harvey's Dream - Overwritten and pointless. 1.5
4. Rest Stop - This has some potential but really doesn't deliver an ending worthy of Steve King. 3
5. Stationary Bike - Interesting but truly weird and not in a good way. I can accept ghosts/zombies/vampires etc but a man menaced by a figment of his own imagination? Self indulgent and ultimately fizzles out to a disappointing ending. Stationary Bike would actually be quite a good title for the book as it sums up most of the stories - all that furious peddling and going absolutely nowhere. 3.5
6. The things they left behind. Not sure about this story which is narrated by a survivor of 9/11. With so many real life survivors this really isn't King's story to tell and ultimately it's a weak story which goes nowhere. 2
7. Graduation afternoon. Seriously? If this were the opening chapter of a new King novel it would be awesome, as a short story it's kind of weird. A half-baked idea which should never have made the final cut. 1.5
8. N. The only story I really rated in the collection. King claims it was influenced by Machen's `The Great God Pan' but I can see Lovecraftian influences as well. Seriously good. 5
9. The Cat from Hell. I rather liked this one as well but the ending wasn't a surprise as surely this one done as a film script in the 90s? Can't remember the name ... 4
10. The New York Times etc. Ok quite an interesting idea but kind of fizzles out in the end. Feels more like a fragment that a completed story - 3
11. A very tight place. King's scatological obsession comes to the fore with this one - it's quite revolting (most of it takes place in an portaloo). Couldn't finish it as it was making me feel sick. - 2
12. Mute - Feels more like a `strange but true' story you might read on facebook. Just ok for me. 3
13. Ayana - if this was a true story of healing it would be interesting as fiction it doesn't really cut it. 3
Overall score - 3.
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on 7 January 2010
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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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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on 27 August 2015
This is seriously disappointing. I am of course a King fan and have read most of his stuff. I usually really like his short stories (a relief from his usual endless but gripping 800 page marathons) but this is a major let down. Some stories are a downright disgrace, like the Cat, the 9/11 stuff, and most others are barely passable. The only one I liked was the Gingerbread girl, a bit poor for such a collection. I don t recommend this book.
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Stephen King's output has been a little patchy for the past few years. This has meant that whenever a new book of his comes out my first thoughts are 'is this going to be good Stephen King, okay Stephen King or just plain poor Stephen King?'

With Just after Sunset the answer to that question would be that it is all three - good, okay & poor.

Just after Sunset is a collection of 13 (a very bad number, according to a character in one of the tales) short stories. A few are not very good. I didn't like Harveys Dream, Graduation Afternoon or Willa. The latter is the weakest of the lot and as it is the first story it doesn't get the book off to a very promising start. A few are not bad. Not great, but okay. The Cat from Hell, Ayana and Stationary Bike come into this category. The majority though, are excellent, almost on a par with anything Stephen King as written previously. Gingerbread Girl, N, Rest Stop, Mute and A Very Tight Place are all excellent little stories. Most of these could have been puffed out and made into book sized novels but their sheer brevity makes them both punchy and powerful.

In the introduction, Stephen King tells us that writing short stories was an ability that at one time he had lost. Stephen Kings constant readers should be as pleased as I am that he has regained this ability.
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on 13 January 2014
There is nothing wrong with the writing style and some of the stories such as "Stationary Bike, The Things They Left Behind and "The Gingerbread Girl" are very good. The best story may be "N", but this is arguably a development of "Crouch End" with its obvious HP Lovecraft influence. Another very good story is "A Very Tight Place" which is the flip side of "Dolan's Cadilac". In the past SK has been accused of recycling stories. This is not fair but some of these do seem to be developments of previous stories.
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on 25 February 2013
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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on 17 March 2013
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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on 9 July 2013
I do enjoy a good Stephen King book but sometimes it can be a hit or a miss.
I didn't enjoy any of these stories, I thought they were ok but I was very disappointed.
Some of his books are so original and outstanding and that's why even when I have read a book that wasn't his best I'm still lured into buying more.
Nowadays I do find myself only purchasing books that really grab my attention, his books are not cheap and when they aren't great I feel like I have wasted my time and money.
KARRIE
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