If It BleedsBook - 2020 | First Scribner hardcover edition
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"Free samples are fine, but if you give people too much for-free, whether its clothes or food or information, they come to expect it." - Mr. Harrigan to Craig upon the gift of an iPhone with internet capability.
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Mr. Harrigan's Phone
If we could communicate with the dead, would we do so? Would it prevent "Rest in Peace?" Would we hurt ourselves? In a fit of anger, text, "I wish that guy was dead!" Then find out later, he's been killed in an accident. Careful what you wish for!
The Life of Chuck
Starts with the end of the world as the characters begin seeing a retirement ad that seems odd because it's so mundane (given all the natural disasters.) "Charles Krantz. 39 Great Years. Thanks Chuck!" So who is Charles Krantz? The rest of the story answers the question. Also introduces the idea that when a mind dies, an entire world can go with it.
If It Bleeds
Follows Holly, a character introduced in the novel "The Outsider."
When a bomb goes off in a school, Holly discovers that the carnage is the work of a shape shifting creature that feeds off terror and grief. With the help of friends at her detective agency, Holly and company are able to lure the creature into a trap. Only from the mind of Steven King: death by automated talking elevator! King might also be having a little fun with on-line translation apps. Detecting an emergency, a robotic voice in the elevator calmly instructs everyone to, "Panic! Panic! Panic!"
Drew Larson is writing a novel when he catches a severe case of the flu. He is delirious when he dreams (or is visited by) a talking rat. It will help him finish the book, but someone Drew knows has to die. The rat suggests an elderly friend who has cancer. Drew agrees because a talking rat can't possibly be real. Drew finishes the novel, and it gets published. He has forgotten about the rat. When Drew gets news his elderly friend and his wife have been killed in a traffic accident, he remembers the rat's bargain. He seeks out the creature and they argue. Drew thinks the rat would make a good lawyer. It has a loophole or a technicality to dismiss all of his objections. Life goes on and Drew resumes teaching and family life. He tells himself the rat had to have been bad dreams. Life is full of strange quirks of fate. A man survives cancer only to be killed in a car wreck. Sometimes maybe there are no explanations. However, Drew has no intention of ever writing another novel.
Common Themes: Aging & Mental Accuity, Death & Dying
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