First of all, I need to make a note that for the purposes of this review, I shortened the synopsis above for this novella from what was provided on Amazon and other retailers. If you decide to read the book and you don’t want any spoilers I advise skipping reading the book description because it damn near summarizes the entire thing which honestly annoyed me.
I really liked one of the concepts that is central to this book: the dangers of being a good Samaritan. Sounds absurd right? Everyone should try and be a good neighbor and help each other in need. My friends have stopped a few times to help people that were stranded at the side of the road and there’s always that mild fear there of something bad happening. Thankfully it has never been the case, but this book takes that what if and adds a little paranormal twist, something that King does incredibly well. I loved this idea and found it unique, I flew through the pages wanting to know what was going on and see how it could possibly end.
“She had grown up knowing you cared for the one who had fallen and couldn’t get up. She had also grown up knowing you ate no shit—not about your hosses, your size, your line of work, or your sexual preferences. Once you started eating shit, it had a way of becoming your regular diet.”
The characters are well drawn out and pretty memorable to me. The writing was laugh out loud funny despite the extremely dark subject matter. The narration was witty though I have to admit that I was thrown off by Pete. His inner monologue and manner of speech seemed too old for the character’s age which makes him mildly unbelievable. A minor thing to complain about but it was something noticeable to me.
Mile 81 was originally released as a Kindle Single and later collected in the anthology The Bazaar of Bad Dreams and is easily one of the better stories included. For those that like a small shot of King’s signature humor and uniquely creepy stories, Mile 81 is definitely one to check out. It is genuinely tense and was just plain fun to read.
With the heart of Stand By Me and the genius horror of Christine, Mile 81 is Stephen King unleashing his imagination as he drives past one of those road signs…