TITLE: MILE 81
AUTHOR: STEPHEN KING
GENRE: HORROR FICTION
I bought this e-book from www.kobo.com.
BLURB FROM THE COVER
At Mile 81 on the Maine Turnpike is a boarded-up rest stop, a place where high school kids drink and get into trouble. Pete Simmons sneaks away from his older brother and arrives there, where he finds a bottle of vodka and pornographic magazines. He drinks enough to pass out.
A mud-covered station wagon (which is strange because there had not been any rain in New England for over a week) veers into the Mile 81 rest area, ignoring the sign that says “closed, no services.” The driver’s door opens but nobody gets out.
Doug Clayton, an insurance man from Bangor, is driving his Prius to a conference in Portland. On the backseat are his briefcase and suitcase and in the passenger bucket is a King James Bible, what Doug calls “the ultimate insurance manual,” but it is not going to save Doug when he decides to be the Good Samaritan and help the guy in the broken down wagon. He pulls up behind it, puts on his four-ways, and then notices that the wagon has no plates. He is then eaten by the wagon.
Other characters drive up, stop and are eaten by the wagon until Pete wakes up and burns it with his magnifying glass, sending it back to wherever it came from.
‘You can’t come’ his older brother said.
I thought Mile 81 was a good little novella. It reminded me a lot of Christine and From a Buick 8. Mile 81 was a lot more sinister was a lot more sinister. Christine and the Buick didn’t actually eat people. I liked King’s description of the station wagon and how he managed to make the car appear sinister in a few words. The station wagon was clearly at the abandoned rest stop by intent.
I thought the characters were pretty decent. Mile 81 is a novella and a short one at that so there’s not much room to develop characters. I liked the sections that were from the point of view of Pete, the teenage boy. I thought King did a pretty decent job of writing from a teenager’s perspective. Sure there were some clichés but that’s hard to avoid.
I liked how Mile 81 gradually got more and more tense. The novella is quite calm at first when Pete goes to the abandoned rest stop because he’s pissed that he can’t hang out with his older brother and his friends. King builds intrigue about the mud-splashed station wagon. The tension quickly mounts are people are drawn to the rest stop and eaten by the car. Mile 81 was quite well-paced.
I thought the ending was a bit twee. Pete saves the day but he does it in sort of a cartoonish and cliché way. I found myself thinking oh really, you could have some up with something better Mr King. The rest of the novella is enjoyable and makes up for this.