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26Apr

If It Bleeds review – Stephen King on vintage form

The horror writer is at his familiar best with four suspenseful and sometimes surprisingly tender novellas

Stephen King has made good use of the sometimes tricky novella form over his nearly 50-year career, often as a vehicle to explore ideas and styles that lie off the more familiar path of his horror novels. If It Bleeds brings together four new stories, all offering vintage King themes with their own particular twist.

The showpiece here is the title novella, a sequel of sorts to King’s 2018 novel The Outsider, which was shown as a 10-part HBO series at the beginning of this year. The title comes from the callous (but accurate) newsroom axiom “if it bleeds, it leads”. Private investigator Holly Gibney is watching breaking news coverage of a bomb attack at a middle school when she notices something odd about the reporter, Chet Ondowsky. A little background research suggests that Ondowsky’s being first on the scene at incidents of horrific carnage is no coincidence, and Holly wonders if the reporter might be deliberately causing atrocities. King marries an obvious affection for the tropes of old gumshoe movies with carefully researched forensic technology to create an odd hybrid of procedural and horror that ratchets up the suspense, even if it feels a little familiar to readers of The Outsider, or the trilogy of Bill Hodges novels in which Holly first appeared.

Continue reading...

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