Next up on my ‘to be reviewed’ list is Mile 81 by Stephen King. The audio book also included a bonus track of The Dune by King so I’ll touch on it as well…
At Mile 81 on the Maine Turnpike is a boarded-up rest stop, a place where high school kids drink and get into the kind of trouble high school kids have always gotten into. It’s the place where Pete Simmons, armed only with the magnifying glass he got for his tenth birthday, finds a discarded bottle of vodka in the boarded up burger shack and drinks enough to pass out. Not much later, a mud-covered station wagon (which is strange because there hadn’t 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.
By the time Pete Simmons wakes up from his vodka nap, there are half a dozen cars at the Mile 81 rest stop. But two kids and a horse are the only living things left… unless you maybe count the wagon. 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.
In the bonus story The Dune, retired Florida Supreme Court Judge Harvey Beecher tells his lawyer about a mysterious sand dune on an unnamed island a short distance off the Gulf coastline of his family’s property. Harvey first visited the island at the age of ten in 1932, after his grandfather, a scoundrel and land speculator who’d created the family fortune, told him Blackbeard’s treasure might be buried there. Travelling to the island became a daily addiction for Harvey… and now his lawyer is about to discover the shocking reason why.
Mile 81 was a terrific little short – I was entranced with each moment of the unfolding story, so much so that I admit to driving around the block until it was over! The characters were vividly depicted and their demises just as gruesomely vivid. A great story to read if you’re looking for a little punch of classic King horror.
The Dune was a great tale as well though I admit to seeing the twist in the ending before the story was done. That didn’t take away from the story however, only made it more creepy as it came to its conclusion.
Both shorts are well worth the listen, or read if that’s more your style!
Rating: 4 stars