The Bottom Line: The master of horror returns to his core genre with great success.
In my view, many of Stephen King’s greatest books over the past two decades have not in fact been in the horror genre, but rather his crime fiction.
In The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, a collection of short stories, King goes back to his roots. There are a lot of gems here, some of which are appearing in print for the first time. My favorite is “The Dune,” the story of a judge who, as a boy, canoed to a deserted island and saw names of the s00n-to-be-departed written in the sand. It’s a truly perfect short story with a brilliant reveal in the very last line that most won’t see coming. If you’re in need of a truly simple and brilliant campfire story, this one is guaranteed to ensure the kiddies won’t get a wink of sleep.
Honorable mention goes to “Obits,” a story about a columnist who kills people by writing their obituaries.
King introduces each with a passage about its origins or his motivations for writing it. “I made them especially for you,” says King. “Feel free to examine them, but please be careful. The best of them have teeth.”