If It Bleeds by Stephen King (audio)

Source: Purchased
Audible, 15+ hrs.
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If It Bleeds by Stephen King, narrated by Will Patton, Danny Burstein, and Steven Weber, is a collection of novellas, with Holly Gibney reappearing in the title novella.

The opening novella, Mr. Harrigan’s Phone, is reminiscent of a young boy coming-of-age story in which Craig befriends Mr. Harrigan right as cell phones start providing information at our fingertips, including newspapers and stock information. This friendship, of course, takes a darker turn. I enjoyed this piece, but wanted more development and a longer story.

The Life of Chuck, set in Boston, opens with the end of the Internet, but there’s billboards everywhere with Chuck on them. Who was this man that no one seems to know, but who is loved enough to be on a billboard? The ghosts of his past provide us with a glimpse of this finance man and how he did indeed “contain multitudes.” The best part of this story is when Chuck begins dancing on Boylston Street in Boston to the beat of busking drummers. But it is also about that age-old question of whether we would want to know when we’re to die? Would we use the time wisely? Would we while it away. This story was not as engaging as the others, at least not on audio.

Holly Gibney returns in If It Bleeds to find herself in a similar situation as to when she was in The Outsider (my review). It helps if you have read the previous novel where she appears because it is referenced, but I don’t think it is necessary, as King provides enough background for readers to follow along. Gibney is a spitfire who is overcoming her own self-esteem issues, and I absolutely love revisiting this character. This was my favorite novella.

Rat is the final novella in the collection and reminded me of King’s earlier works involving writers – Secret Window, Secret Garden (which became a movie with Johnny Depp), The Dark Half, and The Shining. But don’t expect that rat to appear until midway and do expect a Faustian bargain to occur. This one was a traditional horror yarn. It was definitely a solid story, though I didn’t like Drew Larson much.

If It Bleeds by Stephen King was a bit hit-and-miss for me, but there’s definitely something for everyone in these pages. The best of these for me was If It Bleeds, though Mr. Harrigan’s Phone was a close second for me. Each of these deal with our sense of mortality and how knowing the end is near or even possible can impact how we act or don’t.

Funnily enough, the bookworm also posted her review of this collection, so check it out!

RATING: Tercet

Other Reviews:

About the Author:

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes Doctor Sleep and Under the Dome, now a major TV miniseries on CBS. His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller as well as the Best Hardcover Book Award from the International Thriller Writers Association. He is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.


  1. Stop it! I just posted my review of If It Bleeds now before coming over here lol. Too funny. Great review. My favorite in this collection was The Rat and it reminded me of Secret Window also.