I had actually forgotten that Stephen King and his son Joe Hill were releasing a short-story e-book this year. It was released back in October, but I didn’t buy it until the end of November because, like I said, I had forgotten about it. But I’m really glad I remembered.
Becky and Cal DeMuth, not twins but only 19 months apart in age, have been inseparable for most of their lives. When Becky becomes pregnant at 19, she decides to stay with her aunt and uncle—a cross-country drive from the DeMuth’s New England home—until the baby is born. Cal takes the semester off from college to take the drive with her.
Driving through Kansas on a warm April day, windows down and no radio on, they hear it: a cry for help from the tall grass on the side of the road. A cry that sounds like it comes from a little boy, lost in the grass that must be twice his height. Cal and Becky decide to “rescue” the boy—who, they assume, must have come from one of the houses along the road—and, upon walking down the embankment into the grass, immediately lose each other.
They soon discover, to their horror, that it is impossible either to meet up with each other again or to get back to the road. Every time they jump up above the tips of the grass to get their bearings, they seem to be in a different place. Unable to find either each other or the little boy who drew them here in the first place, they begin to panic…
Okay, I will tell you right off the bat that I’m not really a short story person. I like big, fat books that I can snuggle into for a while, whereas short stories always seem to be over too soon. But I’m too much of a Stephen King geek to not buy something he puts out, so of course I bought In the Tall Grass (only $3.99, by the way!). And, as it usually goes with Stephen King, I don’t regret it one bit.
Since it’s a short story, things deteriorate pretty quickly. Becky and Cal get lost in the grass almost immediately, and it really is unsettling how they seem to be right next to each other one minute and then hundreds of yards away the next. As always, the suspense is there almost immediately and just hangs over you, breathing down your neck. There’s not a lot I can talk about without some spoilers, so:
**BIG OL’ SPOILER ALERT**
Okay, the absolute WORST part for me, and, I imagine, for many people, was the miscarriage scene. Not only was it horrifically sad, it was also just plain old gross. Probably one of the most disturbing scenes I’ve ever read in a book, and I’ve read a LOT of horror stories. *shudder* I even had a dream a few nights after I read it—actually, I guess it would be a nightmare—that I miscarried (not that I’m pregnant, guys, don’t go getting any ideas). Suffice it to say that scene will be with me for a very long time.
Also, I wish there was a little more exposition with the whole rock in the center of the grass thing, but I guess that’s why it was a short story and not a novel. And the general idea/plot is definitely more short-story-sized than novel-sized, so I guess I can’t complain too much.
**END BIG OL’ SPOILER ALERT**
Anyway, I’d recommend this to anyone who enjoys quick, suspenseful stories, and doesn’t mind really gross/disturbing things (if you didn’t read my spoilers, just be prepared to be grossed out and possibly have nightmares like I did).
**BONUS MINI REVIEW**
The In the Tall Grass e-book ALSO contained a preview of Doctor Sleep, the sequel to The Shining, which comes out next September. Since it was only a few pages, there isn’t much to say in a “review” except that it looks amazing. The preview is, I’m guessing, the prologue of Doctor Sleep, set a few years after The Shining, so Danny is about eight. He wakes up needing to pee one night, only to discover the woman from Room 217 in his bathroom. He retreats into a catatonic state that he won’t come out of until Dick Halloran comes from Florida to talk to him, taking him to the beach to tell him a story. Unfortunately, the preview ends right before Dick gets to tell the story…so now I’m dying to read this even more than I already was. I can’t wait till it comes out!
- Book Review – In the Tall Grass (Kindle Single) by Joe Hill and Stephen King (randomizeme.net)
- Quick Read: In the Tall Grass by Stephen King & Joe Hill (mychemicalfawn.wordpress.com)
- In the Tall Grass by Stephen King and Joe Hill Book Recommendation (momkelly2003.wordpress.com)