Skeleton Crew Review

Skeleton Crew - Stephen King

There will be some of you that think three stars is kinda harsh for this collection. After all, it includes such amazing tales as The Mist and The Jaunt. It must be amazeballs, right? Not so much. Even the epically awesome stories in this collection need to be trimmed down. Most of them start slower than a Lars Von Trier movie, and over half of them never really pay off. There are some serious WTF stories within this collection; stories I didn't understand ten years ago and still do not understand today. In other words, the reread didn't help. That doesn't mean your experience will not be different. It does not mean you will not understand the Milkman stories or appreciate King's cute-ass poem about anthropomorphized fruit that he wrote for his youngest son Owen. I understand why they are in this collection, but that doesn't mean I have to like them. Mostly, this collection is tedious. But, some of the time, if you can wade through the first unmpteen pages of bullshit, you might find a scare or two, or a meaningful story surrounded by bloat.

Here are my one-sentence reviews of each story. Feel free to discuss your favorites in the comment section.

The Mist - Five epically-awesome stars for this tale of mist-borne monsters and flawed fathers.

Here There Be Tygers - Three stars for this story about toileting "tygers" and tasty teachers.

The Monkey - Two stars for this mostly mediocre, meandering monkey, because this one has never really scared me, but it sure has bored me.

Cain Rose Up - Three confused stars because I don't know why this story is still in publication and Rage is not.

Mrs. Todd's Shortcut - Four stars for what could be the inspiration for Lisey's Story, because Boo'ya Moon could very well be Mrs. Todd's escape route.

The Jaunt - Five stars for this tale that takes cues from The Langoliers.

The Wedding Gig - Four stars for this story that fits the Hard Case Crimes series better than both The
Colorado Kid and Joyland put together.

Paranoid: A Chant - I'm sure this piece is brilliant and I'm just too stupid to understand it, but yeah, one star.

The Raft - All the stars (Five, Six... Ten... a Hundred) for what continues to be one of my favorite stories of all time.

The Word Processor of the Gods - Gets three stars for being The Monkey's Paw with a happy ending.

The Man Who Would Not Shake Hands - Finds three stars because the boys from 249B East 35th are still telling tales, even after Emlyn McCarron told them about The Breathing Method.

Beachworld - Beachfront property this ain't, but one helluva four-star story it is.

The Reaper's Image - This three-star story seems like the inspiration for that horrible Oculus movie.

Nona - Gets four-stars for being darkly dubious.

For Owen - If I were King's kid I would expect something better than this two-star cutesy crap from my old man.

Survivor Type - While you'll never see Richard Pine on Food Network, his cooking gets five stars.

Uncle Otto's Truck - Two stars for this done-to-death concept about a killer car.

Morning Deliveries (Milkman #1) - One star for this outline of an idea for a possible short story.

Big Wheels: A Tale of the Laundry Game (Milkman #2) - If someone would like to explain this story and its predecessor to me, I might give it more than one star.

Gramma - Four-stars for this creepy motherfucker because the beginning is slow as hell, but that ending... *shivers*

The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet - This one starts even slower than Gramma but its payoff only raises it into three-star territory.

The Reach - Stephen King says he wants to be remembered for this four-star beauty of a story, but he's done much better, at least in my opinion he has.

In summation: Skeleton Crew has a few gems, but is, overall, just okay.

Final Judgment: I'd rather take a jaunt on a raft through the mist.