IT GROWS ON YOU contains audio versions of four Stephen King stories. The readings are pretty solid all around. The stories vary somewhat in quality.
First up is the title story. "It Grows On You" is vintage King, sent in Maine and mostly involving a bunch of old guys with thick accents sitting around and remember past events involving an unusual haunted house. It would seem the house literally has a life of its own, and its owners keep adding strange and unneeded expansions to the property (and going insane). For me, the story was more atmosphere than content. There is little payoff to it, and the ending is needlessly squalid. (SPOILER: do we NEED to finish up with hearing about an old man having a wet dream and then dying in his sleep?) King is the narrator here, and he does his usual serviceable job of reading his own work. He isn't the greatest reader in history, but he certainly gets the pacing and inflections that he intended. Occasionally, the dialogue rings a little false...I always wonder if when King reads his work out loud for these audiobooks if he wishes he could go back and tweak a little.
2nd is "The Fifth Quarter," a non-horror story. It's written in the "hard-boiled" style of someone like John D. MacDonald, and tells a story of revenge and reminds us that there's "no honor among thieves." It is very well read by Gary Sinese, and moves briskly. It's not a great story, particularly if you're looking for King-style horror...but it's vivid & evocative of the era King is clearly trying to hearken to. Over the years, King has proven a master of fashioning stories in other styles: EYE OF THE DRAGON ready like C.S. Lewis without religion, "The Breathing Method" like Conan Doyle, etc.
Next up is "You Know They Got A Hell of a Band," perhaps the best written of the bunch. It tells the story of a young couple making a trip through Oregon by car. They take the "scenic route" and after much arguing and misadventure, stumble across a little town in the middle of nowhere that may just be too good to be true. King's dialogue and relationship between the two is sharp and believable...he's often so good at quickly sketching convincing marriages and putting them in peril. He did similarly solid work with "Children of the Corn." (Forget the movies...the short story puts them all to deep, deep shame.) This story is, surprisingly, read by Grace Slick. I have no idea who thought of having her do this...but it was a GREAT idea. Her manner is a bit unpolished, but she is a clear, intelligent interpreter...and it's nice to hear a King story in a female voice. I'd gladly hear her again.
The final story is read by the legendary Frank Muller...probably the greatest interpreter of King. He's very "unflashy" in his style...but he simply reads the stories with perfect pitch, pace and emphasis. He gets out of the way of the story, and almost seems like the voice you would hear in your own head when reading a book in bed at night. "The Night Flier" is a vampire story, about a journalist who believes he's discovered a killer who flies his own plane from airport to airport at night and is snacking on the workers there. It reads a bit hard-boiled as well, and also something like a procedural. But it has moments of pure horror, and the ending is classic gory King.
Overall, while I wish the collection had two stronger stories to lead off, this is very solidly done stuff, and makes a wonderful listen while driving. If you're a King fan, you should be well pleased.
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I've got my own site, www.afilmcritic.com, on which I'm posting my reviews. I am 46 years old, married 25 years, two kids (23 & 18) and currently work in accounting/finance. I spent 15 years … more
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For the first time on CD! Vintage Stephen King at a great low price!
Stephen King's unparalleled imagination is in full force in this collection of four unabridged short stories originally found in the classic, Nightmares & Dreamscapes. An all-star cast of readers bring to life these timeless stories from the darkest places.
An infamous house in Castle Rock takes on a life of its own in It Grows on You. In The Fifth Quarter, a crook seeks to avenge his friend's death and to piece together a map to stolen treasure that his buddy died trying to claim. A nightly free rock-androll concert carries a hidden price in You Know They Got a Hell of a Band. And a tabloid reporter's pursuit of a brutal killer could turn deadly in in The Night Flier.
Stephen King, Gary Sinise, Grace Slick and Frank Muller lend their voices to this haunting collection of classic stories that no Stephen King fan should be without.