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. Books > Reviews


From a Buick 8

by Stephen King
Novel sputters along at 5 mph

From a Buick 8 centers around Pennsylvania troopers who impound a supernatural car after the driver has disappeared. As the history of the car is told to a dead trooper’s son, the state troopers reveal themselves to be around Barney Fife-level in terms of commonsense and detective ability.

King has often done very well at presenting everyman characters who didn’t scrape the bottom of the IQ barrel (take Stu Redman in the The Stand, for instance). In this book the machinations of the troopers and the results of their actions are not done for comic effect and quickly become tiresome to the reader.

For example, the car spits out supernatural creatures, yet these hayseed cops never consider it a hazard to public safety? In over twenty years, not one of the dozens of second-rate grunts has spilled this amazing news over a beer at a pub? Or blurted to his wife? Or sold the story to Ripley’s Believe It or Not for some pocket change? The trooper chief demands that no paperwork be kept on the car, yet allows anyone and everyone to take Polaroid pictures, videotape, and snapshots?

Besides the dim-witted cast, this must be the most boring novel Stephen King has written. It seems to be a promising thirty page short-story puffed up to 350 agonizingly slow pages. The holes that run through the plot wouldn’t be as apparent if the pace didn’t match rush-hour traffic on a Friday. The whole story really only contains 3 major events and King explains none of them. Best left to the imagination, I guess.