By the time Pete Simmons wakes up from his vodka nap, there are half a dozen cars at the Mile 81 rest stop. But two kids and a horse are the only living things left...unless you maybe count the wagon. With the heart of Stand By Me and the genius horror of Christine, Mile 81 is Stephen King unleashing his imagination as he drives past one of those road signs.
In the bonus story "The Dune," originally published in Granta's October 2011 horror issue, retired Florida Supreme Court Judge Harvey Beecher tells his lawyer about a mysterious sand dune on an unnamed island a short distance off the Gulf coastline of his family's property. Harvey first visited the island at the age of ten in 1932, after his grandfather, a scoundrel and land speculator who'd created the family fortune, told him Blackbeard's treasure might be buried there. Traveling to the island became a daily addiction for Harvey...and now his lawyer is about to discover the shocking reason why.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-03-26
- Reviewer: Staff
In King’s short story, just off the highway in Maine a mud-covered car sits quietly at an abandoned rest stop where a young boy named Pete Simmons is exploring a boarded-up burger joint. But his innocent excursion becomes a nightmare when the car reveals itself to be an unearthly predator, luring unsuspecting passersby to a hideous fate. Thomas Sadoski provides smooth, matter-of-fact narration that acts as a counterpoint to the chilling and unnerving story line. In the bonus story, “The Dune,” former judge Harvey Beecher is addicted to visiting a certain sand dune located on a small island just off the coast of his old family estate on Pelican Point, Fla. Knowing his time is short, the 90-year-old reveals to his lawyer the preternatural messages he finds written in the sand during his visits. Edward Herrmann brings Beecher to life in what is essentially a monologue with a soft, craggy, Southern accent that acknowledges the character’s age, but shows an underlying strength fitting for a former judge. And that voice is a perfect match for the story’s spine-tingling conclusion. (Jan.)