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JUST AFTER SUNSET: STORIES is Stephen King’s latest collection. All but one were written witin the last couple of years.

It’s a nice mix of crime and horror stories, though the horror here has no raging, slavering monsters of the type that Mr. King does so well. The monsters here are all human, laden with the creepiness that only a human monster can come up with.

My favorite is THE GINGERBREAD GIRL in which we have a woman living on a seasonal island, mostly alone, dealing with a lost child and a crumbling marriage because of that. She develops a mania for running, running, and more running, which is the least of her problems on the lonely island. You see, there’s also a homicidal maniac lurking there.

Then there’s the portly commercial artist that develops a unique way to lose weight, the hit man that takes a contract on a cat, the young man with a group of people waiting at a lonely station for Amtrak to pick up the survivors of a derailment who goes looking for his fiancee who’s wandered off into the night, and the man living in New York City  who decided to play hooky one fateful day and now has an odd form of survivor’s guilt.

In MUTE, there’s a salesman running away from a philandering and embezzling wife that picks up a hitchhiker.  N. is the only new story, a tale of a psychiatrist with an OCD patient.

There’s more, a half dozen shorter pieces,  and I found this book one of the most satisfying from  Mr. King  in years. There seems to be something here for all types of readers.

Well worth a look.