Review – Audiobook: Mile 81 by Stephen King
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publish Date: January 10, 2012
Format: Unabridged CD, 2 disks
Rating: 3½ of 5
Pete’s brother is supposed to be watching him but he’s gone off with his teenage friends and little brothers are not welcome. But Pete doesn’t care, he has something better to do and heads off to the boarded up rest stop on the Maine Turnpike. That’s where all the cool kids go to hang out and drink liquor.
Add the following plot elements: Pete finds an old bottle of vodka, gives it a swig and quickly passes out cold, a mud-covered station wagon with no visible driver arrives at the rest stop, and an assortment of Good Samaritans attempt to aid the broken down station wagon only to disappear one by one. Mix those together and you get classic Stephen King reminiscent of his early days.
Once again King takes the familiar, in this case the seemingly harmless family auto, and turns it into a monster while placing helpless children in harm’s way. I liked it; it was just creepy enough to be a scary story but not gory and bloody. I would call it horror-lite. Anyone who has read a lot of Stephen King will recognize familiar themes in the story. One of the characters even mentions Christine, so King does acknowledge that he is borrowing from past scenarios.
This novella is really more of a short story, and for Stephen King it is very short indeed. I would have expected it to be one of several stories in a collection such as Night Shift or even Four Past Midnight (a favorite of mine) rather than a stand alone book.
The Audio CD inculded a very short bonus story, The Dune. A retired judge tells his lawyer about a mysterious dune that he has been compelled to visit every day since he was 10 years old. What was on that dune? There’s a nice twist at the end of that one.
Each story in the audiobook had a different narrator and both of them did a nice job. The children’s voices in the first story were realistically done but other than that, there weren’t a lot of characters and the audio was, for lack of a better way to put it, good but uneventful.
If you’re looking for a short creepy story or two this would be a good choice. And if you’re listening while driving, watch out for abandoned cars at the rest stops!