Title: From A Buick 8
Author: Stephen King
Publisher: New English Library
Stephen King has written a lot of books and I’ve only delved shallowly into his deep well. For me the strength of Kings comes from the voice he uses. It has a sense of place and a confidence that makes for a pleasant reading.
This voice is put to good use in From A Buick 8 as various members of Troop D lets a young Ned Wilcox into the family secret about what the Buick Roadmaster in Shed B could possibly be and like his dead father he has more questions than there are answers.
Several of King’s stories start on a ‘what if …’ and this one is no exception. What if something that looks like a ’54 blue Buick Roadmaster is actually something alien and something to be scared of? King’s starts off with this ‘what if…’ and then explores that idea throughout the novel. The downside of this technique is that there is a fine line between exploration and rambling and King mostly stays on the right side of the line.
This isn’t the best King I’ve ever read. It’s more subtle than I’d like and more reflective though that is the story from the outset so you have to accept it for what it is. The horrific moments, such as they are, lack a sense of danger even though you can understand the characters reactions it’s hard to feel them.
Each part of the story snaps into place like a badly formed jigsaw puzzle. Each of the characters is solidly recreated and feels as real as the Buick itself. There is a sense of the extraordinary happening to ordinary people. I’d say if you’re in a reflective mood and thinking about the meaning of life then this is a great read. If you need something with a bit more action you might find it a bit too slow going.