From a Buick 8 by Stephen King

Monday 6 March 2017

From a Buick 8
Stephen King
Genre(s): Adult, Horror, Science-Fiction
Published: September 24th 2002
Pages: 467
Rating: 3.5 stars

Come close, children, and see the living crocodile. A vintage '54 Buick Roadmaster. At least, that's what it looks like...

There is a secret hidden in Shed B in the state police barracks in Statler, Pennsylvania. A secret that has drawn troopers for twenty years - terrified yet irresistibly tempted to look at its chrome fenders, silver grille and exotic exhaust system.

Young Ned Wilcox has started coming by the barracks: mowing the lawn, washing the windows, shovelling snow; it's a boy's way of holding on to his father - recently killed in a strange road accident by another Buick.

And one day Ned peers through the windows of Shed B and discovers the family secret. Like his father, Ned wants answers. He deserves answers. And the secret begins to stir...

From a Buick 8
didn’t immediately capture my attention, which was a shame because I wanted to really enjoy it, it being a King novel and all. Thankfully, things did pick up and I became more interested, but only after I’d made it about half way through.

The premise is unique, I’ll give it that. Not totally interesting to me as I’m not a fan of cars and don’t know much about them, but I do know a little about horror books and what I like in them. The idea that this ‘car’ was acting as a portal between two different worlds was something I’d never come across before in my reading. And certainly not in the way King goes about it: with plenty of gruesome grossness.

While I wasn’t totally hooked by the subject matter to start with (it grew on me, don’t get me wrong) I was pulled in by the writing. There’s something about the way King writes that makes me carry on reading even when I’m not sure that I really want to. He knows the perfect recipe for creating suspense and cuts his chapters off in just the right places, making you say ‘oh my god, what?!” Once you got into the meat of the story, it became a compelling read.

The multiple points of view and jumps backwards and forwards in time worked very well as a way to tell the story of the Buick, and I enjoyed how it really did feel like a group story was unfolding before me. I was as invested as Ned by the end of things.

Overall, I liked this more than I originally anticipated. Not the best King book I’ve read, but certainly not the worst, either.


  1. NOS4R2 by Joe Hill has a car that acts as a portal to Christmasland (which is a *lot* less cheery than it sounds!) :)

    1. I definitely need to read that! As well as all his other stuff, but I've not got many left to go :P


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