I read my first Stephen king novel. I picked it off of the shelf of my local library as a book on CD to listen to on my drive to school. It was terrible. I think that’s why it was the only one of King’s novels on the shelf. It’s called From a Buick 8. Have you read it?
It’s about a supernatural Buick that a group of police officers in rural Pennsylvania find abandoned at a gas station. The Buick spends years locked up in Shed B behind their barracks, where it disturbs the rhythm of their lives with its crazy happenings. The Buick causes electromagnetic disturbances, lowers the temperature in the shed, and gives birth to strange creatures. It is also responsible for the disappearance for several people. The officers believe the Buick to be a sort of porthole to another world and a “crocodile” that eats people. The creatures who come out of the trunk during its strange purple storms are thought to come from another world.
The account of these happenings over the years is framed by another story, that of an 18-year-old boy trying to understand the death of his father Curtis Wilcox. Ned began visiting the police barracks after his father was hit and killed by a drunk driver during a routine traffic stop. As Ned becomes a fixture at the barracks, the officers take him in and eventually tell him the story of the Buick’s history of mischief as it relates to his father. Curtis was one of the first officers on the scene when the car was first found and he did the most investigating of the car. He even dissected one of the bat-like creatures that came out of it.
So, that’s the basic story. I almost stopped listening, but I realized that I was almost done, so I decided to continue just to be able to tell you about it. The biggest problem with the story was its corniness. The happenings aren’t all that intriguing or terrifying. Yet, each time a creature emerges from the car, the officers reacted by throwing up. The police officers did an awful lot of throwing, and when I asked my dad about this, for he’s a retired police officer, he laughed and denied that police officers do any such thing.
There was also a lot of swearing. I did not like that. Perhaps I won’t like any Stephen King novels because of that.
There were also a few themes throughout the book that just seemed formulaic or forced. One was the idea that everyone is connected by invisible chains, and Sandy, the sergeant telling the story to Ned, often muses about these chains and how they have somehow entangled Ned. This of course foreshadows and leads to be car’s final supernatural phenomenon involving Ned, and at that point my interest was somewhat more peaked.
The other theme was the late Curtis’s fondness for saying, “Curiosity killed the cat. Satisfaction brought him back.” The troop spent a lot of time tossing this idea around, especially as it relates to their investigation of the Buick, which they conclude can never be understood. But I couldn’t help thinking, why don’t they contact some other authorities? Why don’t they bring in scientists or government officials?
Anyway, I don’t recommend this book. It isn’t my style, and I suspect that it’s not Stephen King’s best work. My dad sent me a copy of King’s Dolores Claiborne on CD. I think I’ll give that one a try before I completely give up on Stephen King.
Are there any other books of his you would recommend?