Everything old is new again as revamped, pretty new paperbacks from two longtime masters of horror are reissued. But why now? Television tie-ins, of course! Night Shift, first published in 1978, features a story called Jerusalem’s Lot, the basis for the upcoming Epix series Chapelwaite, starring Adrien Brody. 2004’s Darkly Dreaming Dexter novel is, of course, the origin of the popular Showtime serial-killer series starring Michael C. Hall as the title character. That series ended in 2013, but there’s a reboot coming this November.
Now is the time to read or re-read those books to bone up for both series.
While Stephen King has since published a slew of short story collections, Night Shift is special since it is first. Between these pages, we witness mutated rats on the attack (Graveyard Shift); a cataclysmic virus that threatens humanity (Night Surf, the basis for The Stand… and all too familiar these days); a possessed machine (The Lawnmower Man); creepy kiddoes lurking in the stalks (Children of the Corn); a smoker who will try anything to stop (Quitters, Inc.); an antisocial alcoholic who begins a gruesome transformation (Gray Matter); and many more.
For those who find King’s novels overly long and self-indulgent, these short stories and sure to hold your attention hostage until the last word is devoured. While most anthologies tend to be mixed bags, this one has enough audacity and variety to please (just about) everyone. The accounts have an edgy, macabre, dark humor, but are also scary and thought-provoking, not unlike a classic Tales from the Crypt parable.
In addition to the new Epix TV series, King has also partnered with Audio Up Media, iHeart Media, and producer Lee Metzger (The Voice) to present Strawberry Spring, a new show based on a tale from Night Shift. The series follows a journalist as he hunts for a serial killer named Springheel Jack and stars the vocal talents of Garrett Hedlund and Milo Ventimiglia, among others.
Darkly Dreaming Dexter
It was through the pages of this novel (the first of eight) in which we met Dexter Morgan, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He’s handsome and charming, but he is also a serial killer whose one golden rule makes him likable: he only kills bad people. His day job as a blood splatter expert for the Miami police department puts him in the perfect position to identify his victims and stay under the radar. But when a series of brutal murders bearing a striking similarity to his own M.O. start to happen, Dexter is caught between being flattered and frightened.
Author Jeff Lindsay’s plotting is deft and tense and keeps the pages turning, but it’s really the refreshing and unusual character he created that brings Darkly Dreaming Dexter to life (and, of course, death… so much death!). As he deals with the id he calls “The Dark Passenger,” Dexter must also hide that side of him from those who love him.
Showtime’s Dexter revival, Dexter: New Blood, premieres this fall and will hopefully erase fans’ memories of the extremely disappointing final season of the previous incarnation. The reboot takes place ten years after the events that unfolded in the original Dexter finale. Dexter Morgan is still presumed dead after disappearing in the eye of Hurricane Laura, but he’s been actually living peacefully in the small town of Iron Lake in New York. All is going well… until unsettling events in Dexter’s new community threaten to awaken “The Dark Passenger.”