If It Bleeds by Stephen King Book Summary
The “gripping…phenomenal…gorgeous” (USA TODAY) #1 New York Times bestselling novella collection from master storyteller Stephen King!
Readers adore Stephen King’s novels, and his novellas are their own dark treat, briefer but just as impactful and enduring as his longer fiction. Many of his novellas have been made into iconic films, including “The Body” (Stand by Me) and “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption” (Shawshank Redemption).
The four brilliant tales in If It Bleeds prove as iconic as their predecessors. In the title story, reader favorite Holly Gibney (from the Mr. Mercedes trilogy and The Outsider) must face her fears, and possibly another outsider—this time on her own. In “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone” an intergenerational friendship has a disturbing afterlife. “The Life of Chuck” explores, beautifully, how each of us contains multitudes. And in “Rat,” a struggling writer must contend with the darker side of ambition.
If these novellas show King’s range, they also prove that certain themes endure. One of King’s great concerns is evil, and in If It Bleeds, there’s plenty of it. There is also evil’s opposite, which in King’s fiction often manifests as friendship. Holly is reminded that friendship is not only life-affirming but can be life-saving. Young Craig befriends Mr. Harrigan, and the sweetness of this late-in-life connection is its own reward.
“An adroit vehicle to showcase the…nature of evil” (The Boston Globe), If It Bleeds is “exactly what I wanted to read right now,” says Ruth Franklin in The New York Times Book Review.
If It Bleeds (Stephen King) Book Reviews
If It Bleeds4 new great stories from the master himself! No complaints, just great writing as usual from Mr. King. Would definitely recommend!.T_RiScore: 4/5
WornKing can spin a tale and few can write like he does. While the writing remains superb the storylines grow tiresome. Anticlimactic in some instances. After inking 60 plus novels and novellas I suppose it’s only natural. For me the peak years of his stories are behind him..TinbucktwoScore: 3/5
Great StoriesI really loved reading through the stories in this book. Stephen King has such a way with words and drama. A case in point is the buildup in “If It Bleeds”. The suspence builds and builds, and then at the end of one chapter there is this line “And that’s when the scratching began.” How perfect is that. I realize that other reviewers mentioned the similarity of the first two stories to episodes of “The Twilight Zone”. Maybe a bit, but who cannot love the new twist of a cell phone put in the pocket of a recently deceased person? Talk about creepy..FastprofScore: 5/5
A delectable tasting menu of the author’s signature brand of horror/Sci-fi / mystery genreI am a horror junkie but sometimes lack the stamina for Steven King’s full length novels. His short stories are a perfect little satisfying taste of his brilliant, suspenseful & mind bending writing..CBibliophileScore: 5/5
Great!Loved the trump bashing more than anything! P.S. HE LOST.Shamilton818Score: 4/5
Great readWould recommend to anyone who wishes their hairs to rise.MihdNiqhttScore: 5/5
Interesting ReadI really enjoyed all the stories but I especially loved the one about the “Outsider”. Stephen King never disappoints..JessCampbellScore: 4/5
Good stuff!Great to meet a few new characters and a wonderful visit with familiar faces..Voodoo 1031Score: 4/5
UmI like it.Yushigi, acolyteScore: 5/5
Lost interestI LOVE King!! I have purchased and read every book multiple times. But these last couple of books have had me rolling my eyes at his jabs to our president. I couldn’t finish this book and I am truly sad about that..MadIIIemScore: 2/5
Yes!Another awesome book! Why not, it’s Stephen King!.Cushy32Score: 5/5
One word: Impeccable.Let me start off by saying that I wasn’t sure what to expect with a book of novellas. I’ve only ever read King’s full novels, so I wasn’t sure how much of his voice would come through within these shorter stories. And wow...was I pleasantly blown away. Each story is completely singular in its voice, tone, and plot, and yet they are all so clearly written by the same writer. Without giving too much away, I want to touch on each piece: “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone” I love the way he is able to play with the reader’s mind to get them to second guess if what they believe is just a coincidence, can actually be something sinister. And with whatever decision the reader comes to, it makes them question the type of person they are. “The Life of Chuck” Broken up into three separate acts, this story takes us through a timeline that I just had to get to the bottom of. With every other paragraph, this twisted mess becomes clearer and I didn’t know if I should have been relieved by the end of it, or even more frightened. “If It Bleeds” Since it has the same title as the book, I knew this would be most likely the best and thought out of the bunch. I was NOT disappointed. “Rat” Walking along similar lines as “Secret Window”, I thought I had seen it before. But the greater theme the plot revealed really made me wonder if I were put in the same circumstance, how would I waver? Overall, I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND reading this book. A true work of art by a master in his craft..NickthevampireslayerScore: 5/5
AddictiveThe only particular reason I loved this book is because of the first story. Mr. Harrigans phone was both clever and more appealing to a kid. It was amazing, especially all the twists and absolutely flawless. The other three stories not do great, especially anti-trump bias—completely un called for..Craft KahnScore: 5/5
Pretty GoodAll four books were good. I enjoyed the story “If It Bleeds” that continues the story of Holly Gibney..SquigglesmybagleScore: 4/5
Political BiasAnti-Trump bias makes this unreadable..Bob335524633Score: 1/5
He’s back!All four novellas are tantalizing good and spooky. My favorite would be the “Life of Chuck”, a bittersweet memoir of a decent man who dares to go in the locked room and finds that “the waiting is the hardest”. All King fans will be rewarded from this grand master of horror. Please keep them coming..Am book readerScore: 5/5
Stephen King?Waste of time. I have read many, many SK novels. Loved them! But sadly no more. They have been sliding for a while now.✌️.BobmandooScore: 1/5
If it bleedsHorrible.Anna banana-100Score: 1/5
Strange Yet Intriguing NonethelessIn the beginning it felt uncertain and out of place, but while reading the whole thing it gave terrifying chills I mean this is Stephen King we’re talking about! And this is my second Stephen King’s book since reading the green mile. Other than that, not too bad!.RaelljazzmineScore: 4/5
Fantastic“If It Bleeds” is a great read! I did not want the book to end. The most fun I’ve had in weeks. From the first story to the last, it’s Mr. King at his finest, although I must confess to having a weakness for Holly Gibney. Pure joy at reading that one. And I agree 100% with Holly - George Bellamy is somewhat of a scary character..SusieMac46Score: 5/5
Stephen king is always goodYeah that was mean it was released and he doesn’t like it...but yeah i just got the copy so far so good ....SweetskiesScore: 5/5
UnderwhelmingOverall I enjoy his stories. I have read all of his book and this one did not disappoint. The only thing I could do without was his constant political opinions on Trump. I got it, you don’t like his opinions but just write your books clown..[email protected]$&Score: 3/5
Not up to King standardsThe first two stories seemed based on an episode of Twilight Zone and a short story by Arthur C Clarke. What I love about Stephen King stories is that I feel immersed in the setting and characters after a few pages. Not so with the first two, they were sort of flat. The third story was just plain boring. I wonder if Joe Hill wrote it. It’s exactly the same kind of read as The Fireman, which I struggled to stick with, waiting for a story that never happened. I never finished The Fireman and had to skim the third story here. The last story was good and I felt like StephenKing had actually written it. But he seems to work his Trump hate into everything he writes these days. I read to escape politics. Plus, even though celebrities and artists seem to think they are political experts, I don’t. When I want political information I turn to books by reporters, economists, political experts..App, I am disappointScore: 1/5
First Time Reading Stephen KingThis is actually the very first Stephen King book I’ve read. This book is actually a group of 4 novellas. I wasn’t sure what to expect with a title about blood. However, the stories I read aren’t gory at all. I didn’t read story 3 which is the story that titles the book. Mr Harrigans Phone was a cross between Stand By Me and Twilight Zone. The story could have went deep into horror but was more of a reminiscent story with strange happenings. There are some very adult situations that make this not suitable for young teens. The Life of Chuck was simply strange - going backwards in time. I had a hard time keeping the story straight. Very odd story. Rat was my favorite of the 3 stories I read. Lots of character building before getting to the exciting part of the story with the rat. I read this book for my book club and I’m glad I got to discuss the stories with others..TxpenelopeScore: 3/5
If it reads...This is the most enjoyable Stephen King book in years. I really liked all four of the novellas. They could have possibly been scarier, especially the first story, but they are very easy and fun to read. A near return to form..Reckia6Score: 4/5
Haven’t read itI haven’t read this book but I love the story of Steven King books and love da shining sonI guess it’s good lol Steven you r gifted and wealthy congrats on making me scared for life about clowns screw it and honestly Danny is my fave drop the mic lol and the jerk who gave it a one star is such an butt honestly who would do that to the best hoarr author of all time. Screw him/ her thx fans by sub to Anderson’s Memes YT on YouTube lol bye.USA THEIF JKScore: 5/5
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Still the KING!!! 🤩🤩🤩Great collection of stories, especially the return of Holly Gibney in “If It Bleeds!” Highly recommend! 👍🏻😎.DMluvsyouScore: 5/5
Good collectionNice group of stories. All at a decent length. Don’t know what all the Trump whining is about, there were more jabs at blacks then at Trump....SdfrdeghfrjedScore: 5/5
Just an offsetHad to offset the one jerk who gave it a one star before it released.BootypatrolScore: 5/5
KingAnother top shelf King collection.JdofnminarScore: 5/5
You ruined your own book with unnecessary political bias. You are pathetic.Ok story but the repeated political anti-Trump BS was totally unnecessary. But expected from a sick leftist. When will you all ever learn..Oped01Score: 1/5
It’s King, the master story tellerGood book. I especially liked hanging with Hollyberry again. I read 100 + books a year and no one writes like Mr. King. It is simply a joy to read his prose. There’s not a Shawshank or A Body here, but all the stories are solid and entertaining. Well worth your time and $..KissdaddyScore: 4/5
Amazing SpookyGives you all the chills.Claw skawScore: 5/5
Classic KingAmazing storytelling, as always. Notable mention to “The Life of Chuck”, which is written unlike any other story I’ve read from King. It captured me as much now as when I first read “Nightmares & Dreamscapes”. To those rating low because of politics: that’s sad and you must be new here..XKelScore: 5/5
King needs to focus on horrorThis book feels rushed, all over the place and just not scary at all. I think King needs to stop cramming his politics down your throat and letting you know how much he loves Trump and just focus on writing a good horror story. The King may have finally lost it..TrentfireScore: 1/5
Very goodI really like the stories. But it’s funny, the book could have been named after any of them. If it bleeds has a better ring to it I guess..ALLTHE KINGS MENScore: 5/5
Simply for anti trumpAll these trumpsters being crybaby’s and giving the bad ratings simply makes me wish to give it a good rating 😂.DtsuxxxScore: 5/5
A good read, definetely worth the moneyThe majority of the stories were very engaging, and I felt particularly immersed in the last of the four, King’s writing style definetly drew me in. However, the short story titled If It Bleeds was difficult to get into. I found that the ongoing analysis of the news reporter tended to bore me, and I felt as if there was no direction to the plot, or it was difficult to follow at least. However, the story picks up relatively well about half way through, but I wish there was more meaning to this story imparticular. The beginning story including Mr. Hariggan was interesting enough, even though I still struggle to understand the point of the story. However, the second and last stories, in my opinion have meaning and insight that I will continue to chew on for the next few weeks, and I love the demostration of the general premace “I contain worlds, and I have the right to be amazing.” The last story presents a moral dilemma that I will also enjoy breaking down, and I do not regret my purchase at all. A good read in the end. Definetely worth it..Ken SwervoScore: 4/5
Not my favoriteThere you have it folks. Not my favorite.😐.Dbr1994Score: 1/5
As always, 5 starsI don’t know how he does it but Stephen King always remains constant as far as expanding my mind! Every book I read of his takes me completely out of myself and into his fictional world, and this one is no exception. I especially love If It Bleeds, which is a Holly Gibney story, with references to the phenomenal The Outsider (and a few other non-related stories he’s written). If you are a Stephen King fan this book will not disappoint!!.Jennie104Score: 5/5
EnjoyableThe last story ‘Rat’. Was my favorite. Not his best collection of stories but definitely worth a read!.ZxqwurtdfghjklScore: 4/5
BoringTried of the trump bashing. Done with king.SdtlwScore: 1/5
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Always AmazingAlways love Stephen Kings short stories and this one is no different. Love!.Jess_lilguyScore: 5/5
BadSorry I love Stephen King but I can’t follow this book at all I have no idea where it’s going and I’m 28% through.MmccaarrScore: 1/5
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