by Stephen King (read by Thomas Sadoski)
Hodder & Stoughton (audiobook)
Released last year as an e-book, Stephen King's short story, Mile 81, is now on audio, alongside a somewhat obsolete excerpt from his excellent novel, 11.22.63, and The Dune, first published in Granta magazine. In recent years, King has shuttled between old-school shockers (the zombie stylings of Cell) and stories of a more ambitious stripe: Lisey's Story or Under The Dome. Mile 81 fits snugly into the first category. There are King trademarks aplenty: cars (each chapter gets its own vehicle), eerie set-ups that gradually come down to earth, and that voice which convinces you anything is possible. We are lured in by 10-year-old Pete Simmons, who rolls up to the rest-stop at Mile 81, glugs some vodka and passes out. When he awakes, he is surrounded by abandoned cars. A strange station wagon has pulled up, without a driver, but with a nasty line in decapitation. Thomas Sadoski reads the characters with verve, whether it's wide-eyed Pete, born-again Doug Clayton or the rather two-dimensional Julianne (gay and overweight). Mile 81 isn't vintage King, but it'll do for now.