Shock­ingly mov­ing Mas­ter of hor­ror Stephen King’s lat­est book, El­e­va­tion, tugs at the heart­strings

Winnipeg Sun - - ENT-SHOWBIZ - — The As­so­ci­ated Press

Af­ter more than four decades of bang­ing out best- sell­ers, Stephen King still has the power to sur­prise his beloved “con­stant read­ers.”

Con­sider El­e­va­tion, which the book jacket calls a novel, but which clocks in un­der 150 pages and takes about 90 min­utes to read.

Guess how you feel when it’s over?

Happy! Maybe even ... hope­ful?

Those aren’t emo­tions typ­i­cally as­cribed to King books, which of­ten fea­ture gal­lons of blood (Hello, Car­rie!), killer cars or things that go much more than bump in the night.

The big­gest evil in El­e­va­tion is closed-mind­ed­ness, as a few towns­folk in Cas­tle Rock, Maine, don’t look too kindly on the same-sex cou­ple that has opened a veg­e­tar­ian Mex­i­can joint on the main drag.

En­ter Scott Carey, the hero of King’s slim story. We learn by page three that Scott is “los­ing weight,” as he tells his re­tired friend, Doc­tor Bob. Ac­cord­ing to the scale, the pounds are slid­ing off at an alarm­ing rate, but any­one look­ing at Scott sees the same over­weight man they al­ways have. Most mys­te­ri­ously, he can’t even make the nee­dle on the scale move higher. As King writes, “what­ever he wore or car­ried that was sup­posed to weigh him down ... didn’t.”

Scott isn’t the type to head to a hospi­tal for a bat­tery of tests. He feels bet­ter as the pounds come off, his en­ergy rises and he com­mits to mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in his com­mu­nity. The plot turns on one act of kind­ness that changes the fate of a few char­ac­ters and makes it pos­si­ble for Scott to or­ches­trate what he be­gins to call “Zero Day.”

El­e­va­tion fol­lows Gwendy’s But­ton Box in the King canon, an­other short story set in Cas­tle Rock that he co-wrote last year with Richard Chiz­mar. Both sto­ries are now part of a King-verse that con­tains Cas­tle Rock, the se­ries on Cravetv that brings to­gether many of King’s most fa­mous char­ac­ters for a variety of tales.

It all adds up to plenty more plot fod­der for a sto­ry­teller still at the top of his game. El­e­va­tion is a mag­i­cal tale that en­ter­tains and man­ages to say a lit­tle some­thing about the state of our cul­ture in 2018.

El­e­va­tion Stephen King (Scrib­ner)

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