Mile 81
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Mile 81

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3.53 of 5 stars 3.53  ·  rating details  ·  11,363 ratings  ·  1,159 reviews
With the heart of Stand By Me and the genius horror of Christine, MILE 81 is Stephen King unleashing his imagination as he drives past one of those road signs . . .

At Mile 81 on the Maine Turnpike is a boarded up rest stop, a place where high school kids drink and get into the kind of trouble high school kids have always gotten into. It's the place where Pete Simmons goes...more
Kindle Edition, 80 pages
Published (first published 2011)
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Lou
It is two weeks surrounding the Easter holidays the slowest time of the year on the nation's turnpikes, and the afternoon is the second-slowest time of the day, the hours between midnight and 5 am is the slowest time. One abandoned service stop on Mile 81 is about to receive some helpful traffic.
We have all driven on the rapid fast lane but time and tiredness takes it toll on our souls and a long overdue rest is always advised but where? After reading this you may think twice on exactly where y
...more
Kristopher Kelly
Great story for a quick flight from Logan to New York. I'm not going to say too much about the plot, since the story's so short, but I'll say that, once again, it's the people not the monsters that King draws best. Something bad happens at an abandoned rest stop, do you really need more? Most of the characters meet a terrible fate, and it's King's ability to make you care so quickly about them that steals the show. Also, the atmosphere of the abandoned rest stop is outstanding. Loved every creep...more
Adam Wilson
All right, Mile 81 seems to be a little novella thrown out there to make us desperate and starving King fans happy, if only for an hour or so. It did not impress me at

all though. The story was fun, but it seemed like different versions of several of King's short stories and novels including Christine (obviously), From A Buick 8, The

Raft, and The Mangler. A car comes out of nowhere and for some reason decides to stop at a closed road stop at Mile 81. If anyone touches it, they die, horribly. I...more
Becky
4.5 stars

Remind me never, ever to get in Stephen King's car.

... OK, who am I kidding. I'd get in. :D

I really enjoyed this story. I liked the fact that we have two different stories converging in this little novella - a kind of self-discovery adventure and a classic gore-horror. But there is more to it than even that. The little things are what make King's books and stories so awesome. The little details that bring his characters to life, and have us rooting for them, despite only knowing them f...more
Emily
This was crap. Seriously. Crap. It was actually embarrassing to read. I've read a long, long list of SK books, and found something good in all of them. This had me wishing he had actually retired. Let's start with the names. Every character had a made-up sounding name. Or at least one that didn't make sense for the story being set in the present day. I mean seriously, it's 2011 and the kids are Pete and George? Then there's the cringe-worthy self-referencing. Pete has American Vampire in his bag...more
Andy
A long time ago I remember seeing Stephen King on a talk show telling the host about this idea he had for a story.

I think it was going to start with this guy who pulls over at a rest stop area so his wife can use the restroom. She runs in and he waits in the car. 5 minutes pass. Then 10. The guy keeps waiting and waiting for his wife to come out of the damn bathroom. But she never does. Then he notices a whole bunch of people have gone into the women's bathroom, but no one seems to be coming ou...more
Kathryn
Mile 81 was pretty good. I actually thought the store would be the crux of the horror, but I was proved wrong. I kind of like how sometimes King just ends a story abruptly, and this is one instance I did think the ending fit, especially with how sudden the car appears, does what it needs to do, and is gone.

This is a quick read. One you can read in 45 minutes or so.
Marvin
Yes I gave it three stars but this little not-quite-a-novella irritates the hell out of me for two reasons.

First, that Goodreads description and half the reviews. If you read the description above you have basically read 60% of the story. Way too much information and not much else to read. There should be a law.

Second, what is this about Stephen King and monster cars? First Christine, Then From a Buick Eight, and now this. Add the fact that the two mentioned novels are among my least favorite of...more
Kealan Burke
Stephen King’s novelette, MILE 81, released today in digital format, tells the story of an abandoned rest stop, or rather the peculiar car that chooses to park there, and what that car does when the curious get too close.

Ten year old Pete Simmons, brushed off by his older brother and his gang and looking for something to do, decides to investigate a nearby rest area, which, once a popular stop for hungry and weary travelers on the I-95 stretch of highway, is now little more than a dilapidated ha...more
Maciek
Not much to speak of. The ever-prolific King of Horror produced a short (70 pages) novelette comprised of interlinked stories about several characters who all reach the same place and the same terror: a filthy car whose door is open, "line an invitation".

Fans will undoubtedly recognize the theme which appeared in Christine and From a Buick 8, among with many other tropes from King's work, but I doubt that many of them will be satisfied. The whole thing seems more like an outtake from writing ses...more
Todd Russell
The King loves his cars :) I preferred his story "Trucks" from the Night Shift collection over Mile 81 but this is a decent Stephen King tale that fellow Constant Readers will enjoy.

Mile 81 will make you think twice of station wagons with muddy-covered windows and car doors that creak open. No spoilers but the ending was underwhelming and seemed a bit rushed. The best parts for me were King's signature characterization skills (man, he's good!) and King's cleverly scattered horror humor.

The sampl...more
Brandon
I don't know exactly what King was going for here. At the end, he throws out a dedication to a few people who supported his earlier work, so I'm guessing he was going on nostalgia?

This thing reads like a really bad B-movie. Not in a good way. I could've done without the blatant and unnecessary plug for AT&T wireless internet. Also, all the mentioning of an ongoing series that he's working on (American Vampire) and a film adaptation from his previous work (Christine) was kind of distracting a...more
Gatorman
This a slight King tale, good but nothing that will stick with you for very long. For some unknown reason, King uses foreshadowing sentence which tell you in no uncertain terms who is going to die before they do, which is really annoying and only serves to eliminate any tension or suspense that is created by their approach of the mysterious car. I don't recall King using such over-the-top foreshadowing to this extent before, and not sure why he felt the need to use it here. Nevertheless, the gru...more
AJ
The story itself was fun. Another King story with vehicles included. From Christine, a Buick 8, Pet Semetary, Big Trucker and others, vehicles seem to be popular characters or have a role in the storyline in many stories. A small cast that struck home with me and sucked me in was great. However the ending seemed to be cut short. Similar to the Colorado Kid, I'm left thinking what next. Maybe elongated to a novella with more character development and increased conflict with the cast would ease my...more
Amy Strickland
Aug 26, 2011 Amy Strickland rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Amy by: Klout.com
This story was perfect at its length and pacing. Because it's Stephen King I knew something supernatural was coming, and maybe the promise of his reputation compelled me at first, but I was really curious to see what would happen to Pete at the start of the story. A ten-year-old boy going to an illegal teen hang-out spot to explore is foreboding enough without adding the element of horror.

This was a great story. I've never read any Stephen King before, but I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it a...more
Trudi
Avoid reading plot summary here on goodreads if possible. Too spoilery!! The less you know what to expect, so much the better.

Many readers have been underwhelmed by this one: too short to be a novella, too long to be considered a short story, King fans have been left feeling he'd written a tepid, and ultimately forgettable, little piece. The reception has been split though, because many other fans enjoyed it immensely. I am lucky enough to fall into the latter category. This story really gripped...more
T.L. Barrett
I don't give everything by Stephen King five stars, although he is the most consistently entertaining author alive today, IMHO. Here are some of the reasons that I gave this novella the gold prize: It reminded me of his best and funnest works in his old anthologies. It has all the elements of great everyday characters, everyday objects and situations that are turned on their head and gruesome horror. Is it brilliant? No, probably not, but it was pure and delicious entertainment. Many of the char...more
Tammy Walton Grant
You can debate for years about Stephen King's place in modern literature but you have to hand it to the man -- he's prolific as hell and has about the most distinctive voice ever heard in fiction. Whether you love him or hate him, you'll recognize his writing by about three paragraphs into whatever it is you're reading.

I'm one of the folks King calls his "Constant Readers" -- we've been together since I was a kid. I saw 'Salems Lot on tv in the 70s and immediately ran out and bought the book. I'...more
Michelle
A good short read. I found this to be a good story and it kept me involved. When it reached the end though, I felt a little like I was reading the ending of a different story. The ending didn't work for me. I think on the whole it did work for the story and kept it short and to the point. I felt that who I thought was the main character got lost when the car rolled on to the scene. While reading I was reminded of both From A Buick 8 and Christine.
Almeta
Listened to this version while motoring for four hours toward the great outdoors. Very entertaining. Glad the rest-stops along the way were well populated!
Jen
If you enjoyed Christine, you will definitely love Mile 81, as you will see that Mile 81 could be one of the places that Christine would have called home. But I will focus on the pure rush of adrenaline and terror that you will feel from the Mile.

Once the horror of the Mile pulls you in, you will not be able to leave this stretch of highway until the ride is over. The characters are fully sketched out and are very believable and you are made to care about them and hence to fear for their lives...more
Kipp Poe
Mile 81 by Stephen King started out with an engrossing driving force that takes you right into the story. King is great writing from a child's perspective. This short story brought me back to the thrill I got reading The Body (Stand By ME).
King is like the twisted and sick version of The Wonder Years.

The eBook is an Amazon exclusive Kindle Single that clocks in at 1072 locations, The books layout is very nice with chapter advancing but no TTS. Each chapter is the introduction of a new character...more
Edward Gordon
Mile 81 by Stephen King (Scribner, 2011), is simply ridiculous. Twice I stopped reading it to read a self-published debut horror novel by an unknown author.

It’s a long short story, more of a novella really, that details the events surrounding an abandon rest stop along I-95 at mile marker eighty-one. It begins with a ten-year-old boy who finds a bottle of Vodka therein, and we are treated to his thoughts in detail as he looks at pictures of naked women. Eventually he falls asleep and the story...more
sj
More reminiscent of From a Buick 8 than anything else, I think.

Delightfully meta (view spoiler) with its references to American Vampire and Christine, as well as a Whovian nod (pretty sure he was talking about The Impossible Planet, yeah?) this little story shows that King's strengths still lie in his short fiction.

I started reading this last night before bed, and even though I was immediately distracted by the fact that the eb...more
Kathy Jackson
Sep 02, 2011 Kathy Jackson rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All King fans
This book hardly qualifies for a real "book" because it is only 50 some pages long and costs a mere $2.99 from Barnes and Nobel. This is a book I was really looking forward to thinking it was a full length book so was disappointed in that.

The story is about an abandoned rest stop in Maine that has been boarded up to keep vandals out. A muddy station wagon pulls into the rest stop, knocking down the traffic barrels meant to keep people from doing just that. The driver's side door is ajar but no o...more
Larry Hoffer
Given Stephen King's penchant for 1000+-page novels, it was terrific to have a short story from him instead. Mile 81 is a short story released exclusively in e-book form, and it marks a return to the King of yesteryear, where "regular" people find themselves confronted with a completely horrifying situation.

At Mile 81 on the Maine Turnpike is a boarded-up rest stop. One day, young Pete Simmons goes exploring there, to prove to his older brother and his friends that he's just as capable of being...more
Tim
I got this one on my Kindle when it was released. This story reminds of "Night Shifts", which was a collection of short stories of Kings. This one would have fit right in there. It is an eerie story of about a horrific creature from who knows where that has the appearance of an American made station wagon. I suspect one day you may see this as a movie but personally I think it would be best if it remained a short story. This one would seem a bit hokey in movie form to me, but it works well as a...more
Rich Stoehr
"Mile 81" is a short story that reads very much like the "classic" King of the years of Night Shift or Skeleton Crew - and that comes with both good points and bad.

"Mile 81" is a reminder of King's mastery of the art of the setup. He takes an ordinary thing - say, for example, a mud-caked station wagon rolling to a stop just outside an abandoned rest area, it's driver door popping open just a bit - and turns it into something suspenseful, with that weird vibe that only King can get quite right....more
Andrew
It's Stephen King so it's obviously good. The only question is how good. The cast of characters is perhaps a bit larger than strictly necessary and there are a few moments that feel like it's trying too hard to be modern but that's not really so bad. There is one bit that feels like an add for AT&T and that is nigh unforgivable. Subtle product placement may enhance the experience in movies and television but not here. You've got a limited number of words in which to tell a story. I don't wan...more
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For the love of H...: Mile 81 3 7 Dec 08, 2013 07:36PM  
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Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father's family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, M...more
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