• Jessica Sherry

If it Bleeds (Then, I will read it): Audiobook Review

Audiobook Review: If It Bleeds by (the master) Stephen King


Cue Wayne & Garth: I’m not worthy. I’m not worthy.


Note: there are hints, not spoilers.


At a smidge over fifteen hours of listening time, I was hesitant to spend my audible credit on this bulky read. I listen to audiobooks when I go walking, so at around fifty minutes a day, five days a week, if I’m lucky—yikes, math—it’d take me several weeks to get through it. But, my brother recommended it. While I’m not the fan he is (he’s a SK nerd, like seriously--it may be time for an intervention), I do enjoy King. Mostly. His book On Writing is my favorite book about writing of ALL TIME. Hmmm, maybe I should reread it, again, and add that review to my blog…. Later.


Anyway, If It Bleeds is a compilation of four creepy novellas, the star being the title story, which brings back all our favs from the Mr. Mercedes series. Yay, Holly Gibney! Fortunately, I’ve read Mr. Mercedes, so that gave me a leg-up on these reprised characters, but you can surely come into this book as a King newbie. The stories each have a modern-day Twilight Zone feel making you think about things like… is dead really dead? How will the world end? What even is the world anyway? Why do people do evil things? And, damn, are writers really so weird and desperate? Short answer to that last one… um, yes. That one hit uncomfortably close to home. Anyway, each story captured me in different ways without making me cringe—too much.


Reading this pairs nicely with my new favorite slow jam If the World Was Ending ft. Julia Michaels AND a glass of Pinot. A funny coincidence that this song became popular as I was reading it.

ALSO, around the time I read this, signs appeared all over my neighborhood. Happy Retirement Kevin! It's a sweet story if you care to read, but also a strange coincidence given one of the stories. Wink.


Anyway, King isn’t an author I read often because his story content sometimes disturbs me—Mr. Mercedes is a good example—and, yes, I know that’s kinda the point of reading horror, and yes, I’m a dumb, diaper baby, but I’m easily creeped out, okay? Whatever. Don’t make a big deal about it. The point is, If It Bleeds didn’t bother my babyish sensitivities. Each story perked my curiosity and wonder in a way that hasn’t happened in a while. Like, it’s been crickets up there. I found myself thinking about the tales long after my walks. AND, I started listening while fixing dinner, putting on my make-up, and cleaning the house. Hell, I finally bothered to sync my phone in my car (Abby helped), so I could listen while driving. I added on extra listening time not to get through it, but because it had me hooked. Like seriously. Through the jaw. And when the fifteen hours were over, sniff, I wanted more.


As if he knew that, King bookended his novel with an intriguing look inside his process for each tale which got my writer-senses tingling. It’s fascinating to learn how the ideas came together for him. The peek inside King’s mind palace encouraged me to think—crazily—he and I aren’t so different, and I need to get writing.


Many praises, as well, to the vocal performances of Danny Burstein, Steven Weber, and especially Will Patton. Mr. Patton, a King fav, read two out of the four stories, my two favorites: Mr. Harrigan’s Phone & If It Bleeds. Now, I want him to read every audiobook I listen to for how expertly he performed it. Seriously, seriously good. Like, if he performed an audiobook of the dictionary, I’d spend another audible credit and listen to his buttery definitions as I fall asleep at night. Then, Mr. Harrigan and perhaps Holly Gibney would visit me in my dreams, and we’d all go to prom together. But then, that girl everyone always bullies would go psycho with her psychic powers and… oh wait, that’s another story.


So, if you’re looking for something hella-interesting but not too scary, you’ll enjoy If It Bleeds.


Released this year, it must’ve been written well before the pandemic hit. I’m excited, maybe a little terrified, to see what King does with all this madness. It’s right in his wheelhouse. But, of course, what isn’t?


Want to know what else I'm reading? Check out my homepage at www.coffeebrained.com.


Now go. Learn a book. And if you have any book recommendations, share below. I have audible credits to use and walking to do, so…

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