Four Past Midnight is a set of four Stephen King novellas in a single wrapper, each with a different way of scaring readers.
The first novella, “The Langoliers,” takes a science fiction approach. In it, 11 passengers on a flight from L.A. to Boston wake to find they’ve slipped into a people-less world where they are the likely next victims of some unseen menace eating its way across America.
In the “Secret Window, Secret Garden,” a novelist is menaced by someone who claims the novelist stole his story.
“The Library Policeman” turns a child’s fear of what will happen if library books aren’t returned on time into a tale of a real monster who sexually abuses children while maintaining the guise of something other-worldly.
“The Sun Dog” is a tale of technology: A Polaroid camera takes photographs of objects that aren’t visible to the naked eye.
King is at his best in the stories that open with situations that make adult readers uncomfortable. “Secret Window” revolves around a perennial problem for fiction writers: Is their work really original? The “Library” story opens with a man who is picked at the last minute to give a speech to Rotary and has to ask the librarian for help.
Four Past Midnight by Stephen King
Viking, ©1990. 763 p.
1990 bestseller #2; my grade: C+
©2020 Linda G. Aragoni