Elevation: Stephen King
Reviewed by Steve Stred
Elevation is the very first Stephen King book I have ever owned on day one. Growing up I used to borrow my neighbour Patty’s books and then graduated to borrowing them from our local library. This was well before the internet became a thing and we could access things easier.
We didn’t have a local book store for many years, and when I started living on my own, I typically couldn’t afford the hardcover’s when released. So I would wait a few months until the paperback came out.
That changed with Elevation. I preordered it for my kindle (I still haven’t ordered The Outsider) when it was announced and was giddy with excitement when it loaded on release day. I dove into it and devoured it. Finished it in two sittings and smiled the entire time.
Going in I had two things front of mind;
1 – it is a novella. Only 160 pages or so, so I expected a quick read. I expected King to gloss over some details and focus more on the basic plot points. I approached this as though it was a 60 minute TV episode versus a full length movie he typically writes.
2 – I expected it to be topical and would touch on the current political climate in the US. If you follow King on twitter (@StephenKing) you know he is outspoken, and frankly he is at a point in his literary career where he doesn’t need to market himself.
The story is straight forward and as expected has a number of references to his works, which is great for his constant readers, but doesn’t make it exclusive. A first time reader won’t miss out by not finding or knowing them. The plot is essentially two parts; our main character and his odd medical condition, and the changing landscape of the town of Castle Rock and it’s inhabitants.
Some folks will read it as just a story, as I did. I focused on a man wanting to become friends with his neighbours and to help them feel included in the town and be successful.
Others may focus on the idea of a male attempting to “save” a lesbian couple and help them be included.
I personally enjoyed the main character wanting to help his fellow humans out, all the while struggling with his own internal turmoil.
When this ended and all was said and done, I found the ending helped the main character find an answer to his situation, and I was onboard with the finale.
For me, as a life long King fan, I really did enjoy this tale. I don’t expect King to write literature that will change the world. I expect him to entertain me and to dangle that carrot of intrigue in front of my eyes and pull the string attached to it ever so slightly as the story goes on. And in this case I found him to be very successful in his execution of just that.
Star Rating (out of 5): 5*
Castle Rock is a small town, where word gets around quickly. That’s why Scott Carey wants to confide only in his friend Doctor Bob Ellis about his strange condition: he’s losing weight, without getting thinner, and the scales register the same when he is in his clothes or out of them, however heavy they are.
Scott also has new neighbours, who have opened a ‘fine dining experience’ in town, although it’s an experience being shunned by the locals; Deidre McComb and her wife Missy Donaldson don’t exactly fit in with the community’s expectations. And now Scott seems trapped in a feud with the couple over their dogs dropping their business on his lawn. Missy may be friendly, but Deidre is cold as ice.
As the town prepares for its annual Thanksgiving 12k run, Scott starts to understand the prejudices his neighbours face and he tries to help. Unlikely alliances form and the mystery of Scott’s affliction brings out the best in people who have indulged the worst in themselves and others.
Steve Stred is an up-an-coming Dark Horror author. Steve is the author of the novel Invisible, the novellas Wagon Buddy, Yuri and Jane: the 816 Chronicles and two collections of short stories; Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery and Left Hand Path: 13 More Tales of Black Magick.
Steve also has a number of works on the go and enjoys all this horror, occult, supernatural and paranormal.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog Oj.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
You can visit Steve’s Official Website here