The Best of Richard Matheson by Richard Matheson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Best of Richard Matheson is a collection of 32 of Matheson's best.
Around the turn of the century, I was enduring the agonizing gulf between Dark Tower books four and five when the local bookstore owner turned me on to Richard Matheson, saying he was one of Stephen King's biggest influences. After devouring one of his westerns and I Am Legend and Other Stories, I was hooked.
After a creepy introduction by Victor LaValle, we're treated to many of Matheson's iconic tales, some of which were turned into Twilight Zone episodes or adapted to TV or film in other ways. Many of the greats are here: Button, Button, Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, Duel, Third from the Sun, as well as others I'd never read before, like The Prisoner, Big Surprise, and Mute.
It's funny that Matheson's is one of Stephen King's influences in that their writing isn't all that similar. Where King's prose is overly verbose at times, Matheson's is more like a sharpened knife. He cuts you hard and deep, knowing just how to hurt you the most. He knew just how to let the suspense build, like a pressure cooker. It's no wonder many of his stories were adapted for the Twilight Zone and other shows. Richard Matheson was the master of the twist ending.
The Best of Richard Matheson is a must read for anyone who likes suspenseful short stories, fans of the Twilight Zone, or Stephen King fans interested at getting a peek at some Kingly lineage. Four out of five stars.
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