One of the hundred books a year I read:

One of the hundred books a year I read:

Stephen King 1922


Stephen King

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Wilf James lives a hard scrabble life as a Nebraska farmer squeezing a living out of his 80 acres. His wife, Arlene, owns an additional 100 acres of land inherited from her father, but wants to sell it to a hog farming corporation to finance her dream of moving to a city. Wilf’s choices are bleak: sell both pieces of land and move with her to the city and be miserable or stay alone farming, but now downwind of a hog farm.

He choses a third option, murdering his wife. He enlists their fourteen-year-old son, Henry, to assist in his plan. As Stephen King does so well, when Wilf gets what he always thought he wanted, he discovers that the price is entirely too high.

Henry spirals downward in depression, buoyed only by his love of the neighboring farmer’s daughter. Their relationship creates friction between Wilf and the girl’s father, one of the county’s most successful and powerful farmers.

The hog farming corporation, angered over their inability to acquire the land they wanted, dispatch their attorneys who connive their revenge.

The sheriff is suspicious and continues to nose around Arlene’s disappearance.

More than anything, the rats torment Wilf. Yes, rats. Stephen King does not disappoint with the rats.

This novella first appeared in the Full Dark, No Stars collection.

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