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The Road Virus Heads North: A Good Quick Read, If You Like Horror

Updated on February 21, 2016

Review of The Road Virus Heads North By Stephen King


Stephen King’s The Road Virus Heads North

Overall Rating: A Good Short Scary Read

Okay. If you been reading my blogs, then you may have noticed I'm not a big horror fan. They just don't scare me. The books try to be suspenseful and I get bored, or they try to be spooky and its just cheesy. And sometimes, the big bad monster will pop up and the whole story will just get silly. So I'm clearly not demographic for horror novels, which is so odd because I love scary movies so much. Because of this, I will always give horror books (or in this case a short story) a shot. So for this review, its the short story The Road Virus Heads North by Stephen King.


The Road Virus Heads North is not truly a novel and is only a short story about fifteen pages long. It can be found online and is in his short story collections. I found it in Everything’s Eventual. But what is it about? The story follows a horror author Robert Kinnell. While driving home one day, he stops at a yard sale. There he buys a gruesome painting that he is attracted by some unknown force. At the yard sale woman there tells him about the fate of the painter and how he went insane and destroyed nearly all of his paintings before he died. So following the traditional Horror 101 cliche, Robert is stupid and buys it anyway.The story chronicles his trip home. Along the way, he becomes filled with dread and encounters some unsettling things. He soon begins to believe that the painting is cursed.

So let's get going for the good and bad? Let's start with the bad. This story is not scary. It tries to be a thriller, but fails miserably. The story goes solely for suspense and focuses on Robert questioning himself a lot. The story drags in the middle a lot. It is trying its hardest to build up suspense, but ultimately end up boring the reader. Also there were a couple scenes that were unrealistic. I mean it was so unrealistic that it bugged me. I know many people may love Stephen King and defend him a lot, but, he strays from reality a lot. It is one of my pet peeves about Stephen King, so I won't ramble on about that.

The good? The end is great. The ending is creepy and I loved it. It leaves the reader on a cliffhanger, letting the reader imagine do the rest. It does it in a smart way leaving this sense of unknown and dread. It was a great move and it was done so well. I have seen other authors try the same thing, and end up with poor results. But this was done right. It forces the reader to use their imagination to figure things out. Also there were a couple bits that seemed so unrealistic that I was like, oh come on!

So overall it’s good quick read. Its not the greatest read, but for any reader this is the sort of read that anyone can appreciate. The story is a good read for anyone who likes horror. It is also a wonderful read if you are a Stephen King fan.

Rating: 2 ½ Smoothies out of four.

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