Shaun Lawton's Review Of "Stephen King, A Face Among The Masters."

This is a review by Shaun Lawton of my book, "Stephen King, A Face Among The Masters."  It is also posted at

If you've read the book, tell me what you think.

Here's  Shaun's review:

The Face Behind The Mask Revealed

Stephen King: A Face Among The Masters, by Brighton David Gardner, published earlier this year (2014) is a quite useful analysis of King's writing which I highly recommend to any one who loves to read fiction, regardless of whether they are a Stephen King fan or not.

To the "constant readers" of King, this overview of the author's history is indispensable. Gardner breaks his book down into eight chapters which trace King's development as a horror writer from his sensational first novel Carrie right up through his latest books.

One of the things that makes A Face Among The Masters such a great read is the fact the author himself is a "constant reader," and therefore very familiar with King's raison d'être. I myself who have been reading King since Salem's Lot was published gained a tremendous amount of insight into King's writing methodologies, thanks to Gardner's detailed analysis.

Gardner begins the book by describing King's extensive list of influences, among them past masters such as H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, and others. Gardner's keen insights really bring the reader into the shady realm that marks King's still evolving literary world. He also goes so far as to make a connection between King's novels and the films of Alfred Hitchcock by asking the reader to think about which Stephen King books would Hitchcock have loved to adapt. In this chapter, Gardner lists nine King books which would have made excellent Hitchcock movies; it's a compelling list and provides the reader with a lot of interesting insights.

Gardner goes on to associate King's writing style with the old television show The Twilight Zone, in Chapter 5. Once again the reader is guided by Gardner's deep knowledge of King towards understanding the integral connections the world's most famous horror author has with Rod Serling's classic TV series.

Chapter 6 guides the reader through the nearly forgotten world of radio plays, exemplified through the spooky narratives of Arch Oboler and Orson Welles. The various connections which Gardner makes between King's techniques and these old radio plays which held a nation in the grip of fear are wonderful and once again quite insightful.

Chapter 7: Dark Theologian is my favorite part of this book. In it, Gardner brings his extensive knowledge of theology to the table for what I consider to be the most enlightening chapter. He takes readers on a profound excursion focusing on the King novels The Green Mile, Pet Sematary, The Shining, Salem's Lot, The Stand, and The Dark Tower series. Brighton does a remarkable job of explaining to readers just how Stephen King has woven religious and spiritual themes into these narratives. The results are fascinating and represent one of the best reasons to read A Face Among The Masters.

In short, readers both familiar and unfamiliar with Stephen King's novels will find a motherlode of interesting information inside the pages of Brighton David Gardner's insightful and illuminating treatise. I can't recommend it enough, so be sure to get it either for your Kindle or e-Reader of choice, or buy the print version because it's easily worth twice the cover price.

If you're interested in learning more about Stephen King, be sure to visit Gardner's popular blog Talk Stephen King, you can Google it easily or just copy and paste the following url into your browser: -- and maybe I'll see you there in the comments section. Gardner started this blog devoted to all things Stephen King five years ago, and he shows no signs of stopping or even slowing down. There is a plethora of interesting posts archived already, with more coming almost on a daily basis.

One of the reasons for this is the happy fact that the subject of mutual interest here is Stephen King, clearly the best-selling and most popular horror writer of all time. Brighton David Gardner's excellent book explains just why that is in an approachable and easygoing manner, and proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Stephen King certainly does belong on the short list of the Grand Masters of literature, and may consider himself far more than just a mere horror writer or the "literary equivalent of a Big Mac." So don't hesitate to get your copy of Stephen King: A Face Among The Masters by Brighton David Gardner. I promise that you'll be glad you did.

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