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If it Bleeds is the 75th book published by Stephen King, his eleventh collection of stories, released in April 21, 2020 by Scribner. The book is part of The Hodges/Gibney metaseries.


Synopsis

A collection of four stories:

Mr. Harrigan’s Phone

A teenager finds that a dead friend's cell phone that was buried with the body still communicates from beyond the grave.

Craig gets a job working for the retired Mr. Harrigan when he's just nine years old, watering plants and reading to the old man, who has retired to the small town of Harlow, Maine, after a successful business career, earning millions in cash. As the years go on, Craig buys an iPhone for Mr. Harrigan as a thank you gift after a scratch-off lotto ticket that Harrigan had gifted the boy pays off as he got thousands from the scratch-off. The old man is reluctant to accept the phone at first, but comes to enjoy it. When Mr. Harrigan dies, Craig places the phone in his pocket to be buried with him. One night, missing his friend, he leaves a voice message. To his shock, he gets a text in return. Craig will learn that not everything dead is gone.

The Life of Chuck

As the world around him crumbles into oblivion, a man realizes that he contains multitudes.

A story told in reverse, starting with the end of Chuck Krantz's life, and moving back in time to show how he'd lived that life of joy and yet sorrow.

If it Bleeds

Holly Gibney of the Finders Keepers detective agency is working on the case of a missing dog when she sees footage of a school bombing on TV. But when she tunes in again, to the late-night report, she realizes there is something not quite right about the correspondent who was first on the scene. Soon, she will find that she is not the only one to have suspicions about the reporter.

Rat

The story centers on a writer named Drew Larson with an acclaimed short story to his credit. He's given himself over to academia because every time he tries to turn a good idea into a novel, things go seriously bad – mentally, physically, or both. But his latest concept, a Western thriller, is gangbusters, and he goes out to an old family cabin in the woods to get the novel done. When storms, insecurities, and sickness hit, Drew strikes a sinister bargain with a rat that turns out to be a thought-provoking spin on a "Monkey's Paw" situation. The rat offers to get rid of his writer's block in exchange for one of Larson's loved ones dying. Thinking that Larson's imagination is getting the best of him he agrees and goes about his day. Finally, when the storm clears Larson returns home to his family.

Excerpt

In January of 2021, a small padded envelope addressed to Detective Ralph Anderson is delivered to the Conrads, the Andersons’ next-door neighbors. The Anderson family is on an extended vacation in the Bahamas, thanks to an endless teachers’ strike in the Andersons’ home county. (Ralph insisted that his son Derek bring his books, which Derek termed “a grotesque bummer.”) The Conrads have agreed to forward their mail until the Andersons return to Flint City, but printed on this envelope, in large letters, is DO NOT FORWARD HOLD FOR ARRIVAL. When Ralph opens the package, he finds a flash drive titled If It Bleeds, presumably referring to the old news trope which proclaims “If it bleeds, it leads.” The drive contains two items. One is a folder containing photographs and audio spectrograms. The other is a kind of report, or spoken-word diary, from Holly Gibney, with whom the detective shared a case that began in Oklahoma and ended in a Texas cave. It was a case that changed Ralph Anderson’s perception of reality forever. The final words of Holly’s audio report are from an entry dated December 19th, 2020. She sounds out of breath.

I have done the best I can, Ralph, but it may not be enough. In spite of all my planning there’s a chance I won’t come out of this alive. If that’s the case, I need you to know how much your friendship has meant to me. If I do die, and you choose to continue what I’ve started, please be careful. You have a wife and son.

The Hodges/Gibney metaseries
Novels Mr. MercedesFinders KeepersEnd of WatchThe Outsider
Short stories If it Bleeds
Adaptations Mr. Mercedes (TV Series)The Outsider (TV Series)
Characters Bill HodgesHolly GibneyJerome Robinson
Brady Hartsfield
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