Gwendy’s Button Box (written with Stephen King)

Read an ExcerptRichard Chizmar | Stephen King

The little town of Castle Rock, Maine has witnessed some very strange events and unusual visitors over the years, but there is one story that has never been told … until now.

There are three ways up to Castle View from the town of Castle Rock: Route 117, Pleasant Road, and the Suicide Stairs. Every day in the summer of 1974 twelve-year-old Gwendy Peterson has taken the stairs, which are held by strong (if time-rusted) iron bolts and zig-zag up the cliffside.

At the top of the stairs, Gwendy catches her breath and listens to the shouts of the kids on the playground. From a bit farther away comes the chink of an aluminum bat hitting a baseball as the Senior League kids practice for the Labor Day charity game.

One day, a stranger calls to Gwendy: “Hey, girl. Come on over here for a bit. We ought to palaver, you and me.”

On a bench in the shade sits a man in black jeans, a black coat like for a suit, and a white shirt unbuttoned at the top. On his head is a small neat black hat. The time will come when Gwendy has nightmares about that hat. …

Journey back to Castle Rock again in this chilling new novella by Stephen King, bestselling author of The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, and Richard Chizmar, award-winning author of A Long December.

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Artist: Full color cover artwork by Ben Baldwin | Interior artwork by Keith Minnion
Published by: Cemetery Dance Publications
Publication Date: 2017

Praise & Reviews

“Readers will eagerly devour this thought-provoking, satisfying tale, even as it leaves them unsettled.”
Booklist starred review (read the whole review)

“This bite-size gem of a story packs quite a punch, and the only complaint readers will likely have is that it isn’t longer.”
Publishers Weekly (read the whole review)

“The way Chizmar combines the dread and fear induced by his plots with a poignancy and kindness of tone makes them memorable.”
Library Journal (read the whole review)

“Man, I love this story! The whole thing just races and feels so right-sized and so scarily and sadly relevant. Loved the characters … and the sense of one little girl’s connection to the whole world through this weird device. It all just sang.”
JJ Abrams

“Though the horror elements are effective, it’s Gwendy’s coming-of-age that truly resonates. Siff characterizes Farris as blandly likable but with intangible menace — listeners, like Gwendy, will be both wary and intrigued.”
AudioFile (read the whole review)

Gwendy’s Button Box is a fast and fun collaboration, at many points showcasing the best qualities of both its authors. Stephen King and Richard Chizmar have styles unique unto themselves. Together, however, their combined techniques prove simply delightful.”
Sechrest Things (read the whole review)

Gwendy’s Button Box is an incredibly quick read, coming in at 180 pages. The chapters are not long, but the real reason you can finish this book so quickly is the fact the story is so damn interesting. Once you start, you can’t put the book down.”
Reviews from the Mind of Tatlock (read the whole review)

“… a wonderful showcase for Richard Chizmar, an excellent author in his own right, who deserves to be much more widely-read than he currently is.”
Reader Dad—Book Reviews (read the whole review)

“Many may question how much Chizmar wrote in Gwendy’s Button Box, but if you have read A Long December, you won’t have any doubts as you can clearly see his skilled hand in this collaboration.”
RA for All (read the whole review)

“[T]he book is extremely well-paced and with not that many pages to turn, it’s a fun read that never loses momentum.”
USA Today (read the whole review)

“Chizmar, whose best short fiction was recently collected in “A Long December,” is an excellent writer with a clear affinity for King’s brand of storytelling, which includes a clear, idiomatic prose style and a flair for creating instantly recognizable characters.”
Washington Post (read the whole review)

“Need a little chill to cool off these hot summer days? Gwendy may do the trick.”
Daily Heraald (read the whole review)

“It had to have been one of the most well-written horror stories I have read in a long time, and the collaboration between King and Chizmar was truly amazing.”
Cutting Edge Horror (read the whole review)

“It’s a thoroughly enjoyable story, and I hope that it’s just the first of many such collaborations between the pair. Praise is also due to the terrific illustrations – Ben Baldwin’s cover and Keith Minnion’s monochrome interior pictures add to the air of unease that surrounds the tale.”
Sci-Fi Bulletin (read the whole review)

Gwendy’s Button Box is the perfect summer dose of Stephen King. It’s a quick read, good for an afternoon on the beach, or a night when the clouds burst in a surprise thunderstorm. It’s a worthy entry in the master of horror’s short-form catalog.”
The Geekiverse (read the whole review)

“If this is how King and Chizmar work together?  I’m hoping this will be the start of a beautiful friendship.”
Green Man Review (read the whole review)

“The writing is seamless, but I absolutely loved the concept of the story itself. I was captivated from the very first word; I blew through the whole story in one sitting.”
Sterling Journal-Advocate (read the whole review)

“The writing is astonishingly good, and never loses your attention, using the techniques honed by both writers over the years, ever since King’s wife retrieved his first novel out of the trash, and Chizmar struggled writing first stories that led to his magazine Cemetery Dance.” — Audiobooks Today (read the whole review)

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