In 1970, a car stops at a gas station in the small western
Pennsylvania town of Statler. The driver asks the
attendant to fill up before he disappears in the vicinity
of the bathroom. When the customer fails to return, the
attendant calls the state troopers. Troop D company
impounds the vehicle and takes it to shed B as they realize
that this car is dangerous and not of this world.
In 2001, a drunk driver kills Trooper Curt Wilco. His son
Ned starts hanging around D Troop and Curt's peers take
care of him. It's only a matter of time before he sees the
1957 Buick in Shed B. The troopers all take turns telling
the high school senior what the car has done over the years
including causing one trooper to disappear. It
periodically gives off a weird light show and from time to
time it regurgitates strange objects and life forms. Ned
becomes caught up in the story as deeply as his father was
enthralled by the car.
It is always amazing how Stephen king can take an ordinary
object like a car and twist it into such a frightening
terror that readers will never be able to forget it.
The '57 Buick is more than just a car, but what it
becomes is the subject of reader imagination. The structure
of FROM A BUICK 8 is absorbing as each trooper tells Ned
about his dealings with "the car" leading the audience to
think twice before entering a strange vehicle.
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted August 9, 2002
The state police of Troop D in rural Pennsylvania have kept
a secret in Shed B out back of the barracks ever since 1979,
when Troopers Ennis Rafferty and Curtis Wilcox answered a
call from a gas station just down the road and came back
with an abandoned Buick Roadmaster. Curt Wilcox knew old
cars, and he knew immediately that this one was...wrong,
just wrong. A few hours later, when Rafferty vanished,
Wilcox and his fellow troopers knew the car was worse than
dangerous -- and that it would be better if John Q. Public
never found out about it.
Curt's avid curiosity taking the lead, they investigated as
best they could, as much as they dared. Over the years the
troop absorbed the mystery as part of the background to
their work, the Buick 8 sitting out there like a still life
painting that breathes -- inhaling a little bit of this
world, exhaling a little bit of whatever world it came from.
In the fall of 2001, a few months after Curt Wilcox is
killed in a gruesome auto accident, his 18-year-old boy Ned
starts coming by the barracks, mowing the lawn, washing
windows, shoveling snow. Sandy Dearborn, Sergeant
Commanding, knows it's the boy's way of holding onto his
father, and Ned is allowed to become part of the Troop D
family. One day he looks in the window of Shed B and
discovers the family secret. Like his father, Ned wants
answers, and the secret begins to stir, not only in the
minds and hearts of the veteran troopers who surround him,
but in Shed B as well....
From a Buick 8 is a novel about our fascination with deadly
things, about our insistence on answers when there are none,
about terror and courage in the face of the unknowable.