Gwendy’s Button Box – Book Review (Stephen King and Richard Chizmar)

I was a bit late to the Stephen King fan club. I owned most of his books, but I never found the time to read any, that was until last summer. I cracked open The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, and since then, my love of King has quadrupled. I immediately dived into The Dark Tower series, devouring all the books in a few months. From there, I went into IT, Eyes of the Dragon, Salem’s Lot, Misery and so on. My point is, I fell in love with King’s work and any chance I can get to check out something new by him, I do right away. When Cemetery Dance Publications announced the upcoming release of Gwendy’s Button Box, a novella written by King and Richard Chizmar, I knew I had to read it. After getting my hands on a reader copy, I blasted my way through the book.

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.

The story takes place in the infamous town of Castle Rock (other popular books that take place there are The Dead Zone, The Body, Needful Things and The Dark Half) and features our titular character Gwendy meeting a mysterious man in black, called Richard Farris. Yes, his initials are RF, and he beckons to Gwendy to come palaver with him and if that doesn’t scream The Dark Tower connection…

Gwendy talks with Mr Farris and he offers her a gift, a button box. On the box are a row of buttons and on the side, levers. The box is one of many mysteries that Gwendy will soon discover as she grows older and continues to protect the box.

If I told you any more of what happens, I would be spoiling some of the fun stuff that is ahead of you when you decide to pick up this book and pick up this book, you will!

Gwendy’s Button Box has all the usual trappings of what we like from Stephen King and even though I haven’t read any of Richard Chizmar’s other work, his work in this book blends into King’s as if the two are one. There is no need to worry about clashing writing styles.

If I was to throw anything negative towards this fun read, the only thing I can think of is the length. It goes by so quickly; you barely have time to register that you just finished the book. You will beg for more, but alas there is no more. Of course, that to me is a considered a positive when we are talking about a book. If a book leaves me begging for one or two more chapters with the characters and story, you have a hit on your hands.

It is possible some fans will frown at the use of Castle Rock as only a backdrop, instead of the central “character” it usually plays in his other works. Castle Rock in this book just happens to be where Gwendy lives; nothing more, nothing less.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I 100% recommend you pick up Gwendy’s Button Box. The hardcover release from Cemetary Dance Production will be limited, but will come with these bonuses:

• Printed on acid-free paper
• Bound in cloth with colored head and tail bands
• Featuring hot foil stamping on the front boards and spine
• Wrapped in a full-color dust jacket

The asking price is $25, and although it may seem steep for the length of the story, the enjoyment obtained within those 180 acid-free pages is enough to warrant slapping your money down for it. Buy it!

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