Stephen King certainly knows how to torture his protagonists. ‘The Gingerbread Girl’ (published in Just After Sunset) is the story of a mourning mother fighting for her life to escape from a serial killer who has trapped her in a deserted house in the Florida Keys. The snowbirds have all gone home for the summer, and there’s no one there to hear her scream.
Though this story – on its surface – is about a frantic fight for survival, it’s also a story about grief, and how grief prepares us for life’s terrifying moments. The main character, Emily, has just lost an infant daughter to crib death, and she takes up running to deal with her pain. The obsessive running pushes her husband away, and dives her to her father’s empty winter home in Florida, where she runs, and runs, and runs.
Little does she know that the running has prepared her for something else entirely. It’s prepared her to fight for her life. Thank God it has, because King put one of his most psychotic villains on the page – a madman murderer who with no reason to believe he can be beaten. The uber-confidence of Emily’s captor heightens his evil, and creates an incredibly tense and exhausting story.
You can skip the gym and just read this today.
Trey Wydysh is The Geekiverse’s resident Stephen King superfan. You can find all of our 31 Days Of Stephen King posts here. Got a King question? Looking for a recommendation? Feel free to ask Trey on Twitter.
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