I’ve read several short story collections from Stephen King. The Bazaar of Bad Dreams does not quite rank up with the better ones. While there are quality short stories in this collection, there isn’t the consistent quality that I would typically expect from King. The stories that tend to fall flat were the ones that he chose to use present tense narrative. King has traditionally kept his narratives in past tense, and it feels like he’s chasing a trend here instead of leading the pact. Examples of stories that I didn’t enjoy so much were “Ur” and “Herman Wouk is Still Alive”.
There were some gems in this collection as well. I really enjoyed “Blockade Billy”, a baseball mystery story. “Bad Little Kid” was a terrific story about this mean red-headed kid who ruins a man’s life, leading him to murder the little bastard, then being on the hook for murder. “Obits” had a fascinating concept about an internet writer who has the power to kill people by writing obituaries about them. “Drunken Fireworks” was a fun story about this drunken mother and son duo having a fireworks arms race against a wealthy family who lives across the lake from them. There were definitely more good than bad stories but there were more subpar ones than I am used to from a King collection. Still, there’s enough good in here that you will want to read this collection.