Stranger Things, TV Series, 2016(Netflix)

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Once in a while a series comes along that hits all the right spots. This eight part sci-fi show, on Netflix, does just that.
Set in 1983, in a small town in Indiana, a 12 year old boy goes missing on his way home after spending the evening playing Dungeons and Dragons with his friends. During the eight episodes, spent trying to work out what happened to him, it references many science fiction films, horror story books, and conspiracy theory TV series that you can remember from the intervening period.
The story is pulpy, which is just as it should be, but it is gripping – always making you want to know what the next episode will bring. The cast is great, Winona Ryder is perfect as the distressed mother and her interaction with David Harbour as the town sheriff is a joy. The dialogue is witty and knowing, and the soundtrack is spot on.
What made this series stand out for me, was all the nostalgic homages throughout the show; a set piece from ET,  a scene from Stand By Me, quotes from the Exorcist,  bedroom posters from 1980s horror films, people reading and talking about Stephen King books. The whole series is peppered with these references and spotting them added an extra dimension to our enjoyment of the show.
This is a great addition to the Netflix cannon, and if you are looking for easy, absorbing escapism, I recommend Stranger Things.

Finders Keepers (Stephen King) 2015

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It is hard to believe that this is Stephen King’s 55th book.
If you know his novels, then you will have a pretty good idea of what to expect in this one. It is well written, has a quick moving, good storyline and the characters and their motivation are all very believable. He has a wonderful ability to keep the reader engaged and wanting to know what happens next.
This book is in his horror, creepy, thriller style. One of my favourite things about his writing is that he manages to write horror stories without being overly gory. There is death and violence here, but it slightly less graphic in its description than is common in many novels, currently.
He also does fantasy type novels, see his Dark Tower series if you are a fan of this genre, they are pretty good.
Finders, Keepers is story driven, it probably won’t have you thinking about the meaning of life, but it will definitely keep you entertained while you read it and it will be difficult to put down once you have got to know the characters inside.