Book Review: Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar

Name: Gwendy’s Button Box
Stephen King and Richard Chizmar
Number of Pages:
175 (Hardback)
May 16th 2017 by Cemetery Dance Publications
Genre: Horror, Fantasy, Mystery


The little town of Castle Rock, Maine has witnessed some strange events and unusual visitors over the years, but there is one story that has never been told… until now.
There are three ways up to Castle View from the town of Castle Rock: Route 117, Pleasant Road, and the Suicide Stairs. Every day in the summer of 1974 twelve-year-old Gwendy Peterson has taken the stairs, which are held by strong (if time-rusted) iron bolts and zig-zag up the cliffside.
At the top of the stairs, Gwendy catches her breath and listens to the shouts of the kids on the playground. From a bit farther away comes the chink of an aluminum bat hitting a baseball as the Senior League kids practice for the Labor Day charity game.
One day, a stranger calls to Gwendy: “Hey, girl. Come on over here for a bit. We ought to palaver, you and me.”
On a bench in the shade sits a man in black jeans, a black coat like for a suit, and a white shirt unbuttoned at the top. On his head is a small neat black hat. The time will come when Gwendy has nightmares about that hat…
Journey back to Castle Rock again in this chilling new novella by Stephen King, bestselling author of The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, and Richard Chizmar, award-winning author of A Long December. This book will be a Cemetery Dance Publications exclusive with no other editions currently planned anywhere in the world!     – from Goodreads

My Rating:

My Thoughts:

I devoured this entertaining, well-paced novella in a single afternoon.
It was my first visit to Castle Rock, Maine, the setting for a number of King novels, but it certainly won’t be my last (coincidentally I picked up Needful Things after I finished this, so I was straight back to Castle Rock).

Young Gwendy Peterson completes her usual run up the Suicide Stairs (she does not want the nickname Goodyear, like the blimp, as bestowed on her by some charming schoolmate), only to find a mysterious man in black (!) sitting at the top.

Richard Farris offers her the button box of the title, a mysterious box of untold powers. He charges her with the safekeeping of the box, and shows her which buttons will provide a delicious chocolate treat, or a valuable silver coin. The other buttons?  There are who knows what sort of tricks in store should she choose to press those, and consequences that may reach all across the world, so Gwendy steers clear of them.

Upon eating that first magical chocolate everything starts to go well for Gwendy. She can do no wrong, and failure just doesn’t happen. The owner of that box would certainly never be called Goodyear. All sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?

And it may be, for there’s always a temptation to experiment with the box, just to try it out, and see what happens if Gwendy did indeed press another button. What would the consequences be, and will the mysterious Richard Farris return and take the box back? And in the end, will Gwendy actually be glad to be rid of it?

An entertaining read and a good way to spend an afternoon. Now I’m off to Castle Rock again with Needful Things!


3 thoughts on “Book Review: Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar

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