First published in 2002, in Stephen King’s horror novel From a Buick 8 the author revisits the familiar ground of a supernatural car, which he first visited to great effect in his 1983 novel Christine.
Although the book is a self-contained novel, many people do consider it to be a part of The Dark Tower series. There is a mysterious man in black in From a Buick 8 who could well be Randall Flagg and there are other potential links between From a Buick 8 and The Dark Tower Series.
It was announced in 2005 that there would be a film adaptation of From a Buick 8, but that has yet to come to anything. George A Romero was initially selected as the director, but he was then replaced by Tobe Hooper. Production of a movie version came to a halt in 2009, due to financing issues.
Troopers in Pennsylvania isolated a Buick in their Shed B. The Buick was reported as abandoned at a gas station in 1979. Those who brought it to the shed died a gruesome death, or vanished. Solving its mystery was the inherent need for all members of Trooper D, but, as would be expected, there was a great fear underlying this mission. The conflict between fear and courage that transcends the generations to solve supernatural mystery is depicted in this novel in Stephen King’s inimitable style.
The story begins with two troopers, Curtis Wilcox, and Ernis Rafferty, from Troop D of a village in Pennsylvania receiving information about an abandoned Buick 8. It was found near a gas station. The driver of the Vehicle mysteriously disappeared. The two troopers bring it back, and soon one of them; Rafferty, disappears.
The vehicle exhibits strange characteristics. Its steering wheel does not move. The wires of ignition are not linked as they are in the similar Buick Roadmaster. Its dashboard has instruments which are merely decorational pieces. There are no moving parts in the engine of this mysterious car either. Yet, it can do many strange things such as repair itself or clean up any debris or dirt that may land on it. The car also caused small quakes which the troopers referred to as “lightquakes”. At times, it caused a purple light flashing. Such light projections from this strange vehicle sometimes led to strange plants sprouting up, or even animals.
The troopers once picked up an escaped convict, Brian Lippy, who too disappeared around the Buick 8. The supernatural attributes of this car kept Curtis Wilcox and others puzzled, and obviously, fearful. There were speculations rife about the vehicle being a type of conduit between two worlds. Wilcox knew something about Buicks and similar vehicles, so he was also keen on understanding what they had brought back on that fateful day. But fate denied him a chance. Curtis was killed in 2001, in what can be described as a gruesome accident involving an automobile.
Curtis’ young son, Ned, only about 18 at the time, somehow felt Buick 8 had something to do with the death of his dad. His conviction arose from the fact that the helper at the gas station, who had reported the presence of the abandoned car, was later convicted for fratricide.
There were one crime too many happening and all had some link to Buick 8. Unable to find answers, the troopers had moved on, but had not really closed the file on the mysterious car. It was commanding sergeant Sandy Dearborn, who revealed much of the information in the possession of Trooper D, relating to the Buick 8, to Curtis’ son Ned.
Dearborn then went on doing his job, while Ned mulled over what could be done. Before long, however, Dearborn realized that Ned possibly wanted to destroy the car, while the car possibly had similar plans in store for Ned. Realizing the impending danger for young Ned, Dearborn returned to office, and rushed to the shed, where the Troop D kept the Buick 8.
Dearborn found Ned inside the vehicle. He had poured gasoline beneath it, and wanted to light it up. Dearborn was able to drag Ned out from the vehicle, but the vehicle suddenly took the form of a portal, and even attempted to suck in both Ned, as well as Dearborn, into that funnel. Other troopers soon realize that something is amiss, and rush in to help the duo.
Inside the portal, Dearborn identifies the belongings of the missing convict, as well as Rafferty, before the other troopers are able to pull him out.
The car soon loses its magical and unexplained powers as understood by the troopers, because its cracked windshield is no longer repaired.
The storyline is intriguing, and each page keeps people guessing what is going to happen next. As is the norm with Stephen King’s novels, readers will be left wondering why certain things happened, and still it is difficult to reach a conclusion or a realistic answer. This story certainly excels at this as there is so much mystery and amazing occurrences throughout it, which one will surely end up holding his or her breath while trying to find an answer to the mysterious events.