Legendary storyteller Stephen King reads the first chapter of his next book, If It Bleeds, in a worldwide premiere on YouTube. Check out the video below for an exclusive sneak peek at this brand-new novella collection, which will be released on April 21 from ViacomCBS sister company Simon & Schuster.

Stephen King has published more than sixty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. Now the #1 New York Times bestselling author and master of short fiction has written an extraordinary collection of four new and compelling novellas: “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone,” “The Life of Chuck,” “Rat,” and the title story, “If It Bleeds.”

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Just as impactful and enduring as his longer fiction, King’s short stories are their own dark treat. His full range is on display once again with If It Bleeds, which offers readers four more works sure to prove as iconic as their predecessors. In the title story, reader favorite Holly Gibney (from the Mr. Mercedes trilogy and The Outsider) must face her fears, and possibly another outsider—this time on her own. In “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone” an intergenerational friendship has a disturbing afterlife. “The Life of Chuck” explores, beautifully, how each of us contains multitudes. And in “Rat,” a struggling writer must contend with the darker side of ambition.

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If these stories exhibit King’s creative depths, they also prove that certain themes endure. One of King’s great concerns is evil, and in If It Bleeds, there’s plenty of it, imagined in the title story as “a big bird, all frowsy and frosty grey.” There is also evil’s opposite, which in King’s fiction often manifests as friendship. In these stories, Holly Gibney is reminded that friendship is not only life-affirming but can be life-saving.

King also reminds us that life’s quotidian pleasures are even more glorious because they are fleeting: the outrageous good fortune of a beautiful blue day after a string of grey ones; the delight of dancing really well, when every move feels perfect; a serendipitous meeting. It’s in these moments that King’s ability to describe pure joy rivals his ability to terrify us.

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Don’t miss If It Bleedsout on April 21 wherever books are sold.