Stephen King stopped in Salt Lake City Friday night as a part of his nationwide tour to promote “End of Watch,” the final installment in his Bill Hodges detective trilogy.
He had one sound piece of advice for the 1,400 in attendance: “Reading should be dangerous.”
He meant it in a helpful way. During his close to 90-minute speech on Friday night at Juan Diego Catholic High School, King recounted much of his early history as an author and how his books have helped tell stories — what he calls one of the finest ways of entertainment — and inspired him to be a writer and embrace the art of storytelling.
Though his speech included curse words and mature dialogue, King didn’t shy away from talking about family, either. He explained how two of his sons are authors, including his son who goes by the name Joe Hill, who has recently reached the New York Times best-seller list.
“I want all of you to go out and buy his book,” King said. “But before you do that, go out and buy more of my books.”
He also talked about how some critics ask him about his childhood and what went so wrong that made him such a mature and twisted writer.
“I had a normal childhood,” he said. “But did anyone here really have a real childhood?”
After King told tales of eating dinner with Bruce Springsteen and being mistaken for Steven Spielberg, he took questions from the audience. It was then that he admitted his favorite candy bar was Snickers — although “sometimes when no one’s looking, maybe a Kit Kat,” he said — and that his recent movie project, “The Dark Tower,” is moving along well.
He closed with a discussion about how “Carrie” — a novel about a bullied teen with psychic powers — told a true tale of bullying in America today.
“I should know, I went to high school, too,” he said.
When King left the stage, members of the audience were invited to pick up copies of “End of Watch” — 400 of which were signed and released at random.
Readers screamed in excitement when they saw his name scribed across the front of the book, and many left with smiles.
Not dangerous at all.
Herb Scribner is a writer for Deseret Digital Media.