I have been a Stephen King fan for a long time, and his short stories, like his novels, vary a lot in quality. This collection, read by the author himself, is unified by the odd theme of smoking. Cigarettes play a part in each story, though only incidentally.
The three stories are:Lunch at the Gotham Cafe
The weakest of the bunch. A man meets his soon-to-be-ex-wife and her lawyer at a cafe, and the Maitre D' goes nuts and tries to kill them. King is able to make ordinary characters interesting in extraordinary circumstances, and he has a real fondness for depicting the truly screwloose nature of those who have dangerously lost their connection with reality, but the story itself didn't do much.1408
A writer is determined to spend the night in a haunted hotel room. He's a skeptic, he's researched the heck out of it, he's spent the night in lots of haunted places, and the hotel manager does his best to talk him out of it, in reasonable, down to earth terms, but the writer isn't having any of it. King is always writing a bit of himself as character when he uses writer protagonists, and he seems to particularly enjoy making his author inserts go crazypants before mauling or setting them on fire for good measure. This was a moderately scary story, though below par for King, which reminded me a lot of H.G. Wells' The Red Room
I'll have to check out the movie.In the Deathroom
An American journalist has been arrested to be interrogated/tortured in some South American country, and he's brought to an interrogation room featuring creepy adversaries and a chilling torture advice. The ending is a bit Jason Bourne, but still a decent story for its length.
This collection is nothing special, but it's worth reading/listening to, like most of King's work.