This is Halloween week, when monsters scuttle about. What could be more appropriate than to pen an appreciation of the most successful horror writer in recent history, Stephen King. His books have sold more than 350 million copies. Films based on his work have grossed over $2 billion -- and that’s not counting the zanily entertaining “It,” released this fall, which by itself has earned over $666 million worldwide. And despite at least two announced retirements and an enforced convalescence following an accident, King, who turned 70 in September, shows no signs of slowing down.I’ve been a faithful fan for most of my adult life. I’m not going to claim that I have read every book, story or essay King has ever produced, but I haven’t missed many. I’m surely not the only one who has trouble keeping up. King’s production is extraordinary. He has said that it takes him about three months to finish a typical 180,000-word novel. If he slacks off, “the excitement of spinning something new beg...

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