The Man In the Black Suit is the second short story in Stephen King's collection Everything's Eventual. This story, as explained by King, was based upon the account of a friends grandfather. The grandfather swore that he had met the devil when he was a child and The Man In the Black Suit is a sort of retelling of this tale by King.

When King wrote this story, he had intended it to be an homage to one of his favorite stories; Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Upon completion of this story, King considered his tale a "humdrum folktale told in a pedestrian language." However, he was pleasantly surprised to find that the story met with positive reactions. The New Yorker asked to publish it and in 1996 it won the O. Henry best short story contest. This caused King to quip that "writers are often the worst judges of what they have written."

Unfortunatley, I have to agree with King's own assessment of this story. Although the images provided in the story have the potential to be truly frightening, it is very difficult to appreciate that fact when reading the story. If the reader were to allow themselves to be immediately caught up in the potential for fear, the story does well. However, unlike King's finer works, The Man In the Black Suit is unable to "take you there."

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