The teenager Ned Wilcox cannot cope with the death of his father, State Police Officer Curtis Wilcox, who was killed while on the road by a drunk driver, and seeks consolation from his former work colleagues. To overcome his grief, he works in his spare time in the police station and while cleaning a window on an old shed, he becomes aware of an abandoned Buick . Curious, he turns to the boss, Sandy Dearborn, who decides to tell him - eventually with the help of other police colleagues - the story of the Buick in the shed.
One day over 20 years ago, he turned up at a gas station near the district. The driver, a creepy guy in a black coat, instructs the gas station attendant (by an irony of fate exactly the one who later ran over Curtis Wilcox) to fill up the car and disappears without a trace.
The State Police take care of the abandoned Buick and quickly decide to keep it under lock and key because something is wrong with the vehicle. Not only are essential elements missing in the engine compartment, so that the car should not actually drive - the tires repel dirt, the dashboard is a facade, scratches in the paintwork disappear immediately. As soon as the car has been towed to the police station, one of the policemen disappears forever. Did he take another look at the car by himself? Did the Buick swallow it? A ridiculous theory, but the troops cannot help but immediately dislike the vehicle. Since the owner did not answer, the Buick remains under lock and key in Shed B.
But the car develops a kind of life of its own: It begins with a completely silent, inexplicable, indescribably intense and yet seemingly harmless thunderstorm of flashes that seems to emanate from the car - and soon the vehicle gives birth to beings that are not from our world. A bat-like animal, a plant that cannot be categorized, beetles or even strange foliage are just a few examples, some are dead instantly, all of them die in a short time, possibly because of the strange atmosphere. Curtis is completely fascinated and even takes a course to be able to dissect the beings. But all investigations are unsuccessful. What the animals are or where they come from remains unfathomable.
On one fateful day it all comes together: a human-like and yet completely alien monster appears still alive in the shed and an arrested junkie escapes. A squad of police officers kill the creature and the junkie disappears. Also a victim of the Buick?
Sandy and his colleagues have only one sobering conclusion to their story for Ned: what the Buick is, where it comes from and what purpose it serves, remains absolutely inexplicable. He's just there. Sandy tries to make it clear to Ned that if you want to be a Troop D cop, you have to learn to live with this puzzle.
But Ned draws crazy connections to hold the Buick responsible for his father's death and decides, after the end of the report, to blow himself up inside in order to destroy the car. Sandy and others hurrying to help save him, and Sandy catches a terrible glimpse into another dimension, where he discovers a hat and a cowboy boot, among other things - evidence that the policeman and the junkie were indeed transported here by car and were delivered to an unknown fate.
Years later, when Ned was already following in his father's footsteps, he discovered a crack in the Buick's windshield - the first clear sign that this car, too, was ultimately "mortal".
- The novel constantly changes perspective as there are several first-person narrators; In addition, the framework story takes place in 2001 , but the actual story of the Buick mainly takes place between 1979 and the mid-80s.
- Stephen King announced this novel in 1999 in his book Life and Writing , in which he already reported on the autopsy on a bat-like creature.
- According to the afterword, King came up with the idea for this novel when, like the driver of the mysterious Buick, he stopped at a gas station in Pennsylvania to get gasoline. He discovered a stream and wanted to take a closer look at it. He almost slipped, but was still able to hold on. Now he wondered what would have happened if he had slipped into the river and drowned. What would the attendant have done with the car?
- The book shows only one direct parallel to King's earlier works: On the one hand, after reading the novel Atlantis , the car can clearly be assigned to one of the "low men" appearing there. Cars also play a central role in the novel Christine and the short story Uncle Otto's Trucks from the collection Der Gesang der Toten and The Secretary of Dreams . Another connection exists to the novel Glas , the fourth part of The Dark Tower saga: Sandy Dearborn, one of the main characters in The Buick , has the same last name as Will Dearborn, Roland's alter ego made of glass .
- Stephen King: The Buick , Ullstein 2002, ISBN 3-548-25702-X