Book Report: The Dead Zone by Stephen King (1979)

Well, that’s interesting. Given how this book ends, they must have done a Morrell on the story to get a whole television series out of it.

If you’re not aware of the plot, it involves a psychic from Maine and a politician from New Hampshire who might become President with disastrous results. Actually, it’s more of a character study of the psychic from Maine who awakens from a coma with the ability to recognize the future and the present and the past from a touch of a person or an object. He solves a serial killer case and then encounters the politician, but given that the main story bit comes late into the book, the ending ultimately seems a little rushed and the story goes from the first person limited omniscient narrator to a series of letters and then back to action. That cheapens it a bit.

The book runs only 350 or so pages, which is very short compared to King’s later work. Later works which sometimes seem to drag, but are not often rushed.

The book also contains a number of noteworth allusions: One to Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct stories, where Cotton Hawes has his white streak of hair from a knifing; one to the novel Carrie, written by King himself; and unfortunately, one to the Dirty Harry movies, but Harry’s gun is misidentified as a .357 Magnum. Very contemporaneous to the time in which the book appeared.

A pretty good book in King’s line.

Books mentioned in this review:

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