Wednesday, January 30, 2008

"The Dead Zone" review

This is one of my first experiences with Stephen King, and as such, I was unsure of what to expect. He's called "America's Schlockmeister", but from what I've read of his before, The Gunslinger, he's pretty good. Although I'm not a particular fan of the horror genre in general, I decided to give this one a try. And I'm glad I did.

The Dead Zone starts with a man named John Smith. Strange already, no? Well, Smith is prety much living the American dream: he has a job he enjoys, along with a steady girlfriend he's pretty close to popping the question to. Then, as in any good novel, his entire life changes. Well, falls apart is more like it.

When he's hit by a car, he goes into a coma he's not expected to come out of. He's supposed to start dwindling, and eventually fade into death. But four and a half years later, he awakens to find the world a different place. However, this is no Rip Van Winkle knock-off. That would be no fun. Johnny comes to learn he can sometimes, through touch, sense the future. His ability shocks America as he confounds reporters looking hungrily for a flaw.

And then, things begin to happen around him. He is used in an investigaiton to find a serial killer. He is hounded by the editor of a magazine who quickly turns vicious. And when he shakes hands with the man who could be the next president, Greg Stillson, he recieves his most horrifying vision yet. If he doesn't do something soon, it will lead to World War III.

The power of King's words is not lost on me. They kept me frantically turning the pages. He never said anything with overy complex vocabulary because, it seems, he knows the big words aren't all that matter. In short, this is a tightly paced thriller (not exactly horror) that seamlessly weaves together characters and story, blurring the line between fiction and reality in a story that may jump off tomorrow's headlines.

Long live the King.

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