The Dead Zone was just an okay Stephen King novel. This was my King of the Month for October. The major problem was pacing and filler. I’ve called King the master of filler before, where he makes the filler and background so interesting that you love it anyway. This novel the filler wasn’t as interesting as others.

The Plot: When Johnny Smith was a little boy he slips on a frozen lake where others are playing hockey and injures his head, the majority think maybe he is dead, but he comes out of it appearing unscathed, but he picked up an ability to predict things. 16 years after that Johnny takes Sarah out for a date at a local fair. Sarah and Johnny are in love, Sarah has decided tonights the night for sex she’s only given her self to one other person before. At the fair Johnny plays a game called Wheel of Fortune not like the TV show, but like the roulette wheel at a casino. Johnny gets on a hot streak and is connected to the game, Sarah starts to feel ill, but Johnny can’t pull himself away. Eventually he returns to Sarah and takes her home, because of the sickness and a little fear of what his eyes were doing while he was at the wheel, she sends him home. He calls a cab and is almost home when the cab is struck by a drift racer who was driving on the opposite side of the road. Everyone dies but Johnny, who ends up in a coma that know one believes he will pull out of. When he does eventually wake up it is 6 years later and everything has changed, Sarah is now married and has a son, His mother is a crazy religious zealot, and he has a physic connection to people and objects he touches. He saves a nurses child by having her call the police to confirm a fire, he tells his doctor that his mother who he thought dead was still alive, and many others.

What I liked: The ending made sense and it ties in to his first prediction, The character of Johnny Smith is a great one, he really gets good as his morals are questioned. I like Johnny’s dad herb and how rational he and his reactions are. The bad guy is used really well and I did enjoy what happens in the finally. I really liked the interaction between Sarah and Herb. They did have part where while e was in the coma that the phone system changed to using area codes instead of going through the operator for long distance, I liked that it had that little piece of history that we totally take for granted.

What I disliked: Johnny is in a coma for over a hundred pages, that is far, far too long. This goes with the pacing it was really hard to get past the being in a coma point. The filler was not always interesting, when yo have your main character away for 100 pages you’re going to have a lot of filler. We never get the full aftermath of the bad guy, we do get a small glimpse, but I wanted a to more.

Recommendations: If your a King fan then you have to check this out, if now I would recommend you check out other King books first. If You have seen the television show and the movie starring Christopher Walken you know the basics but the book adds a lot of religious theology that was not in the movies and TV show that I found really interesting. Whole characters and sub plots are missing from both as well, so I recommend reading the book to see all the differences.  This is more psychological horror than straight horror. I rated this book 3 out of 5 stars.


3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Dead Zone by Stephen King

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