This is vintage Stephen King. Or is it? If you’re expecting vampires, firestarters, shinings, then no, probably not. If you’re looking for a story about people living a life not all that different from yours – with all its attendant joys and fears – then it is. It’s horror set within a believable world, sparked by the sort of dreadful accident that happens to dozens of people every day around the world. It deals with faith, love, addiction, despair and redemption – in terms fully accessible to everyone. It’s something he doesn’t get enough credit for: his ability to bring to life ‘ordinary’ people. So when the ‘horror’ does arrive, it makes more of an impact because it’s so thoroughly grounded in the world around us.
Actually, that ‘horror’ is the least impressive element of the book. What really knocks me out is Stephen King’s ability to construct a story that contains no action/horror set pieces until the climax – and yet keep you turning the pages to find out what happens to the characters next. Excuse me using the G word, but as far as I’m concerned that’s storytelling genius.