The Dead Zone Review

The Dead Zone - Stephen King

For Goodreads: 2.5 stars.


I think I dislike this book a little more every time I read it. The Dead Zone is, for the most part, boring setups that lead to lackluster climaxes, if they can be called climaxes at all. Maybe "payoffs" would be a better word... But I think what I dislike the most about this book is all the political mumbo jumbo. I simply don't give a shit about politics, and this book is full of it. If Johnny Smith isn't thinking about how shitty he has it, he's ruminating on the political climate. This is purely subjective, of course, because if you dig your stories dredged in government, battered in legislature, and fried in policy then this book is definitely for you. 


Honestly, The Dead Zone never had a chance. Not this time around at least. Especially coming off my reread of King's exceptional third outing, The Shining. (In case you're wondering, I skipped The Stand because I just reread it last year.) I suppose The Dead Zone is a perfect example of that old saying: They can't all be winners. King came out the gate with five fantastic novels. He was bound to lay a stinker on the world eventually.


I do enjoy the first 140 or so pages of this book, but everything's downhill from there. King had some terrific characters, but it seems as if he didn't really know what do with them once they were established. It's funny, because the book feels more like a collection of interconnected short stories than it does a novel.


Notes on the film and television adaptations: I love Christopher Walken. He's one of my favorite actors. But I've never been able to finish the film adaptation of this book. It bores me to sleep every time. Shit's better than L-tryptophan, son! And the TV series with that dude from Weird Science? All I saw of that were the commercials. I suppose this story just doesn't pique my interest. I do believe this is the final time I'm reading this one. Maybe...


Notable names:

Jerusalem's Lot (Obvious)
Gendron (used throughout the King-verse)
Richard Dees (the despicable main character of King's short story "The Night Flier")
Inside View (a gossip rag like The Enquirer that shows up quite bit inside the King-verse. The aforementioned Richard Dees is a headhunter for said magazine.)

Carrie (mentioned as a book instead of a person)

And, of course, Castle Rock (No-brainer)


In summation: One of my bottom five when it comes to King's books, right down there with Wizard and Glass and the absolutely terrible From a Buick 8. I'm definitely not looking forward to my reread of the latter.


On to Firestarter, which I don't remember at all. I read this one in my teens and haven't read it since. I'm looking forward to it because I don't remember hating it and I dig the movie adaptation very much.