The Wind Through the Keyhole: A Dark Tower Novel - Stephen King

Let's get three things out of the way right now: a) Yes, this book is an afterthought, but so was WIZARD AND GLASS. At least this one doesn't bog down the series. b) No, you do not have to read the entire Dark Tower series to enjoy a great portion of this book, but it does strengthen the experience. c) The majority of this book does not include Roland and his ka-tet, but that's fine, because unlike WIZARD AND GLASS, I LOVE the story that's told in between Roland's quest. Namely, the title story, THE WIND THROUGH THE KEYHOLE.


The first part of this book tightens up the span of time between the Emerald Castle and Calla Bryn Strugis. Roland's crew gets caught in a storm, and the gunslinger decides, once again, that it's Reading Rainbow time. He starts one story about a skin-man (shapeshifter) he and his buddy Jaime DeCurry were tasked with hunting down in a town called Debardia months after Susan's death in WIZARD AND GLASS. They're called out to a farm where everybody's been slaughtered (which is some of the most gruesome description King had written in some years), aside from a boy named Billy Streeter. Here comes the fun part. Roland tells young Billy a story about another boy named Tim Stoutheart. The tale is called THE WIND THROUGH THE KEYHOLE. Yes, in this book even the flashbacks have flashbacks. 


Why do I love this book so much? That's easy. I'm a storyteller, and a lover of stories, all shapes and kinds, but I especially love tales of youth and adventure. Tim's tale is once such story. We get a murder mystery, a dragon, a tyger (tiger) that might not be everything it seems at first, the dark man, and butt loads of magic. The story is simply damn good fun, and more than a little endearing. There's really no other way to put it. The book is a slice of entertainment that made me feel like a kid again. That's that magic, folks, and only a handful of authors can capture that magic this well.


In summation: I know this book gets dismissed by fans of the series, and that's a damn shame. I think it's a magical adventure in a world full of rich and intriguing lore. It does everything right that WIZARD AND GLASS did wrong. King made me care about the characters here, and he didn't weigh down the story trying to explain the POVs of a hundred different characters. Read it or don't, but I'd feel you'd be missing out if you brushed THE WIND THROUGH THE KEYHOLE off as nothing more than an afterthought.