#Review The Dead Zone, by Stephen King 3.5 Stars #keepersofking

MY REIVEW 3.5 Stars:

I really built myself up for this book. In King’s memoir On Writing, he mentions The Dead Zone quite a bit. So, between that, and the fact that James Franco is the audible narrator, I really had my head and heart set on this being, like, the best King book of all time. It WAS good, but not THAT good. I’m a bit let down. I probably would have given it a higher rating if I hadn’t built myself up so much. Nonetheless, it is what it is. Next I’ll be watching the movie, so hopefully it’ll be good enough to redeem the story’s standing as a whole.

In The Dead Zone there’s a main character who is pretty much dealt a double edged sword at every turn. His dad is pretty mellow and cool, but his mom is an extreme – overly religious whackjob. Then, the love of his life Sarah, is, well, promising at first but eventually a let down as well. His name is Johnny Smith, and after a horrific car accident is given the gift of psychic abilities. Yet, depending on the eye of the beholder, it isn’t a gift at all so much as a very heavy burden.

The book starts out bouncing from one character’s story to another, as many of King’s stories do. It highlights Sarah’s dating experiences, up until she’s graduated and meets Johnny, a fellow teacher. They hit it off and on their last date – the night of his accident – she sees a strange side of him as he’s gambling. He seems to be able to tell what’s going to happen at the county fair and winds up winning a bunch of money. This indicates inclings into his soon to be massive abilities. That night his cab crashes. He’s in his coma for four years. During this time Sarah moves on, gets married and has a kid. His mom spirals down her religious extremity hill. And, there’s a killer on the loose to which his abilities will soon tie him to.

Once Johnny wakes, he has visions whenever someone or something of significance touches him. He can see the past and future of these people. He winds up having dozens of people try to seek him out for the sake of both criticism and selfish agenda. He saves many many lives along the way. He also carries the weight of his gift with humility and a level headed approach. I didn’t see the end coming at all, and a few of the bad guys along the way are disgusting and intense. I feel like there was just too much… too many things happen. King could have ended it with the second massive event and left a major chunk with a ridiculous political figure out of it completely and the book would have been much better.


Set in the fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine

A #1 New York Times bestseller about a man who wakes up from a five-year coma able to see people’s futures and the terrible fate awaiting mankind—a “compulsive page-turner” (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution).

Johnny Smith awakens from a five-year coma after his car accident and discovers that he can see people’s futures and pasts when he touches them. Many consider his talent a gift; Johnny feels cursed. His fiancée married another man during his coma and people clamor for him to solve their problems.

When Johnny has a disturbing vision after he shakes the hand of an ambitious and amoral politician, he must decide if he should take drastic action to change the future. With “powerful tension that holds the reader to the story like a pin to a magnet” (The Houston Post), The Dead Zone is a “faultlessly paced…continuously engrossing” (Los Angeles Times) novel of second sight.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Yes, I thought that The Dead Zone would have benefitted from a serious edit, as there was just too much going on. I’m a fan of everything else he wrote though…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed all around I’ve read probably half a dozen. So far my least favorite is the Dark Tower books. I only mad it to Wizards and Glass 😬

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I suppose even the great King can have an off day!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review Didi and well said.

    Liked by 1 person

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