Stephen King * Desperation Book Review

“God says, “Sure, take away the safety net. And when that’s gone, take away the tight rope too.”

This is one of the many books that Mr. King wrote that got a movie adaptation. A very crappy one indeed. But to be honest, the book wasn’t that good either! You can start throwing your rocks now but this “Desperation” and “Insomnia” were both crappy enough to deserve a sigh and a very slow retreat to the bookshelf in search for something else. It was long. It was repetitive. It was boring.

Plot line can be summarized into “Mad cop keeps travelling family hostage”. That’s it.
While speeding through empty Nevada spaces, Peter and Mary Jackson are stopped and arrested by a gigantic cop from nearby Desperation, a small mining town.

“You have the right to remain silent,’ the big cop said in his robot’s voice. ‘If you do not choose to remain silent, anything you say may be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. I’m going to kill you. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand your rights as I have explained them to you?”

At the jailhouse, the nutty robotic giant shoots Peter dead. Then the giant arrests Marinville, who is trying to recover his reputation by crossing the country on his motorcycle and writing a Steinbeckian Travels with Harley. The cop’s body, we find, houses Tak, who constantly needs new bodies to live in because his superhuman heart batters them to pieces. He has already murdered the whole town and is now planning to house himself in the still-alive Audrey Wyler, a mining specialist who has been investigating the nearby China Shaft where “the unformed heart” of Tak bubbles evilly. Then into town rides Steve, whose heart is pure, in a Ryder truck …

David, the Carver’s devout son, continually prays for guidance – and seems to be receiving answers. As the group watches in a mix of awe and suspicion, David is able to lead them out of the prison. From here, it is their mission to get out of Desperation, but to do so successfully they will need to destroy the evil force possessing the town.

“You said ‘God is cruel’ the way a person who’s lived his whole life on Tahiti might say ‘Snow is cold’. You knew, but you didn’t understand.” He stepped close to David and put his palms on the boy’s cold cheeks. “Do you know how cruel your God can be, David. How fantastically cruel?”

Desperation, published in 1996, is a companion novel the Bachman’s The Regulators.
Writing is average and character development is mediocre. The religious tones are strong and after a while, you feel like you’re in a revivalist preacher camp. Hmm, I wonder whether he got his ideas for Revival from here..

“Then he closed his eyes and put his hands together again before his face, finger to finger. Johnny was struck by the kid’s lack of pretension. There was a simplicity about the gesture that had been honed by use into beauty.”

If you’re a Stephen King fan, please avoid.

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