3. The Dead Zone by Stephen King

The Dead Zone by Stephen King (US) - (Canada)

Pages: 402
Ages: 18+
Finished: Jan. 5, 2012
First Published: 1979
Publisher: Signet
Genre: paranormal, mystery, crime
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

The two things Sarah remembered about that night later were his run of luck at the Wheel of Fortune and the mask.
Acquired: Purchased a used copy from a thrift store.

Reason for Reading:  I am re/reading Stephen King's books in chronological publishing order.  This was my next book.  I have also gotten into the habit of starting my year off with a Stephen King novel.

I was really looking forward to this one.  I have fond memories of really enjoying the book.  I have only read it once before which was this exact paperback copy and I would have been 12 at the time.  I don't really remember the story from the book, though, as I have flashes of scenes from the movie with Christopher Walken in my head, some which actually don't even happen in the book.  And I was a fan of the TV series which was loosely based on the same premise as the book.  So it was great to re-read the original and get the real story firmly planted in my head again.

Excluding the Bachman books, up to this date "The Dead Zone" was King's first non-horror story.  This is a story about a psychic and involves him solving a serial killer case and later on facing a prediction that he must decide whether he should take care of the problem before it happens and contemplates that age old hypothetical question, "If you could go back to 1932, knowing what you now know, would you murder Adolph Hitler?"  The book carries a rather small cast, comparitively for a King book and we get to know Johnny, the main character, very well.  He is very likable and someone we can relate to throughout the book.  This book kept me up late at night as I just didn't want to put it down and had virtually forgotten how the book ended though it wasn't hard to predict.  King uses very little stream of consiousness in this book; it is a plot driven novel with great character insight and a fast read.    I loved it even more than I expected to!  Great early King!

While re-reading these books, I also like to look for the connections to previous books and found three while reading.  A girl actually mentions the book "Carrie", there is a street named Flagg  (a nod to Randall Flagg from The Stand) and the town of Jerusalem's Lot is mentioned. (otherwise known as 'Salem's Lot). 

If you are not really into horror books but would like to sample Stephen King, this is an excellent book for your first read and fans can't miss out on this classic old-school King novel. 

I'll be adding the Christopher Walken movie to my viewing list and have planned for some time to watch the dvd seasons of the TV show in order as I was only a now and then watcher.  But of course, I have to watch The Stand first and get my current TV Seasons finished first!


  1. I remember reading this one "way back when" and I think I liked it OK. I seem to remember some frustration with it. I did watch the movie version and I liked the TV show very much. Perhaps one day I'll reread it. Wish I could remember what frustrated me. Could it be the ending?

  2. The ending is one of those ones that will get mixed opinions about. I really liked it. It's sad, not all turns out well for our hero, but he accomplishes his mission as a hero, and that's the important thing, I think. That in the end he did good without having to do the evil he'd planned, because evil showed up himself and was his own downfall.


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