By Stephen King and Peter
Random House, 565 pp, 2001
How do King and Straub do it? This book is not only equal to its
predecessor, The Talisman, but surpasses it in quality and
suspense. They also tie it with The Dark Tower series, which is
even more exciting.
The story is fairly simple. Jack Sawyer is a thirty-something retired
police detective. He has settled in a small town in Wisconsin, has one
good friend, and generally doesn't wish to be bothered.
But a killer stalks the town's children. Two or three have
disappeared, and some bodies have been discovered. The grisly remains
have been, ah, snacked upon, by the killer, who is dubbed The Fisherman
by the local reporter (and all-around troublemaker).
The local police chief has no leads, and begs Jack for help. He
finally gives in, then realizes they're not dealing with a normal
killer. This guy knows about The Territories, may even have a Twinner
Jack has blotted from his memory all the events that happened when he
was twelve, his journey across America, his battles with Morgan Bloat,
and The Talisman. But he is soon forced to remember, and remember he
must, because another child has disappeared. But this one is special, he
is a Breaker, and The Fisherman and his master have plans for the boy.
But can Jack and his friends get to him in time?
That's for you to find out.
King and Straub don't miss a beat. It doesn't read like it's over 500
pages long. Roland the gunslinger is mentioned by name. Speedy
Parker - Parkus - is back. And we may see Jack Sawyer again, in a future
Dark Tower book. At least, I hope so.
One last feature makes this book stand out. King and Straub employ an
interesting narrative device, in which the authors impose themselves
into the story, telling the story from the first person
perspective. Here's an excerpt, to give you a flavor for the device:
Oh, forget about that. We know where Jack Sawyer went when he
disappeared from the edge of the cornfield, and we know who he is
likely to meet when he gets there. Enough of that stuff. We want fun, we
want excitement! Luckily for us, that charming old party, Charles
Burnside, who can always be depended upon to slip a whoopee cushion
under the governor's seat during a banquet, to pour a little hot sauce
into the stew, to fart at the prayer meeting, is at this moment emerging
from a toilet bowl and into a stall in the men's room on Daisy wing. We
You get the idea. It's engaging and fun, and makes the reader feel
that King and Straub are right there with you, leading you on a guided
tour through the events of the book. Just brilliant.
As if you couldn't tell, I recommend
the book to everyone.