By Stephen King
Stephen Kingís first full-length book
since Bag of Bones was worth the wait. Though quite long, Dreamcatcher
moves quickly, features great characters, and barely escapes degenerating
into an X-Files episode.
Scribner, 620 pp, 2001
Four lifelong friends are enjoying their
annual November hunting trip deep in the Maine woods when an alien ship
crashes to the earth. A super-secret military team immediately quarantines
the area and destroys the spaceship, but one alien has survived. This
alien, like his fellow extraterrestrials, has telepathic powers, including
the ability to invade a humanís mind and make that poor sap do its will.
Unfortunately, the alien chooses to
control Jonesy, one of our four friends. These friends grew up in Derry, a
town that all King readers should be familiar with, and have gone their
separate ways, yet still remain close. Their childhood adventures, which
King details in frequent flashbacks, include saving a boy with Downís
Syndrome from bullies and finding a lost girl. They also hold the keys to
saving the world from alien domination.
Two of the friends (I wonít say who)
do not survive, while the other two (or is it three?) do indeed save the
world, with a little help from a renegade member of the military team.
Like all King books, the question must
be asked: Is the book scary? Answer: not really. Thatís mildly
disappointing, but this is still a great book. Thatís what King such a
great writer. His books donít have to be scary to be great.
As always, he creates realistic,
likeable characters, including Duddits, who may be the most endearing,
heartfelt, and powerful character in any of Kingís other books. Kurtz,
the evil leader of the military team, is suitably insane, but for some
unfathomable reason King portrays him as a Christian. Doesnít this
stereotype Ė the hypocritical, Bible-thumping, Jesus-spouting, murdering
psychopath Ė ever get tired and stale to those who use it? King did this
with Annie Wilkes in Misery and other novels, and itís getting
old, really fast. Do something original for a change!
That being said, this is a great book,
especially considering that King wrote the whole thing long hand.