I read Stephen King’s book Desperation about ten years ago. I reread it about a year ago and the majority of my impression from the first time around held. I think the story has some extremely creepy moments, some great characters, some horrible dialogue, and about a zillion pages. Par for the course from Stephen King, but it’s a good thing in my opinion.
One of the best things about Desperation for me was that I have been on Highway 50 in Nevada many times. It is called the loneliest highway in American for good reason. It stretches on and on without turning. And every time I have been on it there hasn’t been much traffic. It is a creepy stretch of road.
Plot summary of Desperation
Highway 50 is where the novel’s characters all get abducted by a massive sheriff name named Collie Entragian. He arrests them under mostly false pretenses. They all go with him cooperatively, if reluctantly. He takes them all to the mining town of Desperation, Nevada, and locks them up. By this point, for reasons I won’t spoil, everyone knows that something is seriously wrong with Collie Entragian.
Desperation is a fictional town, but I spent 20 years living in Nevada mining towns, and King’s descriptions are spot on. It is the perfect place for this brand of what I might call dark American fantasy.
It turns out that Entragian is possessed by something nasty which I can’t get too far into without giving things away. Fans of King’s Dark Tower series will see several nods to the seven volume fantasy opus. There are also similarities with the novel The Talisman.
The fight against this ancient evil takes up about the second half of the book, and is fought by a boy named David Carver, who stands in as another of King’s favorite creations: the person with powers who will get the group a little help from God in the final act.
Overall, the characters in Desperation are well-done. King is quite good in his novels at introducing the people, assembling the rag-tag band of survivors, and then throwing them into horrible situations. Desperation is no exception.
I would recommend this book to any fans of Stephen King, or people who are drawn to the most massive books in existence (if you’re one of these you also have to check out Under The Dome – my review). If you are a fan of Mr. King there will be plenty in Desperation for you to enjoy. If you don’t like his other works, you probably won’t like this one.
It’s Halloween! Give it a try!