Author: Stephen King
Publisher: Scribner, 2014
Series: Stand Alone
Synopsis: A dark and electrifying novel about addiction, fanaticism, and what might exist on the other side of life. In a small New England town, over half a century ago, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs. Jacobs; the women and girls feel the same about Reverend Jacobs—including Jamie’s mother and beloved sister, Claire. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond based on a secret obsession. When tragedy strikes the Jacobs family, this charismatic preacher curses God, mocks all religious belief, and is banished from the shocked town.
Jamie has demons of his own. Wed to his guitar from the age of 13, he plays in bands across the country, living the nomadic lifestyle of bar-band rock and roll while fleeing from his family’s horrific loss. In his mid-thirties—addicted to heroin, stranded, desperate—Jamie meets Charles Jacobs again, with profound consequences for both men. Their bond becomes a pact beyond even the Devil’s devising, and Jamie discovers that revival has many meanings.
Review: At first, I thought this was going to be a story about small town America and the way things were back in the '60's. I didn't think it was really going to be a horror novel. I was right on the first thought and very wrong on the second. The horror built up slowly, inexorably. By the last 100 or so pages, it was right around the corner, waiting. Even though I knew it was coming, the horror left me breathless. I had to stop for a moment to gather up my courage to continue.
This book has real magic in some places. The description of life in a small town in Maine in 1962 had so many great references, things you think you've forgotten but haven't. Nobody does nostalgia better than this author.
And, only Stephen King can draw you in, make you a part of the terror and leave you feeling as frightened as the main character. And then, just when you think it's done, you find out that the monster isn't vanquished at all.....and that it never will be. It's just waiting in the wings for another go.
This is one of the best stand-alone novels by Mr. King, right up there with such classics as The Stand.
Rating: 10 / 10