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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I see holes like eyes - my mind is full of them
A disparate collection of travellers are abducted by an insane cop and incarcerated in the jail of a small Nevada mining town in the middle of nowhere. It quickly becomes clear that the cop isn't just insane - he's posessed - and an ancient tunnel recently uncovered at the mine may hold the clue...

King's novels are rather variable in quality. I suspect that...
Published on 1 Nov 2011 by Crookedmouth

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A feast of blood, gore and death!
I'm actually going to sway away from popular opinion on this one. Even though it’s by no means a bad book, it’s not great either.
Desperation is certainly more of a gore-fest rather than a psychological horror. The book begins with a couple driving through a desert. As the pass a sign, they notice a dead animal nailed to it, this is the first...
Published on 1 Nov 2005 by Simon George


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I see holes like eyes - my mind is full of them, 1 Nov 2011
By 
Crookedmouth ":-/" (As seen on iPlayer) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Desperation (Paperback)
A disparate collection of travellers are abducted by an insane cop and incarcerated in the jail of a small Nevada mining town in the middle of nowhere. It quickly becomes clear that the cop isn't just insane - he's posessed - and an ancient tunnel recently uncovered at the mine may hold the clue...

King's novels are rather variable in quality. I suspect that most careful and discerrning readers, even King's Constant Readers, will acknowledge that as true. I'll qualify the statement and state that I haven't yet read a single King that I *didn't* like but I *can* recognise their flaws. Perhaps that's the mark of a true fan (I'd like to think so)?

Now; I'm re-reading a lot of his old stuff and (slowly) coming up to date with his newer work so I can't claim to have a huge base across which to compare, but I think that Desperation has to be one of his better novels. It scores highly on a number of counts, the best probably being the atmosphere that King develops: the desperate, deserted, dusty desolation of the setting, the sense of rising foreboding as events build to a head, the terror and uncertainty evoked by the murderous cop, the helplessness of his victims and the sudden randomness of their deaths. This *feels* like a horror novel. The depiction of the mad cop is also masterful: he's not simply insane Tak, his problems go far deeper than that and his strange mannerisms and sayings convey his demonic posession rather well.

That said, King lets himself down somewhat with the dialogue he constructs for his other - less mental - protagonists and they frequently talk as if their lines had been scripted by a Hollywood B-movie dialogue coach; wordy and schmaltzily sincere. Perhaps it's less noticable to an American, but I found it hard to swallow without gagging slightly.

The characters are, as ever, King's usual band of non-descripts and includes a regulation college lecturer. The cast is supported by a slightly stronger character in the guise of Johnny Marinville a self-centred, self-important writer trying to resurrect his fading star by going on a road trip. He's obviously meant to be deeply unlikeable (see The Stand's Larry Underwood) but this is always a dangerous tactic in my book as an unsympathetic lead can detract from or even put you off the story altogether (which is why I never managed to complete Donaldson's Thomas Covenant series). That doesn't quite happen here because Marinville just isn't strong *enough*.

Anyway, I've spent more time criticising the book than I intended. At the end of the day it's a good, page-turning story with a strong theme and plenty of gore! I realise now that, over the last few years I've been plodding through my reading list unenthusiastically and under-engaged, struggling to find anything that I really wanted to finish. Returning to King after a ten (or more?) year break, I seem to have rediscovered a joy in reading. Suddenly I find myself creeping downstairs at 1am to read another chapter, or turning off the telly so that I can read instead. For me, with all its faults and failings, Depseration is a part of that discovery.

`Did you puke in the back of my cruiser, Lord Jim? Because if you did, the first thing you're gonna get when we hit town is a big old spoon.'
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Touching, horrifying, amusing and dazzling., 4 Aug 2001
This review is from: Desperation (Paperback)
This was the first Stephen King novel that I ever read (my parents thought that 11 was too young, but I ignored them) and it remains my absolute favourite. Although I have read countless other Stephen king wonders, such as CARRIE, 'SALEM'S LOT, ROSE MADDER and BAG OF BONES, the only one which I think even closley rivals DESPERATION is FIRESTARTER. In the derelict settlement of Desperation, the stage is set for a huge battle between Tak, a possessing demon, and God, or maybe just God's avatar, David. The menacing images of the coyote and the wolf, Tak's avatars, recur throughout the novel and I found the entire book from beginning to end entirely breathtaking.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Find yourself desperate to pick it up again!, 31 Jan 2001
This review is from: Desperation (Paperback)
This book, although quite long, is truly addictive. The plot ids twisted, just when you think you know whats going to happen something truly unexpected happens. This book has many characters, you can`t help yourself being attracted to at least one of them. This book is not one of King`s scarier books, but don`t be put off by that it is truly brilliant. You will find yourself gripped to the thrilling storyline. I can`t say any more except read this book and I can give 100% gurantee you won`t regret it. It is just exceptionally dazzling. 10/10
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A feast of blood, gore and death!, 1 Nov 2005
By 
Simon George (Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Desperation (Paperback)
I'm actually going to sway away from popular opinion on this one. Even though it’s by no means a bad book, it’s not great either.
Desperation is certainly more of a gore-fest rather than a psychological horror. The book begins with a couple driving through a desert. As the pass a sign, they notice a dead animal nailed to it, this is the first scare, then a cop pulls them over, and then BANG! You’re into the action immediately. The story certainly starts very quickly, no time building characters or the scene too much with this one, oh no, the horror is fast paced and I’m sure that almost everyone will find the first 100 pages impossible to put down. But this is the big problem. How do you sustain this kind of pace for 700 pages? Simply, you cant. This is very disappointing, as I thought the first part really was some of the most intense storytelling that I’ve read in a long while, unfortunately, you pay for this because the story really does begin to drag a bit from there on in.
If you like blood, guts, severed limbs, and basically just downright gore, gore and throw some more gore in, then you wont be disappointed with this. But if you looking for a more psychological horror, then I suggest maybe Bag of Bones also by King.
A good horror story that maybe drags on a little too long, and maybe the horror is too in your face (which in my opinion is much less scary most the time) for some, but don’t let it put you off. A good read nevertheless, maybe a slightly average story made better by a great author.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of King's scariest novels yet., 24 July 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Desperation (Paperback)
Desperation is quite simply an outstanding read. The way king draws several normal people, including two very young children to a haunted mining town is great. The book never once slows down and king does what he is excellent at : killing off the lead characters emotionlessly and reshaping the plot around their deaths, creating new lead characters. This is done here on several occasions. The most intriguing part of the story is young David Carver's relationship with God, something which the other charaters never quite understand, But King makes us do so. The only problem I have the book is that King never elaborates on the fact that Johnny Marinvile had lived a previos life - one where he was killed in Vietnam. King also scares us with vintage horror essentials : snakes, scorpions, dead bodies etc and he does this in a way which isn't over the top. Despite not matching to the levels of The Shining or even Misery, it is still an excellent read.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!!!, 22 Feb 2004
By 
Sue Lewendon "Film fanatic" (England) - See all my reviews
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was written in typical Stephen King style. It was released at the same time as The Regulators by King writing as Richard Bachman. I also read that book but I much prefer this one. They both have similar themes running through them and ultimately have the same 'baddie', but I found this one to be more of an unputdownable.
Tak is an ingenious creation and is wonderfully bad to the bone. The characters are brilliantly scripted and the settings are great. King describes everything in wonderful gory detail and it kept me turning the pages.
I recommend this title to anyone who likes a tale of good vs evil and likes a good amount of blood and guts!!!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Desperation setting in?, 11 Feb 2007
By 
Mr. S. W. Steel "stephensteel" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Desperation (Paperback)
This is a hard book to review.Why?Well, as a lifelong fan of Stephen King I have read all of his books, and when i read some of the blurb on the rear of the cover saying that this was as good as The Stand i was genuinely intrigued.

And so i read this, and read it quickly which is always a good sign.I really liked the plot and the idea.I also liked the setting in the town of Desperation.Stephen King's writing is on good form too - the very start of the book where people are captured and locked up in prison is as good as he has written in years.I liked most of the characters in the book too - David is excellent and you can't help wishing for more stories about him.Johnny Marinville is great too - do you like him?Do you hate him?And this is what Stephen King has done so well in this book.He has got the black and white , good and evil right up at the forefront of the book, but in this instance has got some grey areas in there too.Some real soul searching for right and wrong is in this book.

There are some issues i would raise with this book though.The back story of Tak is a bit weak in my opinion - the crazy policeman is a much better tool to use to drive the plot on, and maybe this would have made the story much more terrifying.

The other weakness i think there is in the book is the length.People say what a great writer Stephen King is - his detail, his depth of character description etc... and for the most part i agree with that.He IS genuinely brilliant. BUT a lot of people forget that his short,snappy and punchy early novels were much shorter than this and consequently had much more of an impact.

So herein lies the problem - not just with the book, but the writer himself.For me, Stephen King is better when he writes much shorter novels.Carrie, The Shining, Firestarter and the Dead Zone are excellent books with characters you want to know more about.I would rather be left wanting more, rather than being over-burdened with too much characterisation at the expense of the story.However, anyone who has read The Stand (most of his fans quote this as being their favourite book of King's) know that he CAN get the mix of depth,pace and characterisation right.Another book where he gets this balanced is It.

So where does Desperation sit?Well, it is certainly better than most of his more recent efforts in my opinion, and is the first book of his i have read in a while that i genuinely enjoyed.But it isn't as good as his early work in my view.

The trouble with the Stephen King of this era is that his work divides so many of his fans.You may read this and love it above everything else he has done.I don't think it is his best book ever, neither is it the worst.

And so i really struggle to rate this book.It has many plusses - characters and setting are excellent.

It's minusses are it's pacing and weak back plot.

But all in all that is just my opinion - maybe you should read it and decide for yourself, as I am struggling to come to any definite conclusions!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Possibly King's Worst Book!, 30 May 2013
By 
L. Foster (Manchester UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Desperation (Kindle Edition)
I have read a significant percentage of Stephen King's work, but this novel has none of the qualities found in his other books. If it didn't have 'King' on the front page I wouldn't believe it was written by him. It is shallow and senseless, with no plot or any characters of interest. In most King books the reader becomes almost enthralled with the fate of the main protagonists, but in this book I just didn't care. I tried two or three times to complete the book, but just got fed-up with the holier-than-thou David, his wailing father Ralph, the clichéd, hard-bitten former alcoholic author Johnny and the rest of the vacuous bunch. Being a loyal King-reader, I kept going back to it, convinced that it would improve, but it just got worse! A section of the story takes place in an abandoned movie theatre, and it became so boring and repetitive that I finally abandoned the book and disposed of it so that I couldn't waste any more of life's valuable minutes trying to find some literary merit or even a scintilla of entertainment within its pages. Was this really written by the same person who wrote The Stand, Dark Tower, Green Mile?? He must have been having an off-day.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Almost perfect., 21 April 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Desperation (Hardcover)
I've read a couple of books by Stephen King and I know for sure that I'm going to read many more. One thought that always comes first to my mind after each chapter is:"Gosh, If I only had his talent of storytelling!"It isn't hard to figure out why I think so, since Stephen King is without any doubt the best goddamned novelist in the past twenty years.I know that and I've read only two books(and a few short novels).'Desperation' is an example of how to build a story, characters and a strong finishing.Johnny, Dave, Steve, Ralph, Mary, old Tom and Cynthia are the jolliest "family" ever created, so far as I know. Their experiences aren't just frightening, they're outspeakably horrific because of the way they're written and yet, they're a real magnet.So, if you have never read a Stephen King book, this one is a perfect start for you.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Reliable as always, 24 Sep 2014
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This review is from: Desperation (Kindle Edition)
This has never been one of my favourite SK books, but it's still ahead of the other King wannabes by a country mile

Gripping plotline, well rounded characters that develop throughout the story and the usual insightful writing that shows the authors understanding of the human condition.

I make a point of not giving a synopsis of the books I review - I don't think my interpretation of a novel is any good to anyone but me. It's also a guaranteed way of sneaking in to another reader's imagination and colouring it.

If you enjoy excellent writing, are prepared to suspend disbelief and don't mind a little gore, this is definitely one to read
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Desperation
Desperation by Stephen King (Paperback - 12 May 2011)
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