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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of King's most unforgettable, well-crafted novels
I've always had sort of weird feelings about The Dead Zone. It is a fantastic novel, yet it has never rated among my personal King favorites. Maybe it's because I envision the story taking place in a cold, harsh world, devoid of color and light. This really isn't a horror novel at all, so there are really no thrills and chills to be found until the few exhilarating...
Published on 30 Aug 2005 by Daniel Jolley

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2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Struggling to read this .......... which is unusual for Stephen King
Published 3 months ago by Mrs M.


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of King's most unforgettable, well-crafted novels, 30 Aug 2005
By 
Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" (Shelby, North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Dead Zone (Paperback)
I've always had sort of weird feelings about The Dead Zone. It is a fantastic novel, yet it has never rated among my personal King favorites. Maybe it's because I envision the story taking place in a cold, harsh world, devoid of color and light. This really isn't a horror novel at all, so there are really no thrills and chills to be found until the few exhilarating moments that make up the climax of this pretty depressing story. The Dead Zone is one of King's most accessible novels, however, and it exemplifies so many of this great author's strengths. First and foremost, the man knows how to tell a story - no one does it better, in my opinion. King's magic gift for characterization is also on display here, as John Smith, a thoroughly "Everyman" protagonist comes across as quite real and exceedingly human; he's a truly ordinary man placed in the most extraordinary of conditions. King truly does the character right in the form of a truly masterful conclusion, as well.
If you could go back in time to 1932 and meet Adolf Hitler, would you kill him? That's the question that ultimately comes to consume Johnny's mind as this story nears its end. Would you sacrifice yourself for the lives of so many other people, virtually all of them strangers?
John Smith is just an ordinary fellow; he's got a job he enjoys, he's fallen in love with a good woman, and he's as happy as he's ever been. Then The Accident happens, and Johnny wakes up to learn that his world will never be the same. He's been in a coma for well over four years, and he faces a painful road to recovery both mentally and physically. His girl has married someone else, his mother has gone off the deep end of religious zeal, he faces painful, scarring surgeries in the brutal months ahead, and he really struggles to find a reason for living in such a harsh new world. He has gained something from the awful experience, however, and it's both a blessing and a curse. At times, he can see the future just by touching a person or an object. It's a frightening power, one that alienates him even further from those around him. When word gets out, he finds himself deluged with pleas for help from people all over the country. All he wants is to live an ordinary life again, but his psychic powers make this impossible. His mother believes God has special plans for Johnny, and in the end he thinks she may be right. He alone, as things turn out, can save his country and maybe the entire world from devastating future destruction wrought by a madman.
Smith is one of King's most sympathetic characters. He's one of us, really, and we suffer along with him as he starts life anew. His physical problems are horrendous, but they pale in comparison to his emotional loss. He's lost his girl, yet he can't even blame her for thinking he would never recover and thus starting her life anew in someone else's arms. He doesn't know what to think or do about this strange power he has developed; it scares people, and it scares him - yet he knows it allows him to do some good things for people. He also knows he can't run away from it. The problem is that no one really believes his predictions until they have proven themselves to be accurate. That is why he has to make the most heroic, most gut-wrenching decision of his life completely on his own.
John Smith is a fabulous character, and The Dead Zone is a truly masterful modern novel. While some of the subtext of the story is rooted in the 1970s, this really is a book for all seasons. It will never make my list of King's top five novels, but it's one of the most compelling stories you'll ever read.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best King book I've ever read, 13 Sep 2006
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This review is from: The Dead Zone (Paperback)
In On Writing, Stephen King says that The Dead Zone is one of the few plot-driven novels he's ever writen -- meaning he had the whole story thought out before he started writing it down. I don't know if that's what makes this one SUCH a winner, but it really stood out, to me, as a wonderful book.

Forget the film. What's brilliant about the book is that we get inside both the lead character's minds -- Johnny Smith, a typical all-American "good guy" who has the limited ability to see the future because of a childhood accident; and Greg Stillson, a bonkers nutjob who is campaigning to be the next US president.

When Johnny shakes Greg's hand at a political rally, he has a vision of Greg becoming the President and sparking World War III. Everyone else loves Greg -- Johnny is the only man who can stop him...

Does that sound corny? The way it's written is ANYTHING but. Several scenes at the end made me cry as I'd become so attached to Johnny Smith.

This is my favourite Stephen King book by a (Green) mile. It isn't his horror stuff -- nobody turns out to be a huge spider at the end -- but a wonderful, character-driven, gripping story.

Buy it!
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Stephen King book for people who don't like Stephen King, 13 Dec 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Dead Zone (Paperback)
There are always those who do not want to read Stephen King because they simply do not like horror novels. They do not want to read about killer cars or killer clowns, vampires or the walking dead, or any of that fun stuff that many of us absorb like candy on Halloween night. Fortunately, King does right other tales from time to time, which, ironically, tend to get their names changed when they are made into major motion pictures that refrain from prominently mentioning the authors name in their television commercials (which, of course, is how we know when it is a "good" movie of a Stephen King story). Of all those "safe" Stephen King books (relatively speaking), "The Dead Zone" has the virtue of still being fairly representative of King's entire body of work. That is why when people shy away from reading his work, I insist that "The Dead Zone" is the Stephen King book for people who do not want to read Stephen King.
Like King's epic "The Stand," the story of Johnny Smith takes as its genesis the idea of "not the potter, but the potter's clay." Johnny Smith is just a young school teacher out on a date with Sarah Hazlett at the cheap carnival that has come to town. Things are going well for the couple when they stop to play the wheel of fortune and Johnny predicts the number that is going to up next, time and time again. The experience upsets Sarah, but things go from bad to worse: on the way home Johnny's cab is in a horrible accident and he goes into a coma. When he comes out of it five years later he discovers the world has changed: Nixon has resigned, Sarah has married someone else and there are strange new devices called Flair pens. But Johnny has changed too. Now when he touches somebody he can tell them things, such as where they lost their wedding ring, that their kitchen is on fire, that their long lost mother is alive and well. Johnny Smith is an ordinary man with an amazing gift that terrifies not only others but himself. Certainly, this is an engaging premise: if you were a mind reader what would you do?
But what makes this one of King's best novels is that he ups the ante for his reluctant hero. At a chance meeting during the New Hampshire primary Johnny shakes hands with Greg Stillson, a political thug who is running a low brow populist campaign. In that moment Johnny knows, he absolutely KNOWS that Stillson is going to become President of the United States and start a nuclear war. "The Dead Zone" now becomes about the fact that with great power comes great responsibility as Johnny has to convince himself not only that he should act, but that doing so would be any good. The narrative/argumentative structure of this novel is one of King's best as events concerning Johnny's power lead him step by step to his fate. This is a compelling tale, well told (with the exception of an unnecessary mention of "Carrie"), and more than adequate evidence of why King is one of the best selling authors on the planet.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best, 1 Jun 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Dead Zone (Paperback)
King has never really managed to hit this level since. Definitely his best work (and the first King novel I bought). A brilliant conceived and developed story, bringing the main character firmly into focus. The ending enough to bring a lump to your throat. (Ignore the low budget Dino De Laurentis interpretation, this is the real McCoy.) Check out Firestarter and Christine and possibly IT, then leave it at that.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ... not yet finished!, 14 Jun 2004
This review is from: The Dead Zone (Paperback)
I am currently on a Stephen King roll. I read a lot of his books but never one after the other - its like you need to take a breather or something. Having ploughed through The Shining, From A Buick 8, On Writing and Cujo all in a row, I am now 30 pages from finishing The Dead Zone. Why not wait till you finish, I hear you ask. Well, cos its all about to come to an end.
Its definately the best King book I've read in the batch listed above. They were all great (Buick 8 - not so sure if you could call it great, though. Its one of those plots that you wish you had come up with first (I originally wrote a short story at school where a guy has to go forward in time to assassinate someone who turns out to be himself - similar I suppose).
The story flows nicely and keeps you interested. Some of King's books can drag but this ticks along nicely.
Well worth checking out, especially if you are more into Kings non-horror.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars king at his original and descriptive best, 24 Aug 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Dead Zone (Paperback)
having revisited this book recently it was a pleasure to remember why I started reading King fifteen years ago. the soryline is so original and the subplot of the serial killer engrossing with a twist that I defy anyone to see coming. King has described this as his best piece of work and after disappointing titles such as insomnia and Rose Madder it is hard to argue with him.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars VERY ENTRETAINING, 6 July 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Dead Zone (Paperback)
This is a great Stephen King novel. The master of the suspense story has produced a highly gripping and thought provoking book here, with so many twists and turns, you can never guess what is going to happen next. I found myself becoming very attached to Johnny Smith, and Greg Stilson is one of the best carachters I have ever known. If Mr King has a weakness, it is probably his endings, but in this case, the ending is fantastic, and I challenge any reader not to be choked up! Fantastic stuff.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Dead Zone, 9 Dec 2004
By 
Rich Milligan (Thatcham, Berkshire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Dead Zone (Paperback)
Although I wouldn't rate this Stephen King offering as some of his top work, this is still an excellent read and a fantastic story.
Why King always gets labelled as a "horror" writer defeats me some time, as this novel is a thriller at most and could even be described as a tragic romance. It is certainly one of the saddest King books I have read and the ending was particularly emotional and very very touching. In fact the whole book has a "gentle" feel to it and moves along at quite a sedate pace and doesn't gather any speed until the final chapters. In the hands of a lesser writer the book might have become sluggish and boring, in the hands of King it simply becomes melancholy and bitter-sweet.
As with all King books the characterisation is brilliant and the extra details he puts in along the way makes it a real pleasure to read.
Great Book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling!!!!!!!, 31 Jan 2001
This review is from: The Dead Zone (Paperback)
This book is everything that a book should be. I adored it. This is my favorite Stephen King book along with Misery. I couldn`t stop reading it. Greg Stillson is easily the most attractive baddie Stephen King has ever written about. It is very powerful. At the end I could feel tears welling in the corners of my eyes. In one word, "Brilliant"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dynamic King, 2 Feb 2010
By 
Dave Gilmour's cat (on Dave Gilmour's boat) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Dead Zone (Paperback)
Hugely effective thriller with admirable restraint on the supernatural side of things (the hero can see certain aspects of the future, and that's about it), King really lets rip here with a great premise thrust upon convincing characters. This idea would be good in itself, but King ups the stakes by letting his hero envisage a far bigger 'dead zone' around the corner and allows the scenario to play out in the most riveting manner.

If you like this very well executed 'page-turner', you might also like Touch by Elmore Leonard.

Also, a great film was made of The Dead Zone. Many S.K. novels haven't been handled well as films, but this one's superb with C. Walken quite stunning in the lead role.
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The Dead Zone
The Dead Zone by Stephen King (Paperback - 13 Oct 2011)
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