Customer Review

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't knock it., 11 Aug 2010
This review is from: The Tommyknockers (Paperback)
Tommyknockers was a troubled book from a troubled author. At the time of writing, Stephen King's drink and drug problems were spiralling out of control; the result is this disjointed and dawdling text. Still, even King's worst works are extremely readable.

It's a book written in the vein of The Body Snatchers (S.F. Masterworks). But - more so - it's about compulsion, addiction and dependency. It's about Stephen King manifesting his demons to exorcise them. The Sci-fi element is basic b-movie fare with some nice added touches - the main storyline is a little drawn out over the length of the book, though.

The central characters are Jim Gardner - a poet, and Bobby Anderson - an author. Both of them are addicts (surprise, surprise): Jim is a hopeless alcoholic and Bobby, well, she's addicted to the thing she found buried in the woods. As usual, King's characterization is very good. Jim Gardner is well fleshed out and worthy of empathy. Alas, he becomes quite infuriating and contradictory after the first few chapters. Bobby Anderson, however, is a bit of damp squib from the start.

In many places the prose is overly descriptive and repetitive, typical of a story with characters facing inner turmoil or an enemy within type scenario. Also, there are too many lazy adverbs, too much exposition and superfluous plotting. At times the narrative loses its sense of immediacy: King will needlessly add little observations like "but he never did see his wife again..." or "little did she know this would be her last day alive..." This is a pet hate of mine - totally unnecessary if you go on to show that character's demise later on. Knowing the outcome of scenes is boring.

Tommyknockers is still a reasonable sci-fi/horror yarn and there are few memorable moments within, but this is nowhere near as taut as his other stuff. So, if you want to see King breaking most of the rules he laid down in 'On Writing' then look no further :)
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