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Desperation Hardcover – 2 Sep 1996

4.1 out of 5 stars 145 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 545 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton; New edition edition (2 Sept. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340654279
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340654279
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 24.2 x 4.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (145 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 434,810 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

A notice to those who feel that Stephen King has lost his magic touch: Desperation is the genuine goods. The ensemble cast of ordinary Americans thrown together by chance, including a disgruntled alcoholic writer and a child who is wise beyond his years, may be a bit too familiar. But the nearly deserted Nevada mining town with an enormous haunted mine pit and an abandoned movie theatre where the survivors hang out makes for a striking battleground, and the grisly action rarely flags. Best of all, though, are the characters of Tak, the ancient body-hopping evil who emerges from the mine, and of "God"--whom the New York Times describes as "the edgiest creation in Desperation. Remote, isolated, ironic, shrouded behind disguises, perhaps ‘another legendary shadow,' this deity forms a sly foil, and an icy mirror, to Tak." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Genuinely masterful. (Daily Telegraph)

A massive volume of terror crafted creepily. (Daily Mail)

King again proves himself the premier literary barometer of our cultural clime...The terror is relentless...deeply moving and enthralling masterpiece. (Publishers Weekly) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Good old Stephen King. I have read most of his books over the years, i tend to dip in and out, and he very rarely lets me down. Although this book is a few years old it's one that i overlooked. A lot of Mr Kings books are formulaic, good versus evil, a hardy bunch of characters fighting the good fight etc. However, the characters are so well defined, as always, and the dialogue is rich and full of humor so that once again i enjoyed a cracking good read.
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Format: 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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Format: 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.
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