Top critical review
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From the bottom of the barrel
on 24 May 2012
The first King book I read was Pet Sematary, in the early 80s. I was hooked and quickly read all he had written to that point. Then, as each new book was released, I devoured it.
But, slowly, the enjoyment seemed to wane. The Tommyknockers was poor. The Dark Half was a chore to get through, and I gave up on King.
I later realised that this drop in form coincided with his love affair with the bottle.
A couple of years ago I read Duma Key, and thought it was great, bar the last 50 pages. I've read all he's written since then and have enjoyed each book. Under The Dome was great (bar the last 50 pages). 22.11.63 was tremendous (not without some faults though).
I saw this book on my shelf and thought I'd give it a go. Mistake. Should have read some of the Amazon reviews and picked another one from his back catalogue.
This would have made a neat short story/novella. Stretched out to 300+ pages it's just way, way too boring.
The sections where something actually happens could easily be compressed into 20 pages. The rest is just padding.
It's clear, on reflection, that King was too interested in filling the pages with information he'd gleaned from spending time with real cops. It's just not that interesting.
Other reviewers praise his characterisation but they can't have been reading the same book. At the end, how much do you really know about the main characters? What drives them? We learn nothing, really. Some oft repeated platitudes about the duties of being policemen, perhaps. Nothing more.
If you're new to King (can anyone now be new to King?) then start elsewhere (It or The Stand would be my advice). If you know King but haven't read this one, then you're missing nothing.
Sad but true.