#20: The Carters – Everything Is Love
Look, I have a book out in active sales right now. This is just a gentle reminder that if you haven’t purchased a copy of it yet then I do not know what the hell you’re even doing with your life. It’s out there, living it’s life, no cellphones, just words living in the moment. Why are you denying it the chance to take you a wild, dirty, frightening ride? Look at that cover. Just look at it. Slickest cover that’s ever graced one of my works, that’s for sure.
Don’t take my word for it, take Ray Litt’s. Her review for Dirty Little Bookers kicked off with the following:
“Zaple has a sweeping, smooth way of crafting descriptive narrative. He is an expert followthrough-er, leading you through paragraphs like a foul-mouthed gondolier. I was continually impressed, many times stopping for a satisfied exhalation before pressing on into the next dark, dark alleyway.”
Interested? Sure you are. Check it out here:
When it comes to my least favourite King novels, Cujo is third. Why? It’s disjointed, for one; a lot of the book is taken up by the foibles of the Sharp Cereal Professor and honestly I can’t bring myself to care enough about the dying art of marketing kid’s cereals in the early 1980s. Also, the Trentons are not sympathetic characters. Look, I’ve written elsewhere about how your characters don’t necessarily need to be likable. I’ve gone off at length about how needing your characters to be the reader’s best friend is just a trap that encourages an immature fanbase that will rise up and kidnap you when you decide to kill those characters off…
Wait, actually, I think that was Misery.
The third Bachman novel, Roadwork, is another portrait of a seethingly angry man acting out against his grievances with society. In Rage, the protagonist dealt with his anti-social angst by taking his classroom hostage and killing two teachers. In The Long Walk, the protagonist deals with it by joining a ghastly game show that runs people down to their deaths. Roadwork is a little less kinetic than either; the protagonist here, George Dawes, simply gives into inertia and refuses to progress along with everyone else. A highway extension is slated to destroy an old suburban neighbourhood and Dawes is in charge of finding both a new house to live and a new location for the industrial laundry he works for. In an act of rebellion against the inherent unfairness of the situation, he decides to do neither. He refuses to vacate his property, and ends up getting shot and killed in a stand-off with the police.
Firestarter: another classic King tale of a troubled young girl who develops strange psychic powers and uses them to literally burn people alive. Charlie and her dad are chased by a mysterious U.S. alphabet agency bent on weaponizing the intersection of science and paranormal research. Half the book is the chase; the other half is the catch, and that combination makes for some interesting results, as we’ll see.
You want to talk about an out-there outlier for what we’ve seen of Stephen King’s bibliography so far, let’s talk about The Dead Zone.
A quick run-down: John Smith suffers a head injury as a kid but comes out mostly ok. Greg Stillson is a crazy but wildly charismatic traveling salesman. Johnny becomes a teacher, falls in love, and then is driven into a coma by a car accident. When he emerges he has wild psychic powers where he can touch people and know both their secrets and their future. He endures some tabloid celebrity, solves murders, tries to keep teaching and being normal, saves some kids from dying, and then discovers that Stillson, now running for office, is going to win and eventually become President briefly before destroying the world in a nuclear holocaust. Johnny becomes a would-be assassin, dying but also revealing Stillson to be a huge coward and an electoral loser after he grabs a kid as a human shield. It’s a timely examination of the American hunger for an end to the seemingly endless corrupt two-party circus and a bit of a satire of the then-blossoming American Tabloid market.