Scott Landon, award-winning novelist, died two years ago. His wife, Lisey, is finally cleaning out his study. As she goes through his old papers, awards, and photos, buried memories come boiling to the surface. Then she gets a call from a man who tells her to hand over her late husband's unpublished work or face the consequences.
What I love best about starting a new-to-me Stephen King is that feeling. If you're a SK fan, you know what I'm talking about. There isn't really a "getting into the story" phase. You're just in it. Right where he wants you to be. And right where you want to be: in the practiced but never predictable hands of a master storyteller. This one didn't let me down.
I actually enjoyed this a lot more than Duma Key, the most recent King novel I've read. It's really sort of the story of a marriage: the good times, the bad times, the barely-got-each-other-through-it times. I loved that these characters had their own insiders language. I think most relationships have this, but it's hard for a writer to get it right. I felt like I was right in the middle of a real relationship where the magic words are bool, SOWISA, strap it on, smucking, and Boo'ya Moon. He really just got this so right. I even wondered if he was using catch-phrases from his own marriage. This quote struck me:
"Lying in the bed that had once held two, Lisey thought alone never felt more lonely than when you woke up and discovered you still had the house to yourself. That you and the mice in the walls were the only ones still breathing."
Don't go into this expecting the freaky, terrifying blood baths that everyone associates with Stephen King. He's grown past that. This was really an introspection on the nature of marriage--with some creepiness thrown in. He is still Stephen King, after all.
Reviewed May 10, 2009
Friday Flashback Reviews are a weekly feature here on The Introverted Reader. These are old reviews I wrote on GoodReads. Thanks to Angieville and her Retro Friday Reviews for the inspiration and encouragement!
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