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Desperation - Stephen King

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Author: Stephen King / Genre: Horror

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      23.01.2013 01:03
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      Glad I read it.

      I had fallen behind with reading some of Stephen King's books and although this was written a number of years ago I have only just read it. Often I read his books so quickly I miss things and have to re read at least parts to find clues and events that I missed the first time. With this however I needed to concentrate all the way through so as not to miss the vital bit of information that was going to explain just what was going on.

      This is a book that is based on largely unseen horrors and for me the fear comes when imagining the confusion that must be felt by the abductees. There are a few parts that made me feel a bit queasy, but nothing worse than I have read in other books.

      Desperation is a mining town in Nevada and there are an unnatural amount of people going missing. The abductions are carried out by the Deputy Collie Entragian, but clearly there is something unusual motivating these abductions.

      It is clear from the beginning that Collie in involved and the first couple we read about being abducted soon find out that there are many who have gone before them - all arrested in the same way of being either accused of a crime or Collie claiming to be protecting them from danger that in reality does not exist.

      The story is then based around the need Collie has to keep prisoners and their need to escape. Others know there is a problem in Desperation but the point of the story is to find out who is the stronger the good people who want to do right and end what is happening or the ones working for evil who want it to continue. You never quite know what will be the strongest, the will of the abductees to live or Collies need to fulfill whatever it is that is forcing him to keep acting as he does.

      As with many of Stephen Kings novels there are winners and losers and it takes until the end of the book to see who the ultimate winners are or were. It can be a bit of a torrid read at times, but it is worth it in the end.

      I found this one of the more unlikely of the tales Stephen King has told. It is well written and all of the unusual events are explained, but there is something here I can't identify with in the same way that I can with other books he has written. It could be that there is no one I thought stood out as a character I liked. Some are clearly good but I don't think that it is enough.

      I would recommend as there is something that certainly made me keep reading, but I doubt I will read it again. It is also one of the few Stephen King books that have been made into films that I doubt I will watch.

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      27.02.2012 23:36
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      A novel by Stephen King that while good, could have been much better

      Most of Stephen King's work has been on my to read list for quite some time, so I've started to go through all of his books, and when I saw Desperation at my local library, I picked it up to tick one more book of my list! Most of Stephen King's work can be found at libraries or picked up relatively cheap from 1p on Amazon, and Desperation is no exception to this rule.

      Desperation is a pretty hefty book at around 730 pages, and was originally printed in 1996. Unlike his other pieces of work like Misery or Gerald's Game, I didn't find it to be that thrilling but on the otherhand I didn't find it as bad as Dreamcatcher. It does grab your attention from the start, but as it progresses it does start to lose your interest and doesn't leave you feeling as satisfied as a good horror novel usually does.

      The plot itself is focused in a mining town which is called Desperation, quite a good name for the events that will occur within the town throughout the novel. It is situated in the middle of the desert, and is a small town, where everyone knows everyone and what they do. However, there has recently been some strange things happening in the town, no one is walking around the town and it is suspiciously quiet except from the one police officer who patrols the highway...

      One thing I like about this novel is that King sticks to his writing style where he combines 4 different people or families into one storyline. Unluckily for them, in Desperation, the main families/characters are Mary and Peter (husband and wife travelling to their vacation), the Carvers (a family of four doing the same as Mary and Peter) and Johnny Marinville (an alcoholic writer travelling through the desert for interviews for an essay) all come face to face with this policeman who seems like he has no sympathy for them and frames them in a bid to arrest them.

      Unfortunately, as most of King's books, this event only leads to misery and despair. In the first half of the book, there are gripping accounts of this police officer with evil entity that seems to be controlling him and what he does to those around him. Shocking twists and experiences that will make you feel so sorry for the victims will have you continuously reading to find out whether they can overcome the evil that this policeman has within.

      The first half of the book was definitely my favourite, as they showed the group trying to survive, escape from the police officer and enter a lot of situations where the only thing that might help them have a chance, is faith. One of the main characters, David from the Carver family, recently found God after he believed a miracle was performed on his friend Brian. He becomes really involved within religion and God, and it is using this faith, that he guides the group and the rest begin to realise that it may be him that helps them escape from the nightmare.

      The book raises many questions throughout the first half, like will they ever be able to escape from the police officer? Why has he turned into such an evil person? Will they be able to stop it? And is David's faith really what's keeping them alive or is it simply pure luck?

      However, I was quite disappointed with the second half of the book, as I didn't think that it had the same pace as the others. It became a bit slower paced throughout this point, and it didn't keep me wanting to read on as much as it had in the previous chapters. They explore more into the characters pasts in this section, and while I think that it does work for King's work e.g. Gerald's Game, I felt it was a bit too much for the characters in this book and much of what we learn about them isn't all that necessary or interesting.

      And after sitting through all of the 680 pages of this, I found that I was very dissapointed with the ending, it is not as climatic and well thought out as some of King's other works and it wasn't as interesting as it could have been. It seemed incredibly hurried and not thought out, as after learning about the evil thing in Desperation for 680 pages, it seems like it is simply faced in under 6 pages!

      The characters that King has included within Desperation, aren't particularly memorable to me as others have been in previous works, and I think that while you do have sympathy for them and want them to escape, that you'll never want them to escape as much as you wanted Paul Sheldon to in Misery. Many of the characters seem to just fade into the background in my opinion, like Peter, Mary, Ellen and Billingsley as after reading the book I hardly even remembered them.

      The two main characters though are clearly Johnny and David, due to the contrast King must have wanted to show between them. David is a religous and innocent boy who believes his faith will get him through everything, however Johnny is quite skeptic about this whole idea and seems to think that things only happen by chance. These two by far have the most interesting character developments by King, and it's good to see characters with interesting stories being developed.

      For the most part, King's writing style in this does manage to make you want to read on and learn about the mystery of Desperation, however at times I felt he tried to hard to give you a super indepth look into the characters past, when he should have focused more on what he knows best - making every moment of his novel as tense or gorier than the last.

      Overall, I would say that Desperation is not as heavily horror/gore focused as other works by Stephen King, however it does make for lighter reading. It does have some relatively interesting characters that will keep you interested in the storyline and with tense moments throughout the first half, you won't want to put it down. However, the second half is quite slow and the ending isn't as well done as it could be, so I'd say this book is only for those who could stand sitting through around 200 pages of mediocre King writing to get to the ending.

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        17.04.2010 20:56
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        A decent if less than outstanding King horror

        One of the better things about Steven King's frequently formulaic horrors is the manner in which he manages to conjure up a dark brooding evil that is intrinsically linked to the North American landscape and its pre-christian pagan inhabitants, and whilst its certainly possible to see this narrative device as a continuation of the centuries-old habit of demonising Native Americans as satanic savages, (an accusation of which King may justly (if unintentionally) fall foul), it nevertheless makes for some powerfully atmospheric settings, 'Pet Cemetary' being the most obvious example that comes to mind.

        Desperation is the tale of a vacationing campervan family (and a bunch of local townsfolk) in an arid desert region of America who find themselves pursued and killed by a sadistic lawman who seems somehow unholy, and the story moves from a gritty, eerie thriller to an all out supernatural horror with overtones of Pet Cemetary about it whereby a malevolent evil spirit lays waste to many an innocent life under the blazing desert sun.

        Its pretty cliched stuff, but as an undemanding throwaway read it is quite gratifying, especially when the bodies really start to pile up, though as with much ok King's work over the last ten years or so there is a certain aspect of literaery regurgitation taking place here as King ransacks his own past works in an effort to conjure up yet another trashy yet gripping pageturner. Woth a read for King fans, but there are much better horrors out there.

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        15.10.2005 19:42
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        A good beginning that deserved a better ending

        I bought the hefty-looking Desperation from a market stall recently, knowing that the least I would get for my 95p would be a decent pennies-to-pages ratio. Having now compiled more or less all of Stephen King’s novels, I’d still only managed to read about a third of them (though not through lack of trying!) and on this occasion made the naughty decision to judge Desperation by its cover and dive into straight away. It had a certain dark, minimalistic quality to it and would hopefully add to my understanding of the Dark Tower (to which many of King’s standalone novels make reference) before I would eventually embark on that mammoth series.

        Desperation was first published in 1996, in that continually uncertain period whereby fans weren’t sure whether King’s next book was going to be a rip-roaring classic or a waste of space. Desperation presents elements from both of these categories, with my ultimate view of it being somewhere in-between; a fine introduction brimming with potential being severely negated by a half-baked and forgettable second half.

        The story is set in a small mining town called, rather ominously, Desperation – an area slap bang in the middle of the Nevada desert. Its inhabitants are nowhere to be seen, save for a single, towering policeman who patrols the surrounding highway; large gun at his hip and a general aura of evil surrounding him.

        The opening faze of the story is more or less vintage King, telling from a number of perspectives how husband-and-wife Mary and Peter; holiday-bound family of four the Carver’s and one-time literary genius (but more recently aging hellraiser and recovering alcoholic) Johnny Marinville are all fooled and captured by the merciless cop. Despite the inevitability of their capture, the opening passage of Desperation is eminently readable and really comes to life through King playing to his strengths; the distinctive characters are introduced nicely and interlaced with the odd successfully implemented shock-tactic, some really grim experiences for the ‘goodies’ and a villain that conjures up the level of dislike not harboured since Annie uttered ‘you’re a dirty birdie!’ in Misery all those years ago – it’s top stuff.

        The majority of the rest of the novel sees the unlikely group of allies considering how to escape first their prison cells (where the cop has stored them for safe keeping) and then the town itself, as some shocking and not altogether pleasing information comes to light about the locals and the bizarre police officer. The central figure amongst it all is 11 year-old David Carver, who after witnessing his friend making a miraculous recovery from a horrifying accident (which he was convinced was down to him praying for the first time), becomes heavily involved with religion and God, to the point where even his parents, Ellen and Ralph, think he has gone a little peculiar. But it seems the youngster carries a remarkable presence with him, and when the group begin to understand that Desperation is run by an entity more akin to the devil, they realise that David may be their only hope of getting out alive.

        So the opening is energetic enough, but how do the characters fare? A little hit and miss at times, but on the whole, not too bad. Whilst the likes Ellen and Ralph Carver are bland to the point of anonymity at times, Johnny Marinville proves an unlikely source of intrigue, and certainly the character that develops the most over the course of the novel. At varying points he’s witty, selfish, childish, bitter, heroic, hard-nose and cowardly – as a one-time successful writer Marinville is portrayed as someone who has fought to overcome personal demons, bouncing back to write a new novel before coming across the cursed mining-town. His strenuous efforts not to believe the apparent miracles that are happening around him make him unpopular with the others for a time, but his sharp tongue and ability to deal with humility, as well as his unpredictable moods, make him a genuinely interesting figure.

        Though the various characters in the ‘Survival Society’ (those captured by the cop) are partnered together at one point or another, few seem to gel together with any great significance – the Carver’s especially all tend to act with a peculiar indifference to the others (except David, though even he keeps himself to himself for the most part). The exception to the rule being the two best characters in the novel; Steve, Johnny Marinville’s roadie (and secret guardian angel while his ‘boss’ is travelling the country on a Harley), and Cynthia, a spirited young hitchhiker with brightly-dyed hair and scarred features (from abusive relationships). The sections featuring the two provide a welcome change that for the most part takes place on the highway outside of the town, as they search for the area where Johnny and Co. have gone missing, observing the strange wildlife and supernatural pull of the area. The dialogue that ensues between Steve and Cynthia are amusing and enjoyable and provide the high point of the novel in general; the most memorable snippet being when the two first meet, and when Steve calls her ‘Cookie’, Cynthia replies, ‘Don’t call me cookie if I can’t call you cake’ – she’s eccentric but tremendously endearing.

        Sadly, Desperation doesn’t managed to maintain the momentum it builds up early on, probably due to a mixture of ineffective attempts to scare (coyote’s sitting by the roadside can only feel eerie the first time!) and, by King’s standards, relatively few tense sections and muted levels of gore-based horror – his forte, after all. There are many long-winded sections whereby characters pasts are examined in a lot of detail, but as King fans will know, this tends to be par-for-the-course in most of his novels, and whilst this is by no means a criticism as such, the success of his work does tend to rest on how interesting these passages are – and as with the rest of the book, they are prove a little hit and miss, becoming steadily more forgettable as the story progresses. Whilst David and Johnny have relatively readable pasts divulged, the sheer size of the book (720 pages) would lead you to believe there was a bit more meat to the story than is actually the case. Granted, it’s written as confidently as ever and it has a certain simple, readable quality that the author has honed over the last few decades, but as King himself would have said, irrelevant detail can be the death of a good book.

        For all the character examination and exploration of the settings, Desperation comes across as curiously lightweight at times, none more so than in its finale. Several references are made to the mysterious China Pit throughout the story and there’s little doubt that King was trying to build some feeling of expectation and mystique about the place as the characters inevitably move towards the area for the final section. But though the book as a whole is very big, the ending itself seems curiously brief and almost totally uninteresting, with the ‘confrontation’ with the villain of the piece seeming quite rushed and the description of the setting being uncharacteristically poor by King’s standard.

        Obviously give that it’s a) a Stephen King novel and b) based firmly in the horror genre suggests that it isn’t something I would recommend to the youngsters or those of a squeamish disposition, though the scare tactics are (first hundred pages aside) a little lacklustre and ineffective, if truth be told. Also, as I mentioned earlier it is a large book and not something that (certainly in my experience) can be polished off all that rapidly, so should only really be tackled by die-hard King fans.

        Ultimately, Desperation is a readable but slightly uninspiring work of supernatural horror by Stephen King. A decent beginning introduces some fairly good characters and some pleasing touches provide some genuine hints of excellence, but perhaps (like King’s Black House), would have worked much better as a shorter, 200-300 page story than the epic that it tries and fails to be. Much of the tension and interest that was apparent in the beginning fades by the final quarter and the ending is extremely dull. Not recommended, except to the bigger Stephen King and horror fans among you.

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          12.07.2004 03:52
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          The copy I'm reviewing is a hardback copy priced £16.99 published in 1996, should be out in paperback for considerably less now. I've had this book since it was first released eight years ago, I have tried to read it twice before but both times gave up at about the same part. This time I'm on a bit of a Stephen King binge and was determined (not desperate!) to finish this one once and for all. When you come to a book you've tried to read twice before and given up on you do have certain reservations and niggling concerns, so I approached it with caution, thinking at all costs keep reading! I was pleasantly surprised, so onto the review... The overall theme of the novel is the fight of Good (or God in this case) against Evil. Desperation is a lowly populated mining town in Nevada, a group of people are stopped whilst travelling along a main road nearby seemingly by a policeman. They are taken group by group to the town of Desperation and imprisoned in the jailhouse. What follows is their escape from imprisonment, to hiding unsucessfully in the town then to taking on the Evil that has been uncovered down the recently re-opened mine. Some of the group are skillfully killed off until a small band of survivors guided firstly by David, a young boy of 11 who hears God's voice and acts upon His word and later by Johnny, an ex-alcoholic, drug addict writer (somehow this character I think resembles King himself somewhat) risk their own lives to destroy the evil unleashed from the mine. It's a long novel, the hardback is 545 pages long and that's a heck of a read, not by King's standards though, The Stand is a much heftier novel and a better book but nonetheless I did enjoy reading Desperation. First of all his characters are be
          lievable and realistic, they're not all sweetness and light, even the heroes of the story are seen to be human and ordinary, scared by what's happening to them and scarred by their pasts. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the descriptions of the so-called cop Collie Entragian, and his subsequent deterioration and I loved the way he slipped the 'I'm going to kill you.' into the Miranda warning when he's reading a couple their rights. I got goosebumps. The characters are likeable mostly and diverse, 11 year old David, the curious miracle-worker to the aged writer Johnny, are both heroes of this novel. There are some chilling moments, heart-stopping moments and plain gory icky moments too, but I found that mostly the moments were just thoroughly enjoyable, page-turningly enjoyable. I was constantly wondering what was going to happen next, and I enjoyed the fast-paced structure of the novel. I think this is a novel to be read quickly, (I think this is where I went wrong the first two times I tried to read it, I was dawdling through it and the energy and pace it has fails to hit when read slowly) it gathers momentum quickly, there is no leisurely introduction, the pace is sudden and frenetic, I found that sometimes I both wanted to keep reading and didn't at the same time, I wanted to keep reading because I wanted to find out what happened next but I didn't want to keep reading because I was scared of what might happen next. This Stephen King novel is quite gory as they go, it is not outright horror, but there's plenty to keep the reader worried throughout. There are religious themes in the novel, but God far from being hailed as the hero is seen as a cruel God who expects a great deal from mankind and seemingly giving him very little in return. This is not 
          3;tephen King's best novel about the struggle between Good and Evil, in The Stand he excels himself. But I think that Desperation does have it's moments and delivers both in plot and characterisation, making it a readable, enjoyable and unsettling experience. I would recommend this novel because it's well-written, fast-paced, chilling, menacing and gory too. But it is, as with all Stephen King's books, a good story well told.

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            26.07.2002 12:16
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            This is a terrifying read from the master of horror, Stephen King. It's a very fast paced page turner. This story begins with a couple driving through the Nevada desert on their way home to New York. Unfortunately for them, they are soon to be sidetracked to a desolate albeit forgotten little town named DESPERATION. Their deviation from the main highway comes from the directions of a deviant police officer. He stops the couple and tells them their car is missing the back license plate. Alas, when the husband fishes around in the trunk for the tools to transfer the front plate to the back, as per the cop, he uncovers a bag of marijuana. The couple begin desperately explaining to the cop that this car actually belongs to the husband's pothead sister, it is not their car and it is certainly not their pot. In true Stephen King form, we are completely absorbed in the plight of ordinary people going about an ordinary day, when out of the blue, a horrible situation ensconces us in fear and panic for our characters. We can picture ourselves in a similar situation and feel right along with them what dread and worry they must be experiencing. The couple soon realize that the cop is not just a usual kind of policeman either. As he is reading them their Miranda rights, right in the middle of a sentence he inserts the words, "I'm going to kill you," and then just continues on as if he hadn't said anything strange at all. That's freaky! The cop takes the distraught pair to the town of DESPERATION. It appears to be a ghost town, as not a soul can be seen in the streets or along the sidewalks. They are taken to a jailhouse where other victims of the desert, an aging writer, a couple and their young son, and an old man are prisoners. With a story of suspense such as this, I do not want to reveal which characters are killed and which ones, if any, survive the evil that's lurking in DESPERATION. So, I won't
            reveal much more of the actual story. The source of the evil comes from a mining explosion, where a now closed copper mine had been the center of industry in the small town. A lot of miners were buried in the mine and their has arisen a legend that a couple of miners that did not die in the great burial were haunting the town. The young boy plays a large role in the story, as he has recently become very spiritual and prayerful. Not long before his family's entrapment by this desert madman, he had a religious experience involving his best friend's miraculous recovery from a near-fatal car accident. He is loathed the most by his malevolent captor, due to his devotion for his God, and his almost constant praying. The boy is a great inspiration to the other prisoners, although sometimes misunderstood. King does a superb job here of drawing you immediately into the drama by lively paced storytelling. It's a classic tale of good versus evil with a lot of shocking twists, inspiring heroics, and revolting descriptions of violence. I always find though that King's use of violence is never exploitative, but rather necessary in his portrayals. It will make you reconsider driving through the Nevada desert on your next vacation. I know I won't drive down a deserted stretch of desert highway again without recalling DESPERATION.

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              22.01.2002 18:24
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              Okay, okay...i know i said i was a huge fan of King and that i like all his books, but this one take the biscuit, really. Not exactly the best one he's ever written anyway...no prize winner certainly... Desperation in troduces us to a few different people, every one of them from very different backgrounds, but each having a shared fate...Death. They are each tricked and captured by what appears to be a derranged cop in th middle of the Nevada desert...what he really is, is an evil spirit, released when a local mine-shaft was re-opened recently, dressed in a man's skin...yuk. These people are held for a purpose by the cop, he needs their skin. Thew skin he wears eventually rots away and he need to get a new one, he has power over the buzzards and the coyotes and you can bet he uses this for his advantage. Desperation is essentially a novel about the struggle between good and evil, while not as straightforward as The Stand, it does offer a good synopsis of such. The Evil in the novel is personified by the cop, Good by a young boy named David Carver...who seems to have a direct line to God. The outcome, i'm not going to spoil, but i thought it quite disappointing and rather a rapid desent from the climax King had worked so diligently to build...if you want a bit of a clue, just think of Mother Abagail's fall in The Stand. A disappointment by the master, i think that this, combined with the Bachman pseudonym book (which was almost exactly the same) was a marketing ploy to get King back on th market again...somehow it succeeded, but i believe that Insomnia was the real ice-breaker.

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                12.08.2001 03:53
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                I picked up Desperation, by Stephen King in search of some release from exam stress....but unfortunately for my exams I found it very hard to put down. The title of the book refers to a lonely Nevada town, where strange things have begun to seep from an old mine shaft with a horrible history. The characters are introduced one by one, each with their own story of how they ended up in Desperation, and in the clutches of terror. The story follows their attempts to understand what has happened to them and their struggles to escape their maniac captor who seems to have control over the desert animals. The basic storyline involves the big battle .....good verses evil etc and this fated group of people, thrown together seemingly at random must face a demonic enemy with the help of God and their inner strength to survive in the face of a brutal and evil adversary. Although Desperation wasn’t one of my favourite King novels it was excellent. The plot and characters are engaging and the story flows easily. Desperation was a real page-turner and also very disturbing in parts. Some parts were very gory, in fact aside from IT, Desperation was one of the goriest King books I’ve read. Desperation is truly surreal and terrifying at the same time, a tribute to Kings skill as a narrator. I’m really looking forward to reading the twin book to Desperation – The Regulators, by Richard Bachman, Kings doppelganger. ************* Ok look away now if you don’t want to read the spoiler. Bare with me, Desperation has a complicated plot. I’ll try to put it simply. Ok so there’s the god of the Unformed.....a really scary dude, not human, not animal, who has been trapped in its well in the earth for millions of years until one day it is finally uncovered by miners. This god (can tak if you will) has lots of little gods (can tah) animals mad
                e out of stone with other animals for tongues. These stone creatures contain vast evil power and when in contact with humans drive them insane and cause them to act in terrifying ways....all very nasty. In 19th century the resting place of can tak is uncovered by a group of Chinese miners but in the insanity that follows the mine is closed up again and can tak remains buried...until now. The mine is discovered by a new blast, and a greedy mining engineer goes in for a closer look hoping to find treasure....can tak takes his body (the only way it can escape its dwelling place is in a hosts body.) Can tak uses this hosts body to kill most of the miners but because of its immense evil and power it soon withers and destroys the body of its hosts so he finds another host and continues the killing spree. Soon can tak has killed all the population of Desperation. But it needs more hosts so it goes to the high way to gather motorists. In the body of local Desperation cop Collie Entragian, it collects his victims with various excuses. The first unfortunates are the Carver family who camper is run off the road when it runs over a trap set by can tak. The Carvers are taken to the local jail under the pretence there is a killer on the loose. There Entragian murders the young daughter and imprisons the others. Next a young couple are pulled over because of a missing number plate and arrested because of dope stash found in their trunk. On arrival at the station the husband is murdered and his wife, Mary locked up. Johnny Marinville, a famous writer is next on the list. Marinville was on his way through Nevada researching a new book when Entragian stops beside his motorcycle and plants dope in one of his saddlebags and he in turn is taken to jail. But not before he secretly manages to phone his back-up who was following miles behind in his truck...... Already in the prison was Mr Billingsley, local vet wh
                o escaped the slaughter. Because of the force of can tak the body of the cop is already falling apart so he chooses his next host...Ellen Carver and takes her to the mine. While he is gone the unlikely group plot their escape. The youngest prisoner is David Carver, a ten year old, who just so happens to be blessed by God. With Gods help he escapes the prison cell and lets the others out, despite the coyote guard left to watch them. They get weapons from the police station and go in search of hiding place. With Gods help, David makes Marinvilles mobile phone work and calls his back up Steve, who had picked up a hitch hiker ( Cynthia Smith, a character from Rose Madder) and together they had already found Marinvilles buried motorcycle and discovered routes out of Desperation blocked. The group hide in a disused theatre but not before Steve and Cynthia find another survivor of the massacre who accompanies them (audrey). In the theatre everyone shares their stories and they discuss escape. Billingsley is murdered by a cougar, sent by can tak, but not before he realises that Audrey is under can taks power. The others find Audrey and stop her just before she kills David, who can tak had become very afraid of, because David’s God is strong. Whilst the others try to save David who has fallen into a trance, Mary is fooled by Ellen Carver who returns begging for help and can tak seizes her and takes her to the pit. David comes out of his trance, after being guided through the land of the dead and is able to tell the WHOLE story to his friends and explains they have been chosen by God to defeat this evil. There are tensions within the group and Marinville in particular does not want to stay and help for the greater good. Mary manages to escape her prison at the pit with Gods help and can tak is too weak in its deteriorating body to catch her. Marinville returns to t
                he group after a revelation from God and together they return to the pit for the final confrontation. Can tak is now an eagle, as that was the only host available as it neared death. David’s father Ralph is killed as he protects him from the eagle and in turn Steve kills the bird, sending can tak back to the pit. It is Johnny who remains behind in the pit to detonate the dynamite to close up mine shaft forever. Well that’s the plot in a very large nutshell, I’ve left out some stuff, so I don’t bore you to death. But you should really read the book to get the full impact of the story......I think the general idea being God is cruel but he is also love.

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                  11.08.2001 01:51
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                  87;hether you like this novel or not, whether you like King or not, you do have to admire the brilliance of the people who give Stephen King marketing advice. ?Desperation? was released in conjunction with Richard Bachman?s (a name long known to be Stephen King?s pseudonym) ?The Regulators?. Resurrecting a long dead author and releasing 2 books at once, the second under a different author name that everyone knows is really King anyway so that people will buy both books is a bit of a masterstroke. And King used the same set of characters, although he switched some of the names around so he got 2 sales when he?d really only written the one book. As a marketing idea it?s a stroke of genius but one which left ?constant reader?, as King calls us, feeling just a little ripped off. King gets 2 books for the price of one, I got at best 1 ½ books for the price of 2. And the reasoning behind how Bachman came to publish another book is as flimsy as parts of the story itself. It?s interesting sometimes to look through the lists on Ciao and Dooyoo to see how many people have reviewed something you?re reading or listening to and see how well they thought of it. I did that while I was reading Stephen King?s ?Desperation?, and got quite a shock. From the ratings it?s been given, it seems that to read ?Desperation? is to love it. That came as quite a surprise to me. Maybe there?s something I?m missing, but as far as I can tell, "Desperation" is not a good novel. Don't get me wrong, I am a huge fan of Stephen King, but he had a bad run during the 90's, with "Gerald's Game and "Dolores Claiborne" being very poor. Then came "Insomnia", and you get to thinking that he was back on track, a slight blip there, but it happens, no problem, here we g
                  o again. And then...oh, dear! It?s a fairly simple story, in essence. It?s based on that old favourite of good versus evil or even God versus evil. Evil in this case is embodied by a local policeman in the town of Desperation, Nevada, who has been taken control of, infected even, by an evil presence that has for many years lurked patiently in the mine that has provided most of the population of Desperation with work, either directly or by serving the mining community. Closed down several years before, it has been reopened, and the evil released. The good are a bunch of people, mostly travellers who happen to be passing near to Desperation on the nearby Interstate. None of them have any business in Desperation and would simply pass it by at 55 miles an hour if they hadn?t been unfortunate enough to be singled out by Officer Entragian and dragged into the Desperation jail. Apart from those who were travelling together in a family unit, there?s no links between any of them, apart from their desire to be somewhere else. As is often the way, their group is whittled down, mostly through various random killings, which seems apt given that they were supposedly thrown together in fairly random circumstances, to a manageable size. It is this group that can manage an escape and attempt to battle the evil that is in Desperation, all held together by a young boy who has already lost his mother and sister to the force of evil that is Officer Entragian and his faith in God. Unfortunately, this isn?t a terribly original idea. It?s been done better elsewhere, by other authors and, indeed, by Stephen King himself. This novel is, essentially, a watered down version of ?The Stand?, only without the road trip part that bought the characters in that novel together in the beginning. Whereas in ?The Stand?, there was
                  a constant state of moving on with the story, with very little attention paid to the past, it seems like there is a constant back trail to ?Desperation?, with a lot of the reasons behind what is going on based in the past, rather than the present. As a result, the story seems to take too long to get going, circling around issues rather than progressing the plot. It makes for a book that feels longer than it is which can?t be a good thing, especially as it is a pretty lengthy read to begin with. There?s a great deal of suspension of disbelief required to get through all this. If anything strange happens, it?s largely down to the power of God. Whereas the basics behind ?The Stand? were a little more interesting than that, this is what underpins the whole thing in ?Desperation. To draw the comparison further, whilst the God of ?The Stand? is a force for good, the God of ?Desperation? is a cruel God, which makes the boundaries between His side and the supposedly evil side a little less clear. Although ?bad? is clear, the line that marks the start of ?good? isn?t at all obvious. You don?t end up cheering for the wrong side, but it?s difficult to feel any great sympathy for or kinship with the right side. If you were forced to pick a side to cheer on in the battle for Desperation, the real problem wouldn?t be choosing which side is the right one, but whether or not you can be bothered to nail your colours to either mast. Whilst the basis behind ?Desperation? isn?t a bad idea for a story, it?s not told terribly well here. This in itself is fairly unusual for Stephen King. Although he frequently takes us through too much back story than is necessary, he does usually have a pretty good eye of the way a story should be told. Here, he somehow seems to miss that mark, and the effect is one of boredom and a lack of interest in how things are go
                  ing to pan out. If you?re not a Stephen King fan, this certainly isn?t going to change your mind, and I can?t recommend you buy this. If you are a Stephen King fan, I can?t really recommend you buy this either. Chances are, you already have a copy of ?The Stand?, and you?d be far better placed to re-read that instead. The basic idea is the same, and it?s more engagingly told. There?s a very good reason that it was that novel and not this one that made the BBC Good Read lists ? ?The Stand? is a heck of a lot better. However, if like I am, you?re a big enough Stephen King fan to be a completist and be missing this from your collection, you?ll want to buy regardless. To you (and even to myself, although it?s a bit too late for me) I would pass on this advice. ?Desperation? quite simply isn?t worth the cover price of £7.99. It?s not even worth the Amazon price of £6.39. But if you find it on eBay, or Amazon Marketplace, or even in a local charity shop or second hand bookstore, for no more than about £2 or so, then you might not feel as badly done by as I did, and still do

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                    02.08.2001 19:38
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                    This is definitely one of my favourite novels, I finished it in four days simply because it sucked me in and wouldn't let go! The story generally goes like so; One by one, three groups of people get taken off Highway 50 in the middle of the Nevada desert by a supposedly insane cop. They are promptly taken to a desolate Desperation and locked up in cells in the towns municipal building. These people obviously feel they must escape before they are killed like some of their relatives already have been, and the fact that one of the group, an eleven year old boy name David Carver, has a sort of direct line to God certainly helps. The group soon find out that Desperation is desolate due to a force of unbelievable evil (Tak) inhabiting the town. It then becomes apparent that simply escaping is not all they must do, and led by a miracle performing David Carver, they set out to stop the force of evil. There's definitely more to it than that and a couple of extra people come and go, but the more complicated bits, and especially how they all join together,are hard to explain succinctly-read the book. Not only is this a thrilling book but it is also extremely emotive in parts, especially towards the end. Some of the characters have been through a lot and you really feel that, mainly towards the end but in other places too (David 'burying' Pie). As for the scare factors of the book, the gore is handled pretty tastefully and the bits that really have you on the edge of your seat are the twists (and there are loads in this book) and King's use of dramatic irony (upon meeting the cop the characters think he's a normal guy, we know otherwise). There's one more point worth metioning here, the novel is split into parts, chapters and numbered sections, this clearly echos the God idea because it makes the book look like the Bible (books, chapters and verses). The version I own comes attatched to a copy of 'The Reg
                    ulators' giving the impression of the two testaments. The relationship between 'Desperation' and 'The Regulators' is also clever, many of the same character names are used, sometimes the characters just share names, some are identical in both books, it definitely makes for interesting comparison. In short, a superb novel.

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                      30.04.2001 00:23
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                      Without a shadow of a doubt Stephen King (also known as Richard Bachman) is, or are, my all time favourite authors. Most of his books score a perfect 10 from me, however from time to time he slips to a mere 9 and on the odd occasion to a mediocre 8. Desperation is a perfect 10. The very first page grabs your attention and then page after page this book shakes you vigorously....from beginning to end. This is one of his finest works, truly shows he is still capable of finding that which you are most afraid of and throwing it in your face. Desperation is that book that you hate to put down; when you get up in the middle of the night for a drink of water and see this book, you can't help reading just a little more! (I'm currently reading it a second time simply because I couldn't get enough!) Just off Route 50 in Nevada lies the small mining town of Desperation, where a local cop has suddenly turned anything but lawman. His victims were the lucky ones. But for a small group of survivors, Desperation is no longer just the name of a town - it's a state of mind. And it will take an extraordinary young boy to lead them through a living nightmare The nightmare they live through sees over 300 people die horrible deaths in less than 600 pages, but there is so much more to the book than that, So I recommend anyone that has a few days to spare with nothing much to do, to borrow or buy this book, it is well worth a read. If you should ever get stopped by a traffic cop who starts to utter the words Tak..Tak..run for your life.Once you have read the book you will know what I mean!!

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                        10.02.2001 01:54
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                        Desperation is Kings best novel since Tommyknockers in my mind and if it wasn’t for his incessant character development I would probably read all his stuff. Sometimes it works but he throws it in as the tension is building, aghhhhhh.\ This one is set in the hot and scorched deserts of Nevada where in the small town of Desperation something’s not quite right and the streets are real quiet. But where are the residents and why are only the Coyotes out and about. On highway 50 the Carver family are driving through the state in their shiny RV (Recreational Vehicle) on the way to California’. They pass a speed draped in a dead cat , which is not a good portent in a Stephen King book I can tell you. A mean looking cop pulls them over and searches the vehicle before taking the un suspecting traveler’s into the small deserted town (Aren’t they all in Kings books). The family is really worried and eventually thrown in a cell for no particular reason. Gun shots ring out and a family member is gone forever. Meanwhile back on the highway, the Jackson family are also on their way else where until the cop is back on the road looking for more converts for his evil ways. The young professor and his wife are driving their brother’s car and theres something in the boot that’s not quite legal. But was it always there, or was it planted. Whatever the case, they two are heading into Desperation for further questioning. The final lone runner on the road is Johnny Marisnville, writer of “Travels with a Harley” who’s researching another book on his beloved Harley Davidson motorbike. But our local cop is in no mood for letting any one go on their merry way. As the sun catches his bike as he streaks past the RV, a cop, a big cop is following and he wants that Harley off the road. Now. The cells are full now and the cops behavior is becoming more erratic, he seems to be getting taller and losing his mind.Th
                        e captives have to escape and soon or the nasty cop is going to start killing again. As the guests sob in their cells, someone notices the bars have a gap underneath, maybe a small child could slip under if she was soapy enough. But theres someone else in the small sheriffs office and its not human,and its not in the mood for letting his masters captives escape.A detour is needed to distract the animal who seems strangely connected to the strange cop. Gunshots ring out and our captives are one less. Tac cry’s the decaying cop as if he’s talking to the animals. Ok that’s half of the book for you. Its quite a solid read and theres a dramatic finale in a derelict mine but its still not in the intense league of the excellent Dean Koontz who for me is Americas best pulp horror writer. The clue to the mystery lies in a dark abandoned mine where all will meet their fate and confront the very evil that only desert wildlife can comprehend…………And it has to be stopped before it takes its Earth bound form.

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                          12.01.2001 22:05
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                          I have long been a fan of Stephen Kings novels, reading the vast majority of his early works, including The Stand, Delores Claiborne, Misery and The Tommyknockers. I fell away from his more recent works as I felt that they were not his best works, these include Gerald’s Game and The girl who loved Tom Gordon. However the King is back in spectacular style with The Green Mile and Desperation. Desperation tells us of travellers heading down highway 50, the loneliest highway in America and the town of Desperation just off it. These travellers include a family of four headed on their annual holiday to Lake Tahoe, a young couple going home to New York and a once famous writer struggling to make a comeback. All these travellers are stopped along their way by a police man, who for different reasons stops them and arrests them on a variety of trumped up charges. What follows is a pretty horrific, graphic description of the situation in Desperation, once a thriving mining town, but now appears to be deserted. The story follows the band of travellers desperate attempts to stay alive amid some dire circumstances. I managed to read this book in 2 days although it did give me some nightmares!

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                            09.12.2000 06:06
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                            Another Bestseller by the master of horror and terror, Stephen King. This is a book of epic proportions, 720 pages! Released along side with The Regulators, both books appear to compliment each other with the theme of God vs Evil, Desperation being set in the desert and the Regulators has a suburban setting. Plot: Desperation is an old mining town, which is now somewhat abandoned except for a few residents. There is a terrifying force which lies beneath the town, the force of Tak, an evil spirit which is planning to spread and disease the world. We see Tak in many forms, such as possessing bodies of humans and commanding animals such as snakes, Scorpians and Coyotes to do his evil will. The characters are gradually introduced to the reader, and are all faced by a dramatic confrontation with Collie Entragian, a cop who is possessed by Tak. Entragain manages to arrest several people and lock them in cells, in the hope to use their bodies as transport. Amongst those captured is David Carver, a very religous 12 year old boy who as true belief in God. God helps David to fight the battle against Tak. Also, Johnny Marinville, a writer searching for inspiration for his latest book. These are the 2 major characters throughout the novel. The group of strangers must come together to fight the evil that is Tak and prevent it from spreading elsewhere! Their belief in God is throughly tried and tested when they realise that they HAVE to complete God's Will. This book is one of pure horror which will make you squirm and think about the true God in your life, if you didn't think there was one, you will after reading this! Will David Carver and his gang have what it takes to complete God's Will? You'll have to read the book and see. I'd recommend this book to everyone who loves a good horror story with a twist, very usual to Stephen King's style. I'd also recommend The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, this
                            is my favourite of King's books, and is of a slighty different style, less of a horror more pychological. Don't get too scared reading this book!!!!

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                              12.10.2000 20:10

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                              Okay, I am a Stephen King nut and I thought this was one of his best books ever! And like all of his novels, they are keen and intelligent and a bit twisted. This book took me by surprise a lot even knowing Kings writing style quite well. It always amazes me how he can be so ingenious to scare his fans, even though we know what lurks around each corner! But Desperation was a really chilling novel and it's other half, the Regulators was quite the same. Desperation kept my interest from cover to cover. The novel was really long but that worked as a plus in this case because it was entertaining the whole way through. If you like SK's spooky side, you have to read these novels!

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