So, here is another one that I read as a teenager and didn’t remember one fucking thing about. I thought that the Dead Zone was an actual Zone of the Dead. Because memory is funny that way. But no, it’s actually about a guy that has a little bit of foresight after smashing his head in his younger years. Then he gets into a car accident and is in a coma for quite a few years, wakes up, and is pretty psychic.
While some people would say the coma/wake up/supernatural abilities thing has been done to death, this stands apart from the genre. The way that the coma has affected the main character (Johnny) and his relationships, is uniquely described. Also the way he finally decides to use his powers for good, and the outcome at the end, oh man. So awesome. I hope one day I have even an ounce of the kind of skill that King has for opening and closing a story. Fucking genius.
For the Dark Tower Fans: Not any huge references here, but a few subtle ones. When Johnny has his first real premonition, he’s playing roulette at a carnival, and he bets hundred of dollars on 19. And the guy that’s cheering him on calls him long, tall, and ugly. Which made me laugh extra hard because Christopher Walken plays Johnny in the movie.
Fear Factor: Only a bit of underlying creepiness here. Good for King newbies who don’t want to jump feet first into terror.
“Well, they ate a bad hot dog called Vietnam and it gave them ptomaine. A guy named Lyndon Johnson sold it to them. So they went to this other guy, see, and they said, ‘Jesus, mister, I’m sick as hell.’ ANd this other guy, his name was Nixon, he said, ‘I know how to fix that. Have a few more hot dogs.’ And that’s what’s wrong with the youth of America.” -Cabbie, The Dead Zone, Stephen King, 1979