dreamcatcher, the latest from
one-man pop-lit industry Stephen King, is a cross between an X-Files episode and a horror story where creepy things live under the bed. King's an engaging storyteller, no question, but this time it takes several hundred pages for the energy to kick in.
At the centre of the tale are five boyhood friends, four "normal" guys and a developmentally challenged fifth whom they save from a bully and who becomes their emotional and psychic linchpin.
King is expert at fast-cutting between multiple narratives, and here weaves past and present into a cat-and-mouse tale in which a colonizing-obsessed alien inhabiting the mind of one friend is chased by several other friends, who in turn are tailed by a psychotic military man.
One character's reaction to being hit by a car probably mirrors King's own experience -- this is his first novel since his big accident -- and as in other King tales, constant readers regularly come upon references to his previous books.
But after more than 600 pages of story, some of it well-told, I had the feeling that I'd been through a satisfying fast-food read -- entertaining for the moment but not as memorable as King can be.
DREAMCATCHER by Stephen King (Scribner), 620 pages, $39.95 cloth. Rating: NNN