In one word: Tension
Cannonball Read Bingo: Dough
As I’m rounding third and heading for home with only hours left to complete the Cannonball Read Bingo challenge, I’m at the point of the endeavor where I’m working to shoehorn in things that I’ve already read to the squares I have left. It’s a delicate dance and I didn’t think I’d find a good entry for one of the few spaces left on my bingo card.
But here came this big meaty Stephen King book that I tackled for Spook-tober, weighing in at hefty 736 pages, and one of the central issues is money. A crusty old white man and self-made millionaire will stop at nothing to become the legal guardian of his granddaughter, the last connection he has to his dead son. Though his daughter-in-law with few resources looks almost guaranteed to lose, our narrator, author Mike Noonan may be the only person who can help. Crippled by writer’s block, Noonan returns to the summer home he shared with his late wife, who died four years ago. The home has been vacant for that time, but that doesn’t mean it’s truly empty. He’s hopeful that a change of scenery might be the answer to both his block and the end to his feverish nightmares, but it seems that the horrors are only just beginning. He is plagued by both unseen visitors and unanswered questions and all of this is tied to the young girl, the old man, and a town where the locals are harboring a secret, the details of which will shake you to the core.
King is the only person I will tolerate yammering on for so many pages with such minuscule advancement of the plot. The first 3/4 of most good King books is a roller coaster slooooowly clicking up the track, one small bump at a time. Just when you think you can’t possibly take more tension, you get to the back 1/4 and then with no warning you are over the hill and yelling as you are flung around the bend, at breakneck speed. This is just such a book.
If you aren’t already in awe of King based on the volume of his literary works (one source I found said he’s written “at least 82” books) he also has the maddening ability to write fiction so realistically that you feel like you are reading someone’s diary. His characters are so realistic and so human it’s hard to believe they are make-believe. His books are less like reading and more like eavesdropping in on conversations. They ask you to do very little…other than wait for him to get to the damn point(s).