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The Dead Zone: 11/14/06

The Dead Zone

I enjoyed reading The Dead Zone, enough so to stay up to finish it. It's quite a page turner and it is an interesting comparison between the political atmosphere of the 1970s to that of today. As with then we have a war (that isn't "officially" a war), corruption in politics and a president of questionable merit (I'm being generous).

The book also shows a young author still playing with different methods of story telling. The Dead Zone has about five different voices as the story John Smith, everyman, psychic and martyr is unfolds. Some of the techniques used work better than others with the strongest pieces being the first two thirds of the book and the most experimental pieces being in the last third.

Here is my BookCrossing review:

I can see why this book was turned into a television series. The story lends itself to that format with its episodic nature and strong visual descriptions. I have the same problems with the book now as I did with the miniseries that launched the show: the pacing between the sections of the book is rather jarring as it jumps from book to book. The first third of the story builds slowly, almost too slowly as Johnny discovers his gift and then suffers his accident. The second part where Johnny wakes up and solves the first crime is paced just right; it reads like a nice quick mystery-thriller and has a compact ending. Then the book speeds through a third section that is really two more stories: Johnny sees the future and saves some lives and Johnny sees the future (or thinks he does) and decides to end a life before that person can become the next Hitler. I really don't like the last piece in either the book or the miniseries because it's too much of a change in personality for Johnny. He rapidly transforms from a hands off, let the word do its thing, to a one man super hero / martyr without even blinking.

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