Desperation starts off in a somewhat cliched fashion with a psycho cop on the loose, but still manages to have one of the most gripping first chapters I’ve yet read in a novel. It turns out to be a good-versus-evil story, as in all the old vampire and werewolf movies. But far from using the trappings of the genre, King has taken it in a fresh direction. In most of the books and movies of this genre, we are presented with “the forces of evil” in all their power and glory, whilst all we get to see of “the forces of good” are silver bullets or crucifixes or holy water, etc. Instead, King puts a serious and believable God into the novel, and starts dealing with sober questions like “Why do bad things happen to good people?”
Desperation is the name of the dusty, isolated Nevada town where the book is set. A storm is brewing, very few people are left alive, and the cop is out there planning something dreadful. What a great atmosphere.
It’s a very large book, in the usual King tradition, and it’s a real page-turner. King is among my favourite authors, and this is among his best work. Somebody’s bound to grab this one for a movie sooner or later.