In his 1996 bestseller Desperation, Stephen King delivers terror wrapped in religion.
The novel is about a handful of people who get stranded in Desperation, NV, a small, mining town totally off the grid in the middle of the desert.
The stranded travelers are the Jacksons, driving the husband’s sister’s car home to New York City; the Carver’s with their two children in an RV heading to Lake Tahoe; a has-been writer riding cross-country on a Harley looking for material for a new book; and the writer’s keeper, following in a truck with skinny, female hitchhiker.
All of the travelers get stopped by Collie Entragian, a supersized cop whose behavior is first odd, then threatening. Most of the residents of Desperation are already dead, murdered by Entragian.
Desperation’s plot mixes grisly details about the destruction caused by the mining industry and people’s natural stupidity with almost equally horrifying supernatural elements.
The only person who knows what how to respond to all the bad stuff is 11-year-old David Carver. He believes in praying to God and doing whatever God tells him. The adults look to David for direction.
King gets religion right: Having faith isn’t the same thing as having all the answers.
Desperation by Stephen King
Viking. ©1996. 690 p.
1996 bestseller #3; my grade: A-
©2020 Linda G. Aragoni