Welcome to one of my favourite horror stories from Stephen King. Set in a very tight space (a supermarket in a small town), with a larger-than-life event going on outside (a mist spreading out and killing whoever dares to go outside), the story analyses human behaviour in crisis situations.
Ten years ago, Hell Diver Xavier Rodriguez (“X”) fell to Earth. Those he left behind went on without him aboard the airship he once called home.
He held his breath, straining to hear over Terry’s stupid game—muffled but still audible through the open front windows. Aunt Mandy’s doorbell ding-donged, soft murmurs drifting up into the almost-darkened sky. And then, the muffled beauty of the evening was shattered by a wail. A soul being torn from a body. Tragedy shaped into sound waves. The cry was so all-encompassing that it seemed to blast in from every direction, as though an angel had stuck her head through a cloud and screamed down from the sky, her cry wrapping around the world like a choking veil. But it was a familiar voice, Aunt Mandy shouting as if those officers were fileting her still-beating heart.
The book was recommended in a top 10 list of good horror reads (along with The Haunting of Ashburn House and The Walking. I’ve left it out of my reading list for quite a while but while being stuck in an airport for 6h, decided to pick it up. I absolutely got dragged in head first into this horrific tale that had at its center a disappearing, two children and a monstrous being.
Loop me in, odd one. The words, spoken in the deep of night by a sleeping child, chill the young man watching over her. For this was a favorite phrase of Stormy Llewellyn, his lost love, and Stormy is dead, gone forever from this world. In the haunted halls of the isolated monastery where he had sought peace, Odd Thomas is stalking spirits of an infinitely darker nature.
In this world where too many are willing to see only the light that is visible, never the Light Invisible, we have a daily darkness that is night, and we encounter another darkness from time to time that is death, the deaths of those we love, but the third and most constant darkness that is with us every day, at all hours of every day, is the darkness of the mind, the pettiness and meanness and hatred, which we have invited into ourselves, and which we pay out with generous interest.
Through two New York Times bestselling novels Odd Thomas has established himself as one of the most beloved and unique fictional heroes of our time. Now, wielding all the power and magic of a master storyteller at the pinnacle of his craft, Dean Koontz follows Odd into a singular new world where he hopes to make a fresh beginning—but where he will meet an adversary as old and inexorable as time itself.
St. Bartholomew’s Abbey sits in majestic solitude amid the wild peaks of California’s high Sierra, a haven for children otherwise abandoned, and a sanctuary for those seeking insight. Odd Thomas has come here to learn to live fully again, and among the eccentric monks, their other guests, and the nuns and young students of the attached convent school, he has begun to find his way. The silent spirits of the dead who visited him in his earlier life are mercifully absent, save for the bell-ringing Brother Constantine and Odd’s steady companion, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
7 children brought together by an immortal monster re-unite in Derry, Maine after 27 years to kill it for good.
I would not understand, even know, why they would call this a novel when it was such a good horror story.A Novel: fictitious prose narrative of book length, typically representing character and action with some degree of realism.
It’s true, each of the 7 main characters plays an important role and even the point of view of the bad guys is presented. The action takes place in 1957-1958 when the children are young and set to find the killer of Bill Denborough’s brother, George, and also in 1985 when they re-unite to kill the monster for good. The main characters are:
Bill Denborough -Big Bill as they call him. The leader of the gang, the one pointing out the course of action, the one that has the most motivation to see the monster dead. Ginger and with a terrible stutter, he grows up to become a successful writer and marries Audra, a beautiful actress who resembles Beverly a lot. His power phrase is: “He thrusts his fists against the posts and still insists he sees the ghosts”, which is a phrase used to fight stutter. With this phrase he wounds IT for the first time and uses it to get rid of the ghoul of Georgie 27 years later.
Beverly Marsh – the only girl in the gang, with a defining red hair and green eyes, always wearing boyish clothes, except for the time she visits Eddie in the hospital when she takes on a dress. She is just getting into womanhood and she has a massive crush on Big Bill. The stories with Bevvie are either heart-crushingly sad, telling a tale of parental abuse and then marital abuse, and also triumphant, because in the end she stands up to the two men who beat her and makes a stand.
What I really liked about her was the fact that she held all the boys together and even after the first fight with IT, she glues them more by becoming more than their first crush. She loves them all but she adores Bill.
Her phrase is: “Sometimes, Bev, I worry a LOT.” – said by her father.
Ben Hanscom – or Haystack – he is the architect in the lot. Fat in his childhood, he undergoes a drastic weight loss in his adulthood, motivated by the hate for the track team coach. He is silent and also has a crush on Bev – that she finds out about and returns it. The Haiku she received in the post was from him. From the gang, he’s the one to stay with Bev forever, taking her with him to Nebraska after her abusive SOB of a husband is killed by IT.
Eddie Kasbarak- Red haired and thin, Eddie is the navigator of the group. He guides them through the Derry sewage system and then back out. He is suffering from “imaginary” asthma caused by an overprotective mother. He is quite brave, joining the gang in the hunt for IT even with a broken arm. He uses his aspirator to spray acid on the EYE and also saves Bill and Richie when they fight IT for the last time. He dies in the Canal, from blood loss.
His trademark is the wheezing sound he makes when nervous.
Stan Uris. Stan the MAN. He’s the bird lover, always proper, always neat. He’s the Jew of the bunch but with a good, and sometimes odd, sense of humor. He deflects the giant bird and the lepper by calling bird names. He commits suicide in the bath before attending the second meeting.
Mike Hanlon – the Nigger boy. I know it’s bad to say this, but I never even thought of Mike Hanlon being black until the story about his father’s army days. He’s the librarian, the keeper, and he’s the one to call them all back to Derry when IT appears again. He is hospitalized before the final battle with a cut femural artery and nearly killed by a messenger of IT. He delivers one good blow to Henry and Eddie finishes that rotten one off. He’s quite poor compared to the other members of the group who left Derry but he does OK for himself as a town librarian. He’s collected and trustworthy and has a good pair of nuts. Loved the scene from the Ironworks where he defends himself against the IT bird.
Richie Tozzier. Man of 1000 voices. His impersonation of the Irish cop is both funny and a life saver, especially in the final battle. Him and Bill really dish it out good to IT and finally kill it while Ben kills all the IT babies. His trashmouth is usually stopped by “Beep Beep, Richie” which is said with amusement.
IT – or better said SHE. It came from outer space, the MACROUNIVERSE, before time started and found the Earthlings a good source of food. Especially the ones with a rich imagination as it could scare them better. And there’s nothing like a good scare to put some salt in the meat and make it taste better. IT is the evil, the Tortoise is the Good and the overseer created them both to watch. The Tortoise barfed up the universe when it had a bad stomach, and IT went through it (a portion of it either way) down to Earth where it made Derry its sheep pen. Malvolent and with a rich set of mirrors, it could be every nightmare. But as it soon discovers, once trapped in a form, it will also gain the weak points – meaning the Werewolf could be hurt with a silver bullet. And the kids do just that.
I loved this book. I read it slow and it was long. The action escalated nearing the end and the time kept passing between 1958 and 1985 showing the way they wounded and killed IT. What I really liked about this book was the open way it shows racial discrimination in the 50’s, homophobia in the 80’s, school bullying, mental cases, mass ignorance, heard mentality, people coping with death, spousal abuse, domestic abuse and thank God it stopped in Bev’s case before showing incest.
The second reason I loved the book? The clear love between the friends, the feeling that you get when you know another human being is ready to die for you, the strong ties of friendship, the lovers in the cave. I did not expect it. Bev made every one of them her lovers. They would not talk about it, they would not mention it again, but they were bound to her forever. And the fact that she stayed with Ben was a smile bringer. He did have the biggest…. treasure … in his pants. 🙂
Overall an A++ from this 1985’s classic
Pennywise may yet be coming to cinema screens, as Cary Fukunaga is confirmed to still be working on Stephen King’s It…
Read more: http://www.denofgeek.com/movies/it/29263/new-film-still-coming-of-stephen-kings-it#ixzz2yH43IzRn
Publication Date: 15 Aug 1991
Paperback: 608 pages
Publisher: Headline; New Ed edition (15 Aug 1991)
Rachael Leben’s violently possessive ex-husband, Eric, hideously mangled in a freak accident, is dead. But his body has disappeared from the city morgue.
Now someone, or something, is watching Rachael. Calling her. Stalking her. And though no one will believe her, she knows who it is; that his walking corpse is a grotesque mockery of life, and his brilliant, warped mind, once again ‘alive’, is seething with jealous rage, seeking an unspeakable revenge.
This book is another “once-you-start-you-can’t-put-it-down” exhilarating reading experience. Dean Koontz has not yet disappointed.
“Shadowfires” has the most interesting opening chapter of all Koontz books. It reads like a self-contained short story and always makes me wonder whether Koontz wrote it first, then developed it into a longer tale much later.
The book begins by introducing the reader to Rachael Leben and her husband, Dr. Eric Leben, a former University of California scientist and professor who is a partner in a genetic engineering research firm. This high profile California couple is in the midst of a divorce after seven years of marriage. They seem like an above average couple whose divorce has all the qualities of turning into a nasty public media type circus event. Right after the meeting at Eric’s lawyer’s office, he hurls accusations at Rachael in an attempt to gain control over the situation as his masculinity and ego were totally crushed, humiliated when Rachael failed to press for everything she is entitled to under California divorce laws. After this highly charged emotional confrontation, Eric dashed across the street and in a freak accident was hit by a garbage truck. It hurled him in the air like a bomb blast and caused severe head injuries, from all indications killing him instantly. The paramedics could not revive him.
As if witnessing this event was not enough, the following day, Rachael receives a phone call from the Medical Examiner’s office where she learns Eric’s body had disappeared. After separating from Eric, Rachael had developed a friendship with Benny Lee Shadway, a highly successful real estate developer who was her sole emotional comfort during this horrible ordeal. He noticed she was paranoid and behaving oddly which he initially attributed to witnessing her husband’s accident but as time progressed he was to learn her behavior was based on more than his disappearance and death. Rachael starts carrying a gun with her whenever she goes out, she keeps the curtains of her home closed all the time. She is obviously afraid but can not articulate from what …
Dean Koontz supplies major clues throughout the book to gradually build up the suspense and the plot as the disappearance of Eric becomes connected to factors related to his genetic research. The manner in which Koontz ties together the story, plot and the unusual occurrences and events within the book is a mind-boggling but thoroughly satisfying reading experience. As an author Koontz knows just how to reveal more and more personal details about the life and background of each character to create a better understanding of their behavior and viewpoint. Obviously, the reader is free to loath, love, and cheer for specific protagonists as he masterfully and skillfully unravels the murder mystery. Dean Koontz has become my favorite author of this genre.
The characters are still so close to those of other novels they fail in coming over as completely fresh and unique. Rachael Leben is almost the twin sister of Laura McCaffrey in “The Door to December”, while Ben Shadway could be a distant cousin of Travis Cornell of “Watchers” fame. Both share a military background and even have a career in real-estate!
I liked all the side characters too, good and bad. Even the very minor ones, like the Jesus lecturing truck driver and Easton Solberg, the optimistic college professor, “The Stone” farmer father from Kansas of the runaway girl, all caught my attention and stayed with me. He only graces a few pages, but what a guy! Julio Verdad and Reese “I’m in” Hagerstrom were great “good guy” detective partners. I liked each chapter with them and their loyalty to each other. Verdad saves Reese’s child’s life years ago and earns Reese‘s loyalty without ever demanding it. Verdad‘s compassion for victims is endearing. I liked Reese’s courtship with the Teddy the real estated lady that first reminded him of a stork or a flamingo, that was funny and cute.