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The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
ISBN 0140007857 / 9780140007855 / 0-14-000785-7
Publisher Penguin Books
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Stephen King started writing Storm of the Century as a novel, but it evolved into the teleplay of an ABC TV miniseries. Set in Maine's remote Little Tall Island, the tale is all about vivid small-town characters, feuds, infidelities, sordid secrets, kids in peril, and gory portents in scrambled letters. The calamitous snowstorm is nothing compared to the mysterious mind-reading stranger Linoge, who uses magic powers to turn people's guilt against them--when he's not simply braining them with his wolf-head-handled cane. Don't even glance at that cane--it can bring out the devil in you. Just as The Shining was concerned with marriage and alcoholism as much as it was with bad weather and worse spirits, Storm of the Century is more than a horror story. It's creepy because it's realistic.
But it's also unusually visual. Linoge's eyes ominously change color, wind and sea wreak havoc, a basketball leaves blood circles with each bounce. The 100-year storm no doubt hits harder onscreen than on the page, but the snow is a symbol of the more disturbing emotional maelstrom that words evoke perfectly. And the murders of folks we've gotten to know is entirely terrifying in print. The crisp discipline of the screenplay format makes this book better than lots of King's more sprawling novels--the end doesn't wander and the dialogue crackles. Here's the real test: It's impossible to read parts 1 and 2 and not read part 3, "The Reckoning." --Tim Appelo [via]