Lat­est King novel marks re­turn to true hor­ror

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Weekend Life - ROB MER­RILL

Re­mem­ber when Stephen King said he was re­tir­ing? That was more than a decade and at least six books ago, and he’s done noth­ing but crank out best­sellers ever since.

The lat­est novel — likely to be No. 1 next week — is ap­pro­pri­ately ti­tled Re­vival, for it marks a re­turn to true hor­ror for the mod­ern master of the genre. There are no soul-suck­ing vam­pires as in Doc­tor Sleep, or spec­u­la­tive his­tor­i­cal fic­tion about the as­sas­si­na­tion of John F. Kennedy as in 11/ 22 /63.

Re­vival spans half a cen­tury, but at its heart are a young boy — Jamie Mor­ton — and a New Eng­land pas­tor named the Rev. Charles Ja­cobs who cap­ti­vates him from the mo­ment they meet in 1962. The plot is set in mo­tion when the good rev­erend starts to heal the sick us­ing some­thing he calls an “Elec­tri­cal Nerve Stim­u­la­tor.” Over the years, as he ducks in and out of nar­ra­tor Jamie’s life, he learns how to har­ness elec­tric­ity to a greater and greater de­gree un­til he’s lit­er­ally ready to re­vive the dead.

It’s no fun spoil­ing all the scares, but here’s a phrase — spo­ken by Ja­cobs to Jamie early in the novel — that neatly sums it up: “The road to hell is paved with good in­ten­tions. And lit with elec­tric lights.”

King fans won’t find any­thing to com­plain about here. At just over 400 pages it’s one of his quicker reads and any hint of the su­per­nat­u­ral is blended with ten­der mo­ments that ground the char­ac­ters.

If this is your first King novel, it’s not a bad choice.

Re­vival Stephen King Scrib­ner

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