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"Revival" by Stephen King
"Saying that this is one of King ’s most harrowing, most fatalistic works should only endear it to his base—this is horror, after all; we’re not here for the positive vibes. In the kind of loose, garrulous voice that has marked his last decade, King spins the yarn of Jamie Morton and Reverend Charles Jacobs, whose lives wretchedly intertwine for 50 years. Jamie is six when he meets the wholesome preacher whose hobby, electronics, makes him a hit with the Methodist youth. A tragic accident leads to Jacobs’ loss of faith—readers will also be scarred—but only increases his devotion to electrical experimentation: one of God’s doorways to the infinite. Jamie grows up to be a drug-addicted rhythm guitarist, but a reunion at Jacobs’ electricity-based carnival act proves the curative potential of secret electricity . . . despite unsettling side effects. Frankenstein is a touchstone here, but more so is Lovecraft, as King edges ever closer to the madness of the unknowable and eventually, to his courageous credit, stares directly at it. Though narrative wheels spin in place on occasion, the book’s engine is powered by high-octane dread, and few fuels run stronger. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: This is old-school, capital-H horror the likes of Thinner, Pet Sematary, and The Shining. Readers will be up for the endurance test."