“He shows he can still pull off scenes with a characteristic combination of intensity and oddity”



King promised us a scary book with Revival but it isn’t, not really, not to me anyway but don’t let that fool you into thinking it was a disappointment. It certainly wasn’t to me and as I read the entire thing in two sittings I think I can safely say it is absorbing in a way only King can be.

We meet Jamie Morton at the age of 6, he comes from a God fearing, well thought of family of 5 children, he is the youngest with 3 older brothers and a sister. He’s out playing in the front yard when a shadow falls over him, some horrifying monster? No, just the new preacher, a young man by the name of Charles Jacobs who is taking over tenure of the local church with his beautiful wife and young son Morrie and who will come to define much of Jamie’s life.

Rev Jacobs may be God’s servant but he has a flair for the scientific too and as we all know science and religion are poor bedfellows at best. We begin to see the conflict when Jamie’s older brother Conrad is in an accident and loses his voice. Spurred on by the familial pain and disharmony caused by Con’s failure to regain his voice, Jamie is overcome and runs off, he finds himself at Father Jacobs’ and spills the entire sorry story to him.

Jacobs asks that Conrad is brought to the Preacher’s home and he effects a cure using a scarflike contraption and his own ‘special’ electricity, the boy’s voice returns but the children are sworn to secrecy, promising never to mention Rev Jacobs’ name in regards to the sudden cure.

The usual tragedies occur, the unfairness of life laid bare in King’s typical unflinching fashion. We follow Jamie through his teenage years into a drug hazed adulthood and his subsequent ‘miraculous?’ cure.

Charles Jacobs is a peripheral though prominent player in Jamie’s life and we watch as the once pleasant young preacher becomes darker and more threatening as the tale unfolds. Jamie’s life may be back on track but he owes a favour and he can’t quite let go of his childhood friend who is dabbling in things best left untouched.

Yet again with King’s more recent books, nothing much seems to happen in the first 3/4 but it still keeps you hooked, keeps you wanting more and you scrabble your way to the finale because you know he’s going to throw you a curve ball and catch you out. And of course he does.

The ending is climactic as always, unnerving definitely and umm a little bit B movie… But for me, it’s the inevitability of the future the protagonist is left to face that is the true horror of this book, there really is no escape.. For any of us.

So, if you want blood, guts and gore, ripped off arms and man eating classic cars, pass this by.. If you want a good honest story that’s just a little bit unnerving, you’ll love it.


Reviewed by:

Shan Williams

Added 3rd July 2015

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Shan Williams