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The Dead Zone

3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  130,981 Ratings  ·  1,868 Reviews
Also see: Alternate Cover Editions for this ISBN [ACE]
ACE #1 - ACE #2 -
ACE #3

Johnny, the small boy who skated at breakneck speed into an accident that for one horrifying moment plunged him into The Dead Zone.

Johnny Smith, the small-town schoolteacher who spun the wheel of fortune and won a four-and-a-half-year trip into The Dead Zone.

John Smith, who awakened from
Mass Market Paperback, 402 pages
Published August 1980 by Signet/New American Library (first published August 1979)
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SmarterLilac Yeah, yeah, It is fine. And very relevant to a whole swath of major social issues affecting the psychology of an entire generation.

So is The Dead Zone…more
Yeah, yeah, It is fine. And very relevant to a whole swath of major social issues affecting the psychology of an entire generation.

So is The Dead Zone. In a big way. Really a transgenerational condemnation of how our parents (and grandparents) effed up our society and what it would take if anyone wanted to (or could) avoid the worst. But I don't think about this novel as mere social commentary, (even the important, non-sentimental kind) but as a brutally insightful discussion of the burden of Knowing, either as a psychic, a prophet, a scientist, an historian or anyone else, that Bad Things are coming and You are the sole obstacle in their way. It is a heavy and hard responsibility to carry, and very few will be able to wield it well. Even John Smith, though he makes the right choice (just barely) finds his 'luck' run out eventually. And what of those who remain? The other characters have all chosen to try to save society in other ways--but we know how well conventional approaches worked out for the Boomers, don't we?

Pennywise? Has nothing on Frank Dodd. What Bill, Beverly, et al experience? Has never moved me the way John Smith's last stand(s) did.

What's past is prologue. The Dead Zone is every bit as important to 2016 readers as it ever was. (less)
The Stand by Stephen KingIt by Stephen KingThe Shining by Stephen KingMisery by Stephen King'Salem's Lot by Stephen King
Best of Stephen King
14th out of 122 books — 2,745 voters
The Shining by Stephen KingIt by Stephen King'Salem's Lot by Stephen KingDracula by Bram StokerPet Sematary by Stephen King
Best Horror Novels
33rd out of 1,419 books — 4,341 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jeffrey Keeten
Jun 29, 2016 Jeffrey Keeten rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, book-to-film
“We all do what we can, and it has to be good enough, and if it isn't good enough, it has to do.”

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Who else but Christopher Walken could play Johnny Smith in the highly praised David Cronenberg film?

Johnny Smith is a rookie teacher with $8 in his pocket, just enough money to take his best girl Sarah, also a new teacher, to the local county fair. Sarah is coming off a couple of recent relationships that were exciting with aggressive, unpredictable men. Johnny is a step in a new direction, maybe a
Nandakishore Varma
Jan 21, 2016 Nandakishore Varma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
In my own personal opinion, this is the best story Stephen King has ever written. Not the most frightening, not the most thrilling, no: but this novel has true literary merit. And a tragic hero (not a mere "protagonist, mind you) who really qualifies for the title.

John Smith (his name immediately marks him out as the "common man") is blessed and cursed with second sight. It began as a minor ability due to a skating accident in his childhood; but when he wins big time at the roulette wheel in a v
Dan Schwent
Oct 29, 2013 Dan Schwent rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, 2013
Johnny Smith wakes from a coma with the psychic ability to read a person when he touches them. Will he use this ability for good or for selfish reasons? And what's the deal with this Greg Stillson character that's swiftly becoming a heavy hitter in the political realm?

Sometime in early 2013, I resolved to read some of the Stephen King books I missed during my binge around the turn of the century. Along with The Shining and It, the Dead Zone is something I'm surprised I hadn't read years ago.

What comes from knowing things? Nothing. What is the purpose of knowing the future? So you can change it? But wouldn't what you knew about the future and the change you were going to bring to the future, be the way it was supposed to be anyways? Just think about it...

I think in the case of Johnny Smith and The Dead Zone , I would have to say what happened to Johnny and the events surrounding him, happened for a reason.

This is not a horror novel, in my opinion. This is more of a sci-fi novel do
THE DEAD ZONE was my very first Stephen King book, and I would like to thank David Cronenberg, Christopher Walken, and one of my high school best friends- Natalie Kowalski- for introducing me to the world of John Smith, and in turn the world of Stephen King.

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After watching and falling for the character John Smith- in the 1983 movie THE DEAD ZONE, I decided to search out the book that it was based on. I had never heard of Stephen King- I had read a lot of mysteries, but had never read a horror nov
Franco  Santos
Apr 12, 2016 Franco Santos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stephen-king
Espectacular libro de King. Es uno de mis favoritos de él. Muy humano, conmovedor, profundo y, aunque sea un poco pesado en algunas partes, adictivo. En La zona muerta, King toca temas como la religión, el desencuentro, la soledad y el poder de forma madura y concisa. Una obra maestra.
Paul Nelson
Oct 28, 2014 Paul Nelson rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014-books-read
Next up on my Stephen King quest is The Dead Zone, again it’s not a review as such but a collection of my thoughts on the book. So there may well be spoilers but I think pretty much everyone has read it a long time ago anyway, all except me.

After reading The Stand & Salem’s Lot in quick succession, you start to appreciate what a spellbinding storyteller The King can be and I can compare these to the other end of the spectrum, his newly released material, Mr Mercedes & Doctor Sleep. The o
Edward Lorn
Nov 17, 2014 Edward Lorn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: King fans and fans of politics
Shelves: 52-in-52-2014
For Goodreads: 2.5 stars.

I think I dislike this book a little more every time I read it. The Dead Zone is, for the most part, boring setups that lead to lackluster climaxes, if they can be called climaxes at all. Maybe "payoffs" would be a better word... But I think what I dislike the most about this book is all the political mumbo jumbo. I simply don't give a shit about politics, and this book is full of it. If Johnny Smith isn't thinking about how shitty he has it, he's ruminating on the polit
Feb 21, 2011 Daniel rated it really liked it
Three-fourths into this book, I realized that the slow burn that King tended was turning into something much fiercer; after reading the final paragraph, I was struck with a keen sense of melancholy and loss. In brief, this is a story about a man who is struck with a tragic circumstance, and how he deals with it. A sketch of the social and political situation in America circa the mid-1970's runs, at first, parallel to this account; later, it all intertwines with the kind of neatness that one find ...more
¡Último libro del 2015!
“Johnny deseó estar muerto. Si su talento era un don divino, Dios era un lunático peligroso al que había que apagarle el carro.”

La Zona Muerta es mi tercer libro de Stephen King y aún me sigue asombrando su habilidad de mezclar religión, política, hechos paranormales y psicología en una única trama. Y hacer que funcione. Su talento si que es un don divino.

La historia resulta un poco predecible, casi desde el comienzo ya puedes adivinar como va a terminar todo. No hay
I decided like, I don’t know, six months ago? that I was going to read ALL THE STEPHEN KING, so I was eventually going to read this book (and all his others) no matter what. Deciding which books to read first was the main thing. I decided to read this one first (and Misery and The Stand, come to think of it) because I read his On Writing back in November, and he talks about the process of writing all three of them. The way he talked about them made me want to read them more. Anyway, the point of ...more
Stefan Yates
May 01, 2012 Stefan Yates rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For some reason, my recollection of reading this book before was very vague. Therefore, I went into the rereading process without knowing what to expect at all. Boy, was I surprised. After finishing it, I think that The Dead Zone is one of King's best novels.

The character development is superb and I think that Johnny Smith is possibly one of King's best developed characters. We also spend considerable time with his family members and the principle villains and these characters are all strongly d
Jun 21, 2010 Stephen rated it really liked it
4.0 to 4.5 stars. This was the first Stephen King book that I ever read and after finishing it I immediately went out and bought every Stephen King book that my local book store had in stock. Loved the characters, the story and the exploration of the moral question asked in the novel, "knowing what you know now, if you could go back in time and kill Hitler, would you do it." Great stuff and classic King.
Adam Light
Feb 11, 2016 Adam Light rated it it was amazing
The Dead Zone is a triumphant outing from King. I read this in high school, but much of the essence of the story was lost through the years. The writing is superb. I've read everything King has released, excepting the one he did with Stewart Onan about the Red Sox, and, in my opinion, this one seems to be a pivot point in his development as a writer. Like The Shining, this one relies heavily on what goes on inside the main character's head, but Johnny Smith is much more developed, and sympatheti ...more
Ruth Turner
Jan 14, 2015 Ruth Turner rated it it was amazing

Audiobook - Narrated by Lorelei King.

Lorelei King is one of the few female narrators that I really enjoy. She does an excellent job with Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series and she's really the only reason I continue with a series that is going steadily down the toilet.

However, I found that her voice didn't really fit this book and I'm not sure why. Maybe it would have been better with a male narrator, at least for me. I didn't finish it.



I started reading this book with no real expe
Apr 06, 2009 Manny rated it liked it
As people may have gathered by now from my reviews, I never liked Dubya very much. While he was President, I would often think of The Dead Zone and hope someone would try to shoot him.

I didn't want them to kill him or even cause him any physical damage. I just wished that he'd instinctively grab a nearby kid and attempt to use him as a human shield. Stephen King is right: that would have made people take notice.
Mar 01, 2013 Tina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: awesome
I know almost every person on this planet is familiar with the story, but I want to tell you this: Forget about any movie or TV series you've ever seen and get your hands on a copy of The Dead Zone. It's a book that will warm your heart and then rip it apart. A book that will tell you about finding love and losing it because it was just too good to be true; about the shit life has in store for us and the consequences we have to deal with; about getting a great 'power' and accepting the responsib ...more
Ken McKinley
Mar 10, 2016 Ken McKinley rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
The Dead Zone was a re-read for me, as many will be as I go through The Stephen King Challenge, and I forgot how powerful this book was. King was really in fine form during this period in the late 1970s.

Johnny Smith is a young teacher that has started to date Sarah, another young teacher that works for another school. They've started to fall in love and Johnny takes her out on a date to the county fair. They're both excited about the night. Love is in the air and Sarah has hinted that she'd lik
Aug 29, 2013 Yona rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, thriller
I'm left little speechless and I don't know from where to begin.

I'll write a review a little bit later, I need some book with HEA right now for therapy.

I decided it was time to read a Stephen King's book. I've read The Colorado Kid by Stephen King , but I can't put it in the same place as The Dead Zone or Pet Cemetery or etc
So, I started it, but I didn't know what to except. While I read the first maybe 20- 30% of the book, I was like this description I was waiting for something very scary to happen. But nothing that scary happened,
May 31, 2016 Licha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-author
There is no horror to this story, not even what I would call a paranormal aspect to it, yet this story is a great one when dealing with the human element. Johnny Smith is as common as his name implies except for the fact that he can see into the human soul of people or objects he touches. After waking out of a four year coma, Johnny wakes up with the gift of seeing, but it becomes his burden. It alienates him from the people around him and at times acts like a magnet for the wrong kind of people ...more
Mar 26, 2016 Chris rated it it was amazing
Needless to say, my second time reading this book (probably originally read in my early 20s, and I'm 48 now) is due to our current political climate. But I'd forgotten most of the novel and upon my reread I more or less discovered this fine dark gem all over again. Most everyone may know the basic premise, but Johnny Smith suffers from the ability to gain flashes of insight, or visions, whenever he touches someone. This has haunted him since childhood, after an ice skating accident, but has beco ...more
Paula ★Ackerman Jaeger★
Recomendación: lean este libro antes de Cujo (si es que tienen planeado hacerlo), ya que de otra forma no se van a sorprender del asesino (como yo) y también van a entender mejor lo que pasa con Cujo.
Omg, no me esperaba ese final. Johnny me dio mucha pena, tuvo una vida muy triste y llena de dolor.
Dec 06, 2015 Amar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vrlo dobar roman sa veoma simpatičnim glavnim likom a i jako zanimljivim likovima uopšteno . Ova knjiga nije horor nego bi je više svrtstao kao neki politički triler ( što mi je iskreno ubrzo postalo naporno ) sa paranormalnim elementima .
Izdvojio bi podglavlje o gospodinu Doddu ( najdužem podglavlju u knjizi ) koje je predobro napisao i veoma zanimljivo !

I odličan kraj kojeg bi svrstao u neku TOP 10 najboljih krajeva koju je King napisao .

Bod oduzimam zbog ( po meni ) jako napornih anegdota ,
Eric Althoff
Aug 16, 2007 Eric Althoff rated it it was amazing
While Stephen King has rightfully garnered a reputation as a horror writer, some of his best fiction revolves around stories of everyday humanity affected by elements of the supernatural. After awakening from a five-year coma, John Smith has come back from the ether with a clairvoyance to see certain futures and hidden pasts of others by touch alone. Opting to use his powers for good, John is called upon for such tasks as helping the police to catch an elusive rapist. But when he shakes hands wi ...more
May 24, 2016 Nayra.Hassan rated it really liked it
ا"لماذا انا"سؤال إنساني يتبادر إلى ذهن البشر ..كلما اصابتهم مصيبة..و هل هناك مصيبة اكبر ..من الاصطدام بالشر في أقوى صوره؟
الأنانية..كلمة لابد إن تمحوها من حياتك..ما ان تبتلى بتلك القدرة
التي تمكنك من معرفة ماضي الجماد و البشر ..ما ان تمسهم يديك
ا"ان تعرف اكثر من اللازم..فلابد من دفع الثمن" ..حتى لو خسرت كل شئ. .
تدور الأحداث عبر 10سنوات ..مليئة بتفاصيل طبية..وأخرى سياسية عن الولايات المتحدة في السبعينات. .بها الكثير و الكثير من الشخصيات الثانوية
ولكن يظل جون سميث المدرس البسيط مثالا
just ok. it seem to take too long to get through.
Apr 03, 2015 R.a. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fic-gen, fic-horror
4.70 stars.

“. . . it’s hard for me to believe there ever was such a year as 1970, and . . . at other times [it’s] a handsbreath away, that I can almost touch it.”


In The Dead Zone, Stephen King reflects the spirit of the times more than in any other novel previously penned, (his Bachman Roadwork serves, perhaps, as an exception). The novel reflects, like others at the time, a major shift in American culture—that to the 1980s—and the seemingly non-stop swing of “the pendulum” toward a more con
I didn't really know what to expect from this novel. I knew the plot and I had seen the movie with Christopher Walken, but I had postponed reading the novel. A few summers ago I finally decided to give it a try.

The thing that really stood out to me ,and caught me somewhat flatfooted, was the theme of change. Rapid breathtaking change and the fact that it happens whether we like it or not. In this respect I realized this was a very personal aspect that the story was hitting on.

The Dead Zone wa
Chrissa Vasileiou
Mar 30, 2016 Chrissa Vasileiou rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stephen-king
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
La zona morta
Non vi è mai capitato di non riuscire a ricordarvi qualcosa? Intendo qualcosa che vi è accaduto o che vi è strettamente familiare. Ad esempio, io alla mia festa di laurea c'ho dato dentro non poco e dopo essermi bevuto l'impossibile e fumato l'impensabile, finii (ovviamente) la serata prono sul water con un amico che mi reggevo la testa ed a cui dicevo in ogni lingua conoscevo quanto gli volessi bene (diciamo che dicevo a tutti che gli volevo bene ed in quel momento era anche vero).
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Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father's family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, M ...more
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“Some things were better lost than found.” 136 likes
“We all do what we can, and it has to be good enough, and if it isn't good enough, it has to do.” 40 likes
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