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3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  71,427 ratings  ·  1,144 reviews
Something is terribly wrong in Desperation, Nevada -- a small mining town just off Route 50 with a played out open pit copper mine. The streets are wind swept and deserted; animals have the run of the town and something horrific is brewing in the now abandoned mine pit. You won't have a good day in Desperation.

En route to Lake Tahoe for a much anticipated vacation, the Car...more
Paperback, 720 pages
Published July 17th 1997 by Hodder Paperbacks (first published January 1st 1996)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dirk Grobbelaar
Why, what a splendid book. Gosh! Tak.

”I see holes like eyes.”

Desperation is one of the downright scariest books I’ve read, and the scares come early. King manages, for the most part, to keep the tension up throughout the novel, which makes it one hell of an uneasy read. Some sequences are somewhat bizarre, and others are bluntly offensive, although this is only what you’d expect from a novel such as this: it’s not meant to be easy reading after all.

Something about this bothered [him], but for n...more
Nicholas Armstrong
I'm an indecisive rater and my rating on this will probably fluctuate with mood and memory but regardless of that this is a great read.

What I always found insulting was how easily critics, snobs, and pretentious twits write-off Stephen King because he writes stories about realistic people in fantastic situations. So what? Seriously, he writes amazingly so why give a damn what he writes about? Desperation is a perfect example of horror and fantastic writing and anyone who doesn't think so can go...more
Mari Biella
Say what you will about Stephen King, but you’ve got to hand it to our man in Maine: sitting down with one of his novels is never a struggle. Having read a number of his books, I’ve gradually come to think of him as being a bit like an old friend: a charming, chatty old friend who, for the price of a paperback, will happily sit down with you and tell you one of his numerous stories, stories whose occasional nastiness seems quite at odds with their mild-mannered narrator. On this level, Desperati...more
Lane Wilkinson
So, I dropped the pretention and read a Stephen King novel. True, I read several of King's middle school...but I thought that it was time to give him another chance. After all, King's popularity is eclipsed only by, oh, I don't know...Jesus? Well, not Jesus...but someone popular.

I'll admit, the story was engaging. King has a way with propelling his story-lines over hundreds of pages without taking a breath. Or so it would seem. Unfortunately, the mediocrity of his prose is, at best, d...more
This is probably the 4th or 5th time that I've read this book. I have always liked this story, although not as much as it's other half, The Regulators, but I have to say that this time, unfortunately, Desperation lost a little something for me. I actually downgraded it from a 4 star to a 3 star rating (OK, 3 1/2 maybe).

Maybe this is due to the fact that I'm on something of a King kick, and I've been reading a lot of his stuff within the past few months. I think, because of this, some of his les...more
Overall I enjoyed Desperation and I'm still planning on reading The Regulators. Religion was more of a theme with this book than the somewhat subtle undertones King usually uses but it didn't detract much for me. I'm not religious either, its just something I can accept if its used seriously as part of the story. It felt like King relied on it more sometimes than he could have though. It comes full circle through the characters and while King managed to create characters with human flaws, desire...more
If I were rating this book on story alone, I would probably only give it 2 stars, but because the style in which it's written means as much, if not more, to me as story, I'm saying 3 stars. As disturbing, sad, and at times disgusting as this book was, I wanted to know how it ended, who lived, who died, and WHY. Most of all, why?, but I was left a little disapointed on that score.

The story opens with a crazy cop on the rampage. He lives in the small desert town of Desperation, and scans the road...more
Jason P
Close your eyes.
Picture yourself driving down Highway 50. Windows are down and the wind is blowing your hair back like you're in front of a high powered fan. Tunes are blaring out of the front speakers, and everything is going perfect. You and your mate are having the time of your lives.
That's when you see the blue/red lights flash behind you, and a quick 'whoop whoop' flagging you down for you to pull over.

A strange man that looks like an officer of the law slowly makes his way to the side you...more
Dec 12, 2007 Mary rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Stephen King fans, horror fans, people who dig religious-themed stories
Shelves: horror, thriller
It's pretty much guaranteed that if Stephen King wrote it, I'll like it. I can't honestly say that this is one of his best books. It's certainly very menacing, and extremely tense, but it was also kind of predictable and the ending seemed a bit too easy. A lot of King endings are vaguely unsatisfying, though, and I blame that primarily on the fact that he builds up the story so much that there's really no way to end it on a satisfying note.

Still, something about Desperation got to me. It played...more
Ellen Hopkins
Closer to his early work, which I liked.
Campbell Mcaulay
A disparate collection of travellers are abducted by an insane cop and incarcerated in the jail of a small Nevada mining town in the middle of nowhere. It quickly becomes clear that the cop isn't just insane - he's posessed - and an ancient tunnel recently uncovered at the mine may hold the clue...

King's novels are rather variable in quality. I suspect that most careful and discerrning readers, even King's Constant Readers, will acknowledge that as true. I'll qualify the statement and state that...more
Jeremy Bates
One thing I find fascinating is how many critics write off Stephen King as a hack because he writes horror novels. Unlike literary authors, who write about extraordinary people in regular situations, King writes about regular people in extraordinary situations, and that’s just fine with me.

Desperation is reminiscent of King’s magnum opus The Stand, and King revisits many familiar themes such as good versus evil, salvation, redemption, faith, so forth. There’s also a lot of blood and gore, which...more
Uggh. This book was...unfortunate. This book was the other half of the two book album King released in the late 90's. The other was "The Regulators." In each King used a lot of the same characters but in different roles with different stories that contained many similarities. You can read my review on "The Regulators." It was bad, but this...King went big on this one.

It is his most overtly religious book since "The Stand" and it may be more religious than that. "Desperation" has hints of a cool...more
I absolutely loved this book. I think aside from the DT series this is my favorite King book. But of course I say that about every King book I read. *shrugs*

Something about spirituality in books really hits the spot for me. Its always interesting to see God from a different perspective. In the end its up to the reader to decide what they thought of God in this story. Or decide if they think King hit the mark or not. Personally, I see some truth in Kings portrayal.

On to The Regulators...
An enjoyable read on my second time through. It's still not one of my favorite King books, but it is still good. It would probably rate higher if King didn't set the bar so high, as this one falls in the average pile of his body of work.

Lots of fun though, looking for links to the Dark Tower series and to The Regulators....
Read back-to-back with "Bachman"'s The Regulators and my brain felt like King drop-kicked it when I was done.

The mini-series was kinda... bad, too.
Samuel Richards-hastings

The first half, maybe even two thirds and I was all HEY THIS MIGHT BE MY FAVORITE KING NOVEL. A creepy rural Nevada cop starts kidnapping innocent travelers!? Like all post-AA King, they're all thinly veiled representations of parts of his personality/personal history!? THE COP IS POSSESSED BY AN ANCIENT EARTH-GOD WITH POWER OVER THE LOWER BEASTS OF THE DESERT?@?!!? DUDE!

There's a movie adaptation where RON PERLMAN PLAYS THE COP!? DOUBLE DUD...more
Nicole Rhaven
 photo desperation_7.jpg

I don't think anyone knows this, (I am lying my ass off here) that this is my all time favorite book ever.
Want me to be honest? The reason why it's my favorite book is because of David fucking Carver. Most bad-ass kid ever. I just finished this book for the 7th time in 15 years since I first read it.
What keeps drawing me back? David Carver.

He does such adult things being a mere eleven year old boy, but at the same time his age shows.

In these silences something may rise.

(view spoiler)...more
I closed the book and said "wow". And then I cried. I was rather surprised at King's handling of God and religion. Usually, those kinds of characters turn out to be dangerous. This one, though, made faith seem sweet and not kitschy. I loved the way the story tied up in a neat little package. As always, I loved the camaraderie between the strangers thrown together in a terrifying situation. Their strengths and their weaknesses. I love the attraction between the older guy and the younger girl that...more
Barks & Bites
Cleaning out some old gems of mine. I tried reading this one many years ago and remember giving up midway. I have it on audio from the library and hope to get through it this time but I don't know . . . the thing is 18 discs long!

Later: Well, I managed to get through all 18 discs but I think I'm a glutton for punishment. If I had been reading this the traditional way I would've given up early on. Some of the characters were okay but mostly they seemed all too familiar. There was the religious bo...more
This story centres on the town of Desperation, a mining town that has fallen on hardtimes, made worse by the ancient force that has escaped from the nearby China Mine intent on taking over the town and escaping into the world permanently. In the process a number of not so likely suspects are thrown together in the struggle for survival both for themselves and mankind as a whole as good and evil do battle using every tool available to them.

King as created a superb tense filled masterpiece that ke...more
April Hamilton
I really, really wanted to like this book. At last, I thought, King returns to form with a supernatural thriller, and with the wonderful Kathy Bates narrating the audiobook, too! But I couldn't finish it.

The religious overtones are just too much for me. It's not just that they make the book preachy, but that in my opinion, they also make the plotting seem lazy. By the halfway point it became apparent to me that while evil would not always be defeated, when the author had decided that it *would*...more
Writing venomous criticism is not only easier than saying why you loved something, it also gives a certain kind of relief. This book however, succeeds to frustrate me even after finishing it. Because apart from the fact that I came close to hating it, I have a difficult time expressing why.
Maybe it’s good to know that 1. This was my first Stephen King book (and in extend horror-reading-experience) and 2. I tend to have a love-hate relationship with horror (movies), meaning that they are sickeni...more
Kayla Aurit
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
An excellent horror novel from Stephen King, that satisfyingly evokes classic novels from the author. This novel is full of great characters, including the detestable but redeemable Johnny Marinville, the 'prayer boy' David Carver, one of King's blessed boy characters (here used very effectively) and most especially Collie Entragin, the giant cop who serves as a terrifying host for the demon Tak.
This novel contains my favorite phrase from Stephen King; 'God grinds the axe he plans to use.' As fa...more
This was another book that got off to a really good start with the psycho cop out on the road to capture unsuspecting people and imprison them in the isolated town of Desperation. The tension of the book was building nicely, we had the plans to escape from their was all going really well.

And then this book was spoiled by the appearance of that damn stupid Tak, the same creature thing that ruined The Regulators which I had also been enjoying. I'm getting very frustrated with enjoying p...more
At times I felt myself immersed in it and at other times I was bored. The book is about a Cop in a small dessert town that is taken over by a demon (or some sort of evil entity)and then wreaks havoc on the inhabitants and a few people driving by. It was kind of fun at first. I liked the dessert setting of the book and I also liked the character of the cop and how he's completely taken the law into his own hands. King doesn't stick with that character, however, as the demon changes bodies. I thin...more
Gott ist Liebe?

Wie fing "Desperation" gut an, ein klassischer Paranoia-Roman im Sinne der 50iger / 60iger, gut und schnell zu lesen, geheimnisvoll, höchst beunruhigend, spannend. Endlich einmal wieder ein richtig guter King-Roman, dachte ich. Doch nach ca. 250 Seiten wendet sich alles zum Schlechten. Die Handlung kriecht nur noch voran, King schindet Zeilen und Wörter, der Dampf ist aus dem Kessel raus. Eine riesige Enttäuschung!
Der geheimnisvollen Wesenheit Tak! werden Spinnen, Skorpione und a...more
Several unsuspecting travelers are abducted along the highway by a seemingly psychotic police officer and taken back to a small town jail. Things go downhill quickly in the small town (things were already fairly bad), and the group of abductees must team up to fight an evil force that has invaded the area.

Ok, so it's basically standard Stephen King fare by this point. A group of survivors that must band together to survive. An ancient evil. A young child that seems to be gifted and/or destined...more
Aside from a collection of short stories, and his brilliant On Writing, I'd never read a King before. While this wouldn't have been my first pick, the used bookstore I was at didn't have his prime titles.

But that's ok. Because for who I am, this turned out to be right in my wheelhouse of interests--largely due to character David Carver. David is a kid (I think it specifies his age, though I forget. I always kinda picture him around 12 years old) who prays. But unlike most religious characters (a...more
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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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