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3.83  ·  Rating details ·  123,081 ratings  ·  2,758 reviews
Alternate Cover Edition ISBN 0451188462 (ISBN13: 9780451188465)

There's a place along Interstate 50 that some call the loneliest place on Earth. It's known as Desperation, Nevada.
It's not a very nice place to live. It's an even worse place to die.
Let the battle against evil begin.
Welcome to ... Desperation
Mass Market Paperback, First Signet Printing (US/CAN/UK), 547 pages
Published August 1st 1997 by Signet Book (first published September 24th 1996)
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Average rating 3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  123,081 ratings  ·  2,758 reviews

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Oct 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
**4.5-stars rounded up**

Desperation follows a bizarre cast of characters who come together to fight an ancient evil entity.

That would be my single-sentence synopsis if someone were to ask me what this book is about.

If you have ever read a Stephen King novel, however, you realize the actual answer is way more complex than that.

I first read Desperation around 2001. I had just finished my time at undergrad and was so excited to have time to read just for fun.

What I remember from that initial time
Yikes! U.S. 50 is much more than "the loneliest highway in America" when you end up in DESPERATION!

It all begins with a monstrosity of a 6' 7" police officer from hell and a scary trip into town for one unwary traveler after another; and once you do make it to town, well, the deadly creep-fest begins.

This chunkster of a novel is filled with really icky creepy crawlers, horrific & gruesome death, and enough blood and gore to fill a movie theatre, but when eleven year old David Carver enters the p

Dirk Grobbelaar
Feb 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Nicholas Armstrong
Aug 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Johann (jobis89)
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
"In these silences something may rise."

What a book! What a ride! Tak!

This is a story about the little mining town of Desperation. Regulating the traffic on the nearby Route 50 is Collie Entragian, who is an absolutely giant madman. If you're caught with a license plate number missing or you've got a flat tire...tough luck. Collie brings passers-by into Desperation where the real nightmare begins.

I loved this book from beginning to end, I was hooked from the very first page. It's an apocalyptic d
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
I closed the book with a wicked smile across my face.
First, the boy character made this book.
Second, the way this story makes you feel like you're right there. Third, how can you not love a 600+ page King novel. The bigger the better in my opinion. One of his best for sure.
Lane Wilkinson
Sep 10, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Michael || TheNeverendingTBR
Jan 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
"Those who do not learn the lessons of the past are condemned to repeat it."

This one is about a bunch people who, while traveling along 'Lonely' Highway 50 in Nevada, get tricked and abducted by a huge 6'7" town deputy who is clearly absolutely insane and get taken to the mining town of Desperation and thrown into cells.....

It's a good verus evil story which I absolutely loved, I just couldn't put it down, when I had to go and do something I was always looking forward to getting straight back to
Feb 05, 2013 rated it did not like it
While there is no doubt Stephen King is a great author with an incredible ability to write, he still needs an editor. Obviously, no one bothered to edit this novel from way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way too long. Are King’s editors too intimidated to do their jobs? It certainly appears so in this exceedingly unnecessarily long wordy work. Not even close to his best work. 2 out of 10 stars for this never ending yarn.
Bill Khaemba

“Dolls with no little girls around to mind them were sort of creepy under any conditions.” 


As a constant King reader, I was looking forward to diving into his twisted mindset again, for believe it or not this was my first King book this year and immediately from page one it felt like home. The whole setting for this book lends itself well to the extreme creepy factor from the ghost town in the middle of a desert to the long stretches of highway that just give this unsettling f

Adam Brigue
Dec 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great connections between lust and death. Must read!!
Jen from Quebec :0)
It has ups and downs and definitely could have trimmed at least 75 pages or so with better editing, I think, but a good read. Heavy on the religious aspects, for a King novel. After reading this one, though, I ALWAYS have to then immediately read 'The Regulators', which is the 'other side of the story' written by King's friend, 'Richard Bachman'...--Jen from Quebec :0) ...more
Oct 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What I learned from this book: tall people are The Devil. *lol*

This was … not the most excellent King I’ve read so far, but pretty good nonetheless.

There are four groups of people: a young couple (Mary and Peter Jackson), a family of four (father, mother, an 11-year-old boy and his younger sister), a washed-up writer, the writer’s assistant (who has to follow him at a little distance while his boss is crossing the USofA on his motorcycle) and a hitchhiker he’s picked up not too long ago.
These fo
Edward Lorn
The first time I read Desperation, I read it back to back with The Regulators in the fall 1996. Had I been reviewing in my teenage years, I probably would have given this two stars, and The Regulators four stars. The latter is a fun book from beginning to end, while Desperation takes off like a crackhead escaping police custody only to run out of steam about halfway to the sanctuary of his crack den. Sad Panda.

This read was a little bit better than the first because I was expecting the slow-as-
Jan 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: constant-readers
A one time thriving town in the Nevada desert Desperation is about to give up its secrets. An average King read in that it starts so well and the middle's so good, that comes to an end that can't live up to the expectation built!

DESPERATION by STEPHEN KING - My terrible Instagram review:
I gave it a W...
W for delightfully Weird covers of most editions.
W for Wild start that takes you on a demented first third of the book.
W for Weak finish in comparison to the intense and gripping earlier parts of
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
Oct 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, 2019-shelf
While so much of modern (and not so modern) horror is filled with religious terror, that unholy flipside to the noumen, there will always be a subset of horror devoted to scratching out particular aspects of it and developing it.

So, rather than going all tentacle monsters, we get down to the heart of the matter and terrify ourselves by saying that ALL is horror. :) Maybe it doesn't make for the most spectacular action tale, but it certainly bites you in the ass after a good long read.

Wait... di
Doreen Petersen
Aug 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: stephen-king
Although not one of my favorite Stephen King books I would still recommend it to all.
I really enjoyed this book. There was not one part of the story where I felt I wanted to pause or put it down. It's the type of story that makes me appreciate the talent that goes into writing.
The story is one that has been told been many times before. There are a group of people that do not know one another that are thrown together by chance and fighting together to survive the villain.
The book is ALL Stephen King as he's loved by his fans, from first page to the last page. I can honestly say
Ashley Daviau
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I did thoroughly enjoy this story it’s definitely not my favourite King. It’s good, but I didn’t think it was great nor nearly as good as The Regulators. It was an interesting and captivating story but what fell a tad bit short for me was the characters, I didn’t feel anything for them and I wasn’t rooting for them because of that. I did enjoy the whole concept though, it really drew me in and it’s what made me give this 4 stars rather than 3.
Cody | CodysBookshelf
Here we have it, folks: the biggest shock yet in the Stephen King reread.

Before today, I considered Desperation bottom-of-the-barrel King. Desperate King. I felt the religiosity was blatant, tasteless; the story derivative of things King had done better before. Funny how our tastes evolve and change as we get older, isn’t it? My sole reading of this novel was in my sophomore year of high school — about six years’ worth of stuff has happened to me since then. What can I say, I was able to apprec
Pantelis Andreou
Mr. King i bow down to you for such a masterpiece you’ve created!
Love love love
TS Chan
Mar 29, 2015 rated it liked it
This book together with its companion novel, The Regulators penned by Stephen King under his pseudonym Richard Bachmann, are probably two of the scariest books I've ever read. ...more
Sep 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 Better than Regulators but not as good as it could have been. Begin was stellar loved the fast pace and was so invested and intrigued. Until about 60% of the way through then it drug for me around the time when everyone came together in the theater. I don't think it's the writing it's a personal trope I'm realizing I just don't like in horror. (view spoiler) ...more
Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows)
Ah Desperation! So good to reread you again. It has been around 20 years since I've read this book and while I still prefer this over The Regulators, I didn't quite enjoy it as much as I have in my first round. You certainly can't take away from King's ability to weave a tale, insert gore, religion, faith, horror and bloody ooziness into one solid crazy ass novel.

Some people have issues with the religious aspect of this book. I am not a religious person by any means but this never really bothers
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
Feb 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stephen-king
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
Adam Light
Stood up well after nearly twenty years. Too tired to put together a long review, but I want to point I reread this one right behind my second trip through It, and was surprised at how many similarities the two share. It is a far superior book, of course. There was also a nice reference to those pesky tommyknockers, as well. On to The Regulators now.
Amber J
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great book. Scary and crazy and still leaves you a bit confused by the end. I've read it twice now and still plan on rereads. Also check out Regulators which it basically Desperation in an alternate universe. Worth the read on both books. ...more
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Stephen King 2021...: The book that started it all, Septembers book!! 1 10 Sep 12, 2019 09:10PM  
What did you think about this book? 6 53 Sep 20, 2018 01:59PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Please add book cover 2 15 Mar 01, 2018 02:20AM  
What do you think about Desperation vs. The Regulators? 8 42 Feb 01, 2018 01:20PM  
Stephen King Fans: This topic has been closed to new comments. Desperation 3 32 Aug 31, 2017 05:02PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Correction 5 14 Jun 23, 2017 11:56PM  
Horror Aficionados : Desperation - Stephen King 5 37 Feb 05, 2017 09:39PM  

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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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