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The Dead Zone

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3.92  ·  Rating details ·  162,902 ratings  ·  3,442 reviews
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 an interminable coma with an accursed power—the power to see the future and the
...more
Mass Market Paperback, 402 pages
Published August 1980 by Signet/New American Library (first published August 30th 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)
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Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.92  · 
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 ·  162,902 ratings  ·  3,442 reviews


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Jeffrey Keeten
Jul 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-to-film, horror
“We all do what we can, and it has to be good enough, and if it isn't good enough, it has to do.”

 photo 1239f876-1169-4e93-ba31-3efb5dcb1290_zps6iebs0gr.jpg
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
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Carol
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Carol by: Florence
WOW! No horror or gore here, just bits of well done paranormal and one hell of an excellent story!

Meet John Smith, he is a good guy.......you'll like him. He has a great sense of humor, loves his parents (including his lunatic mother) and Sarah. Even after life deals him a devastating blow with recurring consequences and difficult challenges, Johnny still perseveres.

Visit a carnival and spin the wheel of fortune, see inside the mind of a sick serial killer, and watch a dangerously radical

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Kemper
Johnny Smith is one bad-luck bastard.

He starts off well enough as a nice guy with a talent for teaching and is in the early stages of what looks to be a very promising relationship with Sarah. However, a car accident leaves Johnny in a coma which nobody thinks he’ll recover from. Miraculously, he wakes up 4 years later, but he finds that Sarah has married someone else, his mother has turned into a religious lunatic, he’s got a long and painful rehab to endure, and he faces a mountain of debt
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Matthew
This was my second time in The Dead Zone. I remember the first time fondly as this is only one of two Stephen King books I read in one sitting (the other being Pet Sematary). The first time was in the late 1990s at an all-night coffee shop in Cincinnati. I read until the sun came up fueled on caffeine and the enthralling words of the Master of Horror himself.

I suppose knowing that I read it in one sitting says a lot about what I thought about it – I LOVED IT! It blew me away. It was creepy,
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Luffy
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Dead Zone is a brilliant book. It has practically no filler. It's criminally underrated. It was a fun read from beginning to the end. In a way, Johnny Smith reminded me of myself!

The bare bones of the plot are not important. I thought that a human life should always be considered with dignity. That sometimes doesn't happen with our hero. I use the term "hero" in the Greek sense of tragedy.

Please read this book if you haven't yet. It's far better than recent King books. I tried, on another
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Nandakishore Varma
Sep 20, 2011 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
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Leo .
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic book. Sixth sense. Teacher in an accident. Visions of the future. Great film too starring Christopher Walken.

Loved the scene in the film when Christopher Walken is talking to Herbert Lom, his doctor.

He asks him, being that he is a Jew, if he could go back in time and get close to Adolf Hitler...Would he kill him?

Herbert Lom replies that he is a doctor and his job is to save lives...And finished by saying he would kill the son of a bitch! Classic Stephen King!

Imagine if you could go
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Zoeytron
Sep 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An incredible run of good luck with a Wheel of Fortune game at a county fair is the start of things spinning out of control for John Smith. He is about to lose five years of his life in a horrible way. When he returns, everything has changed. Fate and predestination play their parts. The stink of burning rubber persists, and there is a dead zone inside his brain.

I'll lay it right down on the table for you. More frightening to me than any monster are religious fanatics. There is one in here who
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Dan Schwent
May 11, 2013 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.

The
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R.K. Gold
Nov 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Okay here we go Mr. John Smith. I know you have this strange ability to see into the future but did you see this review coming? Well, did ya? You feeling lucky John? Cause I sure as hell am after reading this. I'm not as sad to finish it as I was the dark tower series (because i poured so much emotion into finishing those damn books) but this was quite an enjoyable read; one I could really sink my teeth into when given a full day to do so.
The development of John, his relationship with his
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Matt
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“We all do what we can, and it has to be good enough, and if it isn’t good enough, it has to do…”
- Stephen King, The Dead Zone

Stephen King’s The Dead Zone would have made a perfectly snappy short story or novella: A man gets into a car accident, slips into a coma, wakes up five years later, and can foresee a person’s future by touching them. He runs into an ascendant politician, realizes the man is a mortal danger to the nation, and sets out to stop him. The climax sets you up to expect one
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Jennifer
I've read some of Stephen King's titles but nowhere near enough, so I have made it a personal goal to read little by little until I get caught up...if that is even possible. This genius of a man has written a lot of books! I chose The Dead Zone for my next King novel simply because of the recently released audiobook. It's narrated by James Franco!! I absolutely adore him. Seriously, he could do a Pepsi commercial and I would DVR that sucker! Not only did he do a superb job in his narration in ...more
AMEERA
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Amazing really enjoyed ' ...more
Edward Lorn
Oct 13, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: King fans and fans of politics
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
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Ahmad Sharabiani
The Dead Zone, Stephen King
The Dead Zone is a horror/supernatural thriller novel by Stephen King published in 1979. It concerns Johnny Smith, who is injured in an accident and remains in a coma for nearly five years. Upon emergence, he exhibits clairvoyance and precognition with limitations, apparently because of a "dead zone," an area of his brain that suffered permanent damage as the result of his accident.

The prologue introduces the two main characters. In 1953, a young boy named John Smith
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Delee
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
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Rebecca McNutt
I have the film adaptation of this on VHS (it's one of my few tapes I haven't watched yet), and reading The Dead Zone really makes me want to watch it now. As is often the case in King's books, the characters have supernatural powers, but something about John Smith's abilities stand out high above those of Charlie McGee's pyrokinesis. King focuses less on shady people who want to use this power for evil, and more on John Smith himself and what his own conscience is telling him to do.

I can
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Justin
Oct 26, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first part of Stephen King’s The Dead Zone was just straight-up fun to read. It had that Something Wicked This Way Comes vibe to it with the spinning wheel, the creepy carnival worker, and Johnny Smith pressing his luck and drawing a crowd. It was the first chapter in what ultimately becomes The Saga of John Smith, Psychic or Something.

The rest of the book walks through events where this psychic ability becomes useful in a number of ways, ultimately leading up to a thrilling,
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Paul Nelson
Sep 23, 2014 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
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Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror
January 2016-
Oh man! I totally read this book in January of 2014! I even wrote that in the book so I wouldn't forget. I mean, the minute I read the prologue, I knew I had read it recently. Johnny Smith, falls down ice skating and his world is never the same again. How can I forget that I read this? It wasn't even that long ago-two(ish) years ago?
So let me give more of a review though:
This is one of King's greatest character developments. The protagonist is someone we find ourselves very
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Michael Jandrok
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some time last year I decided that it would be a fun idea to reread a lot of the Stephen King canon, starting with his first novel, “Carrie” and then keeping to a more or less chronological schedule, adding in stuff like “The Dead Zone” and “Firestarter” that I had skipped back in the day for whatever unknown reason. I got as far as “The Shining” when I realized that I needed to get off track and knuckle down on “Doctor Sleep,” King’s 2013 sequel to the original and find out what happened to the ...more
Kathryn
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
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Marianna Neal
This was SO GREAT! Loved it, couldn't put it down. Easily one of my King favorites, and I suspect it will remain there no matter how many of his books I read. What a story!
Laura Noggle
Dec 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: stephen-king, 2017
2.5 Stars: Not bad, not great, but still entertaining.

“Tears streamed down her face, sliding over the smooth hard surface of the nightpack like rain on chrome.” (Blade Runner, anyone?)

This audiobook is excellent, and I would definitely recommend it to someone who is a fan of James Franco (he reads it with such vervre! much accent!) and who also enjoyed the John Travolta movie "Phenomenon."

However, it is my least favorite Stephen King book to date. It's not bad, per se, but not especially
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Scott
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
** The Stephen King Goodreads Discussion Group is doing a re-read of his works from the beginning to the end. It’s been a long time since I have really immersed myself in Uncle Stevie’s world, but a rate of a book a month, I am all in. My goal is to read and review each one with as much honesty and reflection that I can give. **

Background – “The Dead Zone” was originally published in 1979. It was adapted not only into a fairly successful movie in 1983, but also a cable network television series
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S.P. Aruna
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thriller-mystery
Probably the best of King's early works, and may even represent a turning point in his writing.

The novel is a work of genius because of its structure. I don't think King planned it, the story just went where it went, but the result is a series of vignettes, different stories centered around the same character, which in the commercial fiction world of today would have ended up as several books of a series (that's why it was so adaptable as a television series). Stories that flow into each other
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Rita
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
John Smith's life was going good. He loved his job teaching, he was good at it, and the kids really liked having him for a teacher. He was in love with his girlfriend, Sara, a fellow teacher. They were going to the county fair and Sarah asked him to spend the night. He had a very strange run of luck guessing what numbers would come up on the wheel at the fair, in fact Sara was frightened by the way he looked as he won round after round. She started to get sick, maybe from a bad hot dog, so ...more
Bettie


Description: 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 an interminable coma with an accursed power—the power to see the future and the terrible fate awaiting mankind in The Dead Zone.


No, not this, nor indeed this:

or this:



Will the real Johnny Smith
...more
Dannii Elle
Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror-hazes
Johnny Smith is a lucky fellow. He knows just where to go, how to get there, what to do, how to do it, who to meet, and how to meet them. But this streak of luck seems to fizzle out when he is involved in a life-threatening car accident and a subsequent years-long coma.

When he awakens, the world he left is not the one has returned to. His fiance has found another and Johnny is imbued with the same abilities he has always had, but this time they come inhibited with more astonishing consequences.

...more
Micaela Alvi
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: stephen-king, 2017
4.5 stars. Johnny has become one of my favourite King characters. This book was so moving, I absolutely loved it.
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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, ...more
“Some things were better lost than found.” 179 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.” 60 likes
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