Thermalsatsuma's Reviews > Under the Dome

Under the Dome by Stephen King
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's review
Apr 29, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: 2010
Read in April, 2010

In the sleepy Maine town of Chester's Mill, folk are simply getting on with their lives on a typical late Fall day. One person is making his way out of town - Dale 'Barbie' Barbara, Iraq veteran and lately short order cook at the local diner until he got on the wrong side of a gang of good ol' boys. Unfortunately for him the gang included the son of the town's second selectman, car dealer and de facto head honcho 'Big Jim' Rennie - exactly the sort of fellow that you don't want as an enemy. Barbie is nearly at the town line when quietly and without fuss the town is cut off, surrounded by an invisible dome that will allow nothing to pass.

The immediate consequences include a crashed plane, and several car accidents as vehicles hit the barrier and come to grief. The longer term effects are far more serious, as Big Jim sees his chance to seize control of the town. He establishes his own private police force and sets about settling scores and making sure that none of his dirty little secrets will come to light - and there are plenty of secrets to be hidden in Chester's Mill.

No one writes about life in small town America with the same eye for detail and authenticity as Stephen King. He deftly weaves this story with a large cast of characters, and plots the brutally swift collapse of civilised behaviour in the isolated town. There are allusions to the events of 9/11 and hurricane Katrina, as well as the Stanford prison experiment, and when things go bad, they go bad very quickly in ways that are all too believable. The environmental consequences are charted too, as resources start to run out and pollution chokes the air.

Definitely one of King's better books of recent years, as well as one of the longest, and the audiobook is superbly narrated.


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