Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #231

Stephen King News From the Dead Zone

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a safe and pleasant holiday season. I know a lot of people had travel issues, so I hope none of you are still stuck in an airport somewhere (if you are, Mr. King and I have an anthology to help you pass the time) or trying to track down your luggage.

Will 2023 be a good year? Hard to say, but I know one thing for sure: we have a new King book to look forward to in September and a movie adaptation that has the studio’s confidence.

We’ve known for a while that King was writing a book featuring Holly Gibney that takes place during the pandemic. We now have a publication date (September 3, 2023), a cover, a synopsis and a page count (464).

So, what is Holly about, I hear you all asking (except for those of you who prefer not to know anything before diving into a book—if you’re one of those, scroll down a bit)? Here’s the official synopsis:

In King’s new novel, Holly is on her own, and up against a pair of unimaginably depraved and brilliantly disguised adversaries.

When Penny Dahl calls the Finders Keepers detective agency hoping for help locating her missing daughter, Holly is reluctant to accept the case. Her partner, Pete, has Covid. Her (very complicated) mother has just died. And Holly is meant to be on leave. But something in Penny Dahl’s desperate voice makes it impossible for Holly to turn her down.

Mere blocks from where Bonnie Dahl disappeared live Professors Rodney and Emily Harris. They are the picture of bourgeois respectability: married octogenarians, devoted to each other, and semi-retired lifelong academics. But they are harboring an unholy secret in the basement of their well-kept, book-lined home, one that may be related to Bonnie’s disappearance. And it will prove nearly impossible to discover what they are up to: they are savvy, they are patient, and they are ruthless.

Holly must summon all her formidable talents to outthink and outmaneuver the shockingly twisted professors in this chilling new masterwork from Stephen King.

Pete, in case you’ve forgotten, is Pete Huntley, Bill Hodges’ former partner who is now Holly’s partner at the Finders Keepers agency. (I heard someone speculate that it referred to Pete Saubers.) Pete’s not a young man, so COVID could be bad news for him.

Did I hear you say you’d like to read an excerpt? Well Entertainment Weekly has one for you, if you do.

King’s most recent book, Fairy Tale, has been—and this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone—optioned for a movie adaptation. Universal won an auction to acquire the rights and has named Paul Greengrass as the director. He will also produce and write the script. “Needless to say, I’m a Paul Greengrass fan and think he’s a wonderful choice for this film,” said King. He granted Greengrass the option for $1.

Brian Keene is still working on his graphic novel adaptation of Gwendy’s Button Box. Character designs and early artwork are in progress, but there’s no word yet when it will be released.

Centipede Press recently announced a limited edition of The Long Walk. I’ve known this was coming for a while because I wrote the book’s introduction before the pandemic! There’s an edition signed by the artists and me, as well as an unsigned version. King did not sign any copies. I’m really looking forward to seeing this one—it should start shipping soon.

Recent interview: Stephen King Talks About ‘Mr. Harrigan’s Phone’ and So Much More at

Not-so-recent interview: Stephen King and the Psychology of Horror at the Milwaukee Public Library. August 25, 1980.

An interesting article: How a Maine blacksmith ended up creating the iconic gates at Stephen King’s house

Last week, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that executives at 20th Century are so impressed by test screening response to Rob Savage’s PG-13 adaptation of The Boogeyman they’ve decided to change the release plan. Originally slated to debut on Hulu, it will now be in movie theaters on June 2. I have it on good authority that the trailer will run on January 29 during the NFC championship game.

The movie, shot in New Orleans last winter, centers on a 16-year-old and her younger sister, both still reeling from the death of their mother, who are targeted by a supernatural entity after their father, a psychologist, has an encounter with a desperate patient in their house. Chris Messina, Sophie Thatcher, Vivien Lyra Blair, David Dastmalchian, Marin Ireland and Madison Hu star.

Dark Tower fans are rejoicing at the news that Mike Flanagan (Gerald’s Game, Doctor Sleep) has acquired the rights to adapt the series. Flanagan recently moved from Netflix to Amazon Prime, although he said in an interview that it won’t necessarily appear on Amazon, who already passed on Glen Mazzara’s pilot. ” I wrote a pilot, we view it as a as a series that’s going at least five seasons…followed by two stand-alone features,” Flanagan said. “I sent [King] a very, very detailed outline of what I wanted to do with it. And it was in response to that, that he gave us the rights.”

Adaptations that seem likely to appear sometime “soon”:

  • ‘Salem’s Lot: Although it has yet to be scheduled, it has received an R-rating, so it’s still moving forward. The running length is 113 minutes.
  • Pet Sematary prequel: David Duchovny will appear as Timmy Baterman’s father, according to this interview.
  • Welcome to Derry: The prequel to It, which is moving forward at HBO Max. Jason Fuchs and Brad Caleb Kane are serving as co-showrunners. Fuchs wrote the teleplay for the first episode of the series, based on a story he wrote along with Andy and Barbara Muschietti, with Andy being eyed to direct the series premiere.

Signed copies of my most recent book, Stephen King: A Complete Exploration of His Work, Life, and Influences, are still available from Village Books in The Woodlands, if you’re interested. Be sure to specify if you’d like a dedication and/or inscription on the order form. Croatian and Italian editions have already been published, with Czech, Spanish, Hungarian and Japanese to follow.


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