Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #184 (Haven 5B)

The old ways are gone. This is the new Haven.

Preview: Haven Season 5B, episodes 1 & 2

All good things must come to an end, and tonight marks the beginning of the end for the Syfy series Haven. For the past 65 episodes, since the series premiered in 2010, the residents of Haven have been dealing with the most recent outbreak of the Troubles, which are far worse this time around than they’ve ever been before, in part because people have been meddling with the works. If Nathan and Duke and Dwight and the rest of the merry band had simply let matters run their natural course, Audrey Parker would have gone into the barn and everything would have been fine for another generation. But, no! They had to try to fix things and, by doing so, everything has gotten exponentially worse.Continue Reading

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #183 (Haven part 5a)

Haven is set to return on October 8th for its final season. You may not have time to catch up on the 13 episodes that make up Season 5A, so this is a synopsis of events that I hope you’ll find helpful. If you want to read my posts about the characters and previous seasons, you can start here and work your way back. I’ll be updating the Who’s Who with info from Season 5A in due course, and I’ll have a sneak peak of Season 5B for you soon: I’ve already seen the first two episodes. Stay tuned. The game is changing in many different ways.Continue Reading

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #182

Next week will be busy for Stephen King. On September 9, he will be appearing in Cambridge, MA in conversation with Lee Child to promote the new Jack Reacher novel, Make Me. The next day, he will be among the eleven individuals receiving the National Medal of Arts from President Obama in the East Wing of the White House. The citation says, “One of the most popular and prolific writers of our time, Mr. King combines his remarkable storytelling with his sharp analysis of human nature. ” Then, on the following day, September 11, he will be a guest on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show during its inaugural week.Continue Reading

News from the Dead Zone review: 'The Shining: Studies in the Horror Film'

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Featured review: The Shining: Studies in the Horror Film

The Shining: Studies in the Horror Film
The Shining: Studies in the Horror Film

I don’t make a habit of reviewing books that I’m involved with. However, I’ll make an exception in the case of The Shining: Studies in the Horror Film. My essay takes up only about 2% of the book’s 750 pages. Full disclosure, though: I know the book’s editor, Danel Olson, personally. He lives a couple of miles from me, we’ve gone to see movies together and I’ve spoken to his college classes on a couple of occasions.

Having gotten all of that out of the way, this is the sort of book I wish I’d had access to when I was writing my essay, which is called “The Genius Fallacy: The Shining’s ‘Hidden’ Meanings.” Continue Reading

News from the Dead Zone #180: DRUNKEN FIREWORKS Review


Featured review: Drunken Fireworks

drunken-fireworksThose of us who’ve read our work in public understand how difficult it is to keep an audience engaged for longer than about 15 or 20 minutes. Unless you’re a skilled performer (Tom Monteleone comes to mind among that group), the audience will get restless if you go on much longer than that.

Which is why the producers of audiobooks so often turn to actors as narrators. Or, as in the case of “Drunken Fireworks,” the new audiobook-only story from Stephen King, to someone like Tim Sample, who has produced the “Postcards from Maine” segment for CBS Sunday Morning. Other people in his category who come to mind are Garrison Keillor of The Prairie Home Companion or, a personal favorite, Stuart McLean from The Vinyl Cafe. These are raconteurs, people you don’t mind listening to for extended periods of time as they spin out their stories.Continue Reading

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #179

Featured review: Finders Keepers

Lisey Landon had a word for the people who clamored for the fragments, snippets and memorabilia of her dead husband’s literary estate: Incunks. Is there is a similar word for those who seek the remnants of a living (though perhaps inactive) author?

Finders_Keepers_2015Morris Bellamy is obsessed with John Rothstein, a writer cut from the same cloth as J.D. Salinger. Rothstein withdrew from the world in 1960, living in New Hampshire a mile from his nearest neighbor. Now almost eighty, he is most famous for a trilogy featuring protagonist Jimmy Gold.

Bellamy has read the first two books, The Runner and The Runner Sees Action, countless times, but the final book only once, so much does he loathe the fate that befell a character who is more alive to him than most real people. He thinks Rothstein sold out, made Gold go establishment in The Runner Slows Down (the series titles are reminiscent of John Updike), where Gold winds up married with kids and working in advertising.

In 1978, convinced that Rothstein must have continued writing in the two decades since his last story appeared in The New Yorker, Bellamy enlists the help of two clueless accomplices and invades Rothstein’s farmhouse. They uncover wads of cash and, more importantly to Bellamy, scores and scores of ledgers containing Rothstein’s handwriting.

By all rights, Bellamy should have been caught soon after the robbery, but, like Brady Hartsfield in Mr. Mercedes, luck is on Bellamy’s side. Sort of. He isn’t arrested because of this incident but rather because of something that happens subsequently. His Achilles’ heel is that he can’t handle being made to feel stupid. He’d already spent nine months in juvenile detention after a drunken rampage sparked by an argument with his mother over the Rothstein novels. He blames her for his incarceration—he’s never takes responsibility for his own actions. This time, his drunken misadventures end in a far worse outcome and he is sentenced to life in prison—before he has the chance to savor the spoils of his robbery.

Though nominally a sequel, Finders Keepers works perfectly well as a standalone novel. It intersects with Mr. Mercedes via the City Center Massacre, where Hartsfield killed several people and maimed others with a stolen Mercedes. In the second book of a proposed trilogy, that incident is represented by the Saubers, a family who fell on hard times during the economic downturn. Tom Saubers was waiting in line at the job fair that fateful day. He survived, but was seriously injured and ends up hooked on painkillers during his rehabilitation. There are frequent loud arguments with his wife, mostly over money.

Then thirteen year old Pete Saubers stumbles upon a buried treasure. Not only does the trunk he discovers in a vacant lot near his house (the same one Morris Bellamy grew up in) contain stacks of cash, it also holds intriguing, handwritten ledgers. At the time, Pete has no idea who John Rothstein is, but over the following years he becomes familiar with the man’s work.

In Pete’s mind, this is a case of “finders keepers,” but if he gives the money to his parents, they’ll want to report it to the cops. So, he mails them $500 each month anonymously. The Saubers convince themselves it’s further compensation for Tom’s injuries. It won’t make them wealthy, but it’s enough to silence the worst of the arguments. Pete’s discovery represents the turning point for his family.

But the money runs out four years later.

By then, Pete understands the true value of the ledgers, which contain poems, short stories and two unpublished Jimmy Gold novels that complete the cycle. Liquidating them is a problem, especially for a high school sophomore. If he turns them in, he won’t get anything more than a pat on the back, and he wants to raise enough money so his younger sister, Tina, can go to private school. She’s smart, but falling through the cracks at public school. He’s forced to seek the help of a shady individual, which sets into motion a catastrophic sequence of events that jeopardizes his entire family.

For the first 150 pages, the story bounces around between 1978 and 2009-2013, relating incidents in Bellamy’s and the Saubers’ lives. Then Det/Ret Bill Hodges gets involved and the pace of the novel accelerates to breakneck speed, with the second half covering only a few days.

The novel is dedicated to John D. MacDonald, who wrote the introduction to Night Shift and penned a series featuring Travis McGee[1]. McGee helped people who had things stolen from them in a way that precluded legal recourse. For his services, he kept fifty percent of whatever he recovered. Half of something was better than nothing, he reasoned.


As with Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers is set in the “real world,” where Stephen King is a person who writes books, movies are adapted from them and popular tropes have entered the cultural awareness. And yet, it can’t be a coincidence that Brady Hartsfield resides in Room 217 of the Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic. Can it?

Can it?

Hodges, slimmer and healthier than when he first retired, is in a similar business, a company called Finders Keepers he formed after he wriggled out of the trouble he found himself in because of his rogue investigation into the Mercedes Killer case four years earlier. When first seen in 2014, he’s repossessing a stolen Lear Jet from a con man. His fee isn’t half of the jet’s value, but it’s a tidy sum nonetheless. Plus, he brings the culprit to justice and puts a feather in his former partner’s hat, another move toward reconciling their rocky relationship.

Holly Gibney, the awkward and damaged woman who emerged to the forefront in Mr. Mercedes, is now Hodges’ assistant. She runs the office, keeps the files and performs computer research to help Hodges track his targets. She’s not completely healed—she still has numerous quirks—but her self-confidence has been boosted by recent experiences.

Hodges’ other “irregular,” Jerome Robinson, is at Harvard. His younger sister Barbara happens to be good friends with Pete Saubers’ sister, which is how Hodges gets involved. The disreputable bookstore owner Pete consults about the manuscripts puts the teenager in a difficult spot. The stress takes a toll on him and Tina notices the change in her brother’s behavior. However, Pete rebuff’s Hodges’ offer of assistance.

Morris Bellamy is paroled from prison after nearly four decades. Finally given a chance to recover the ledgers, he is incensed to discover that someone has beaten him to the punch. He has a suspect, though: the one person who knew about them when he was arrested. This puts him on a collision course with Pete Saubers and, ultimately, with Bill Hodges. Hodges’ investigation isn’t really the typical stuff of a detective novel—with the assistance of Jerome and Holly, they try to help Pete out of his predicament without understanding until late in the game exactly who is after him or why.

In the novel, King discusses the world of rare books and literature. He talks about natural selection in terms of which authors’ works survive over the decades and which don’t. The power of a story to captivate plays an important part in the novel’s resolution, as does the question of which is more important: the writing or the writer. Bellamy and Annie Wilkes share a common belief that their favorite authors owe them something when a series of books takes a direction they don’t like.

At times, Finders Keepers enters Kate Atkinson territory. Coincidence (or co-inky-dink, as one character puts it) plays a part in the proceedings. Pete finds Bellamy’s stash shortly after the Emergency Fund for victims of the City Center Massacre runs out. He approaches the bookseller with the ledgers barely a week before Bellamy goes looking for them. And Bellamy gets closer to the ledgers than he could possibly imagine due to a coincidence of geography.

And what of Brady Hartsfield? At the conclusion of Mr. Mercedes, King hinted that we hadn’t seen the last of him. That despite the grievous injury he received at the hands of Holly and Hodges’ happy slapper, there was still some life left in the young psychopath. Hartsfield is Hodges’ obsession. The retired detective wonders if he’s faking his condition, so he visits him frequently to try to catch him out. In the final pages of Finders Keepers, King lays the groundwork for the third book in the series, tentatively titled The Suicide Prince. It seems that Hodges is in for a rematch with his old nemesis.

[1] Another MacDonald novel, The Executioners, the inspiration for the movies Cape Fear, makes a cameo appearance in Finders Keepers in much the same way that a couple of King novels cameoed in Travis McGee novels

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #178

Next up from Stephen King is Finders Keepers, which will be out on June 2. There’s an excerpt in the May 15 issue of Entertainment Weekly (also online). Scribner and King’s office are running a contest for a signed copy of the book, as well as audio and hardcover editions. The early reviews (you can read Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Library Journal and Booklist reviews here) have been very good. Stay tuned for my review very soon.

At a recent event, King said he was hard at work on the third volume in the series, which has the working title The Suicide Prince. The previous book, Mr. Mercedes, won the Edgar Award for best novel. King was present to accept it, as he was also at the banquet to present the Ellery Queen Award to Charles Ardai, editor and founder, Hard Case Crime.

On November 3, we’ll get King’s next collection, The Bazaar of Bad Dreams. King will introduce each of the eighteen stories and two poems, providing “autobiographical comments on when, why and how he came to write it”, as well as “the origins and motivation of each story.” The contents are: “Mile 81,” “Premium Harmony ,” “Batman and Robin Have an Altercation,” “The Dune,” “Bad Little Kid,” “A Death,” “The Bone Church,” “Morality,” “Afterlife,” “Ur,” “Herman Wouk is Still Alive,” “Under the Weather,” “Blockade Billy,” “Mister Yummy,” “Tommy,” “The Little Green God of Agony,” “That Bus is Another World,” “Obits,” “Drunken Fireworks,” and “Summer Thunder.” The cover is being gradually revealed at King’s official website.

Several of these stories are quite rare or haven’t been generally available. “Bad Little Kid,” for example, was only released in French and German previously. A few were only available electronically, and “Under the Weather” only appeared in the paperback edition of Full Dark, No Stars. A few of the stories are brand new. Among this number is “Drunken Fireworks,” which will be published as an audiobook read by Maine humorist Tim Sample on June 30. The story will also stream in its entirety on select CBS radio stations nationwide on July 2nd, in keeping with its Fourth of July theme.

Other publication news

Hard Case Crime has announced they will publish an illustrated edition of Joyland this September, featuring cover artwork by Glen Orbik, a map of Joyland illustrated by Susan Hunt Yule and more than twenty interior illustrations by Robert McGinnis, Mark Summers and Pat Kinsella. Note that this is not a limited edition. Hard Case Crime will publish as many copies as are needed to satisfy demand for the book. In related, sadder news, Orbik died recently at the age of 52 from cancer.

The Shining: Studies in the Horror Film is now available for pre-order from Centipede Press. This 752-page book, edited by Danel Olson, features a new introduction by Academy-Award winning director Lee Unkrich, and nearly two dozen new interviews with cast and crew members, reprint interviews, and a handful of excellent essays (plus one from yours truly). The book also features an amazing assortment of behind the scenes photographs, most never before published, crisp frame enlargements from the film, and a special gallery of poster artwork inspired by the movie. The book will be shipping later this month.

Movie news:

  • This is unexpected and welcome news: Sony Pictures has teamed with MRC to co-finance the Dark Tower adaptation. Sony will distribute what is planned to be the first in a series of movies. A complementary TV series is also being developed by MRC. The new script is primarily drawn from The Gunslinger and the relationship between Roland and Jake, using a brand new script co-written by Akiva Goldsman and Jeff Pinkner. No director has been attached yet, but it’s the most promising news in forever.
  • Will Poulter (We’re the Millers) is in negotiations to play Pennywise in the upcoming two-part movie adaptation of It directed by Cary Fukunaga.
  • The principle cast for 11/22/63 (Hulu, early 2016) has been announced: James Franco (Jake Epping), Chris Cooper (Al Templeton), Sarah Gadon (Sadie Dunhill), Cherry Jones (Marguerite Oswald), Daniel Webber (Lee Harvey Oswald),  George MacKay (Bill Turcotte), Lucy Fry (Marina Oswald), and Leon Rippy (Harry Dunning). Academy Award winner Kevin Macdonald will direct and executive produce the first two hours of the nine-hour event series.
  • Brad Pitt’s  Plan B has optioned feature rights to The Jaunt. The company has attached Andy Muschietti and Barbara Muschietti, the duo behind the 2013 horror film Mama.
  • Vincenzo Natali (Cube) is adapting “In the Tall Grass,” the novella cowritten by King and Joe Hill. Principal photography is scheduled for September in the Toronto area.

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #177

The Kings and the Straubs: All in the Family

A report from the event at St. Francis College, Brooklyn Heights, April 21, 2015

Last Tuesday, I attended an event held in Founders Hall at St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights that featured Stephen & Owen King and Peter & Emma Straub. The event was co-sponsored by BookCourt, a bookstore where Peter Straub’s daughter Emma worked for several years.

It was billed as a “round table,” despite the absence of any table, round or otherwise. The four authors faced the audience of approximately 300 on tall, low-backed bar chairs that didn’t look terribly comfortable. King joked that the setup was a little like a Jerry Springer episode: Writers whose children grow up to be writers.

The first two rows were reserved for SFC students. Two additional rows were occupied by people in publishing and the media. Admission was free, so the event “sold out” quickly. An overflow room was set up nearby where other attendees could watch the discussion on a simulcast. A hodge-podge of signed novels was on sale in a nearby room—it was a terrific opportunity for fans to get inexpensive signed King books. They were generally later printing paperbacks, but even so.


Isaac Fitzgerald of BuzzFeed Books moderated the evening. He started off by asking how the authors were influenced by the other members of their family. King talked about how all of the writers in his family shared their material back and forth, and that Owen provided valuable feedback on Mr. Mercedes and the forthcoming Finders Keepers. He said that his other son, Joe Hill, had emailed him the previous day saying that his editor decided that instead of starting his next book, The Fireman, in media res he might consider telling the story linearly. Hill asked his father if he could send him the first 150 pages for his input.

Peter Straub talked about collaborating with his daughter on a short story that grew into a novella, an experience that taught him that brevity works. You don’t have to fill in the back story of every character and their grandparents, he said. He appreciates the fact that Emma knows that writing is work, that you have to put in the time. He recalled an incident when she was visiting them and they were just about to sit down to dinner but she said she had to leave. She still had to write two pages that day. “My daughter,” he said with obvious pride.

Owen Kikng and Emma Straub agreed that at an early age they were disabused of some of the more romantic notions about what writing entails. Owen remembered as a child thinking that his father’s job was to go up to his office, close the door and listen to the Ramones. It seemed like a good gig. Then he realized he did it seven days a week and it was actually a very hard job to write a novel, day after day. This knowledge made them put off wanting to become writers for a number of years. Straub said she wanted to be a poet at first, and her father chimed in that he started out as a poet, too. His motivation was that it required much less typing than writing books!

Peter Straub recounted the story of how he and King decided to collaborate, which happened late one evening (after many cigarettes and much beer) the first time King visited Straub in England. After King suggested they write a book together, the first thing they did was figure out when they could do it, taking into account their respective contracts and the relative speeds at which they wrote. They decided they could begin in two years. When they got down to it, they worked on the story’s “Bible.” Instead of a quest to get rid of something, as in The Lord of the Rings, they decided on a quest to bring something back. They started stringing out the story from there and hit it back and forth like a tennis ball. “Never in the middle of a sentence,” Straub said, “but sometimes in the middle of a paragraph!” The second time they collaborated, Straub said they were more relaxed. There was no spirit of competition. King talked about how they made an effort to copy each other’s styles so no one would be sure who wrote what.

Emma Straub explained why she decided to set her first novel in the world of Hollywood. She’d already published a collection of stories that were about things that were similar to her life: young women in New York encountering problems. She grew bored of anything that had to do with New York City. She wanted to go as far away from herself as she could. She had never done research for her writing before and discovered that she loved it. You can actually write about things that you think are cool and want to know more about, she said.

The Kings shared a humorous story about how Owen (and his other children) used to make money by reading books onto tape for his father to listen to while he traveled, and how he used to do funny voices when reading works like Dune. Owen said he has recovered all of those tapes so no one else will ever hear them.

The moderator took questions from the audience and, given that Straub and King were together, one of the first concerned the status of the follow up to The Talisman and Black House. King said that they always knew that the story wasn’t done with the second novel, that there were things that needed to be finished. Peter sent him a book called Redheaded Peckerwood that set his imagination on fire. He described the book as a photographic-impressionistic thing about Charles Starkweather. “We can use this,” Straub said. “It can be a motor.” Straub jokingly suggested calling the next book A Girl, A Car and a Gun.

When the subject of music came up, King talked about buying “Funky Town” by LIPPS INC. He said that he got into a fight in college because he wrote disparaging things about Blood, Sweat and Tears. Straub recalled that they each had their own record they would put on when it was their turn to work on the ending of Black House. King’s choice was “Electric Avenue” by Eddie Grant. King laughed, saying that Peter couldn’t believe that one of the lyrics was “Deep in my heart I abhor you.” Owen said that he listened to Wings Greatest Hits when he was writing his first book. “I don’t even like them that much.” His wife was ready to kill him by the time he was finished. His father said he had the same experience with Mambo No. 5. He added that everything he said about playing music in Revival also applied to writing. Only Emma Straub said that she couldn’t listen to music while writing, especially not anything that has lyrics.

One question concerned what everyone was writing at present. Peter Straub said that he has been working on a novel called The Way It Went Down for three or four years. He also has a big collection, Selected Stories, due out in April 2016. King said that he is trying to finish up the third book in the Detective Hodges trilogy, the title of which will be The Suicide Prince. Emma Straub said that she is on page 247 of a novel that takes place in Brooklyn, but she doesn’t have a title for it yet. “A lot of people are having sex,” she said, which the moderator suggested might make a good title. Owen King said that he has a graphic novel coming out in September that he co-wrote with Mark Poirier, called Intro to Alien Invasion. He’s also working on a TV project that he’s contractually forbidden to talk about.

Here are two other reports about the event:

And here are the event photographer’s pictures. The event video should be available soon.

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #176

It’s not every day that you get a brand new short story from Stephen King for free, right? Well, today is just one of those days. “A Death” will appear in print in the March 9 issue of The New Yorker, but the story is online right now. There’s also a brief Q&A with King on the New Yorker website.

“A Death” will be included in The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, King’s next collection, due out in November. Among the stories we expect to see in that collection are “Ur” and “Bad Little Kid,” which will be appearing in English for the first time anywhere. (I reviewed it for Fearnet last year.)

The forthcoming story “Drunken Fireworks,” which will be released in audio on June 30th, will also be in Bazaar.  Here’s the publisher’s description: “In this new tour-de-force from Stephen King—unavailable in print or any other format—a salt-of-the-earth Maine native recounts how a friendly annual summer fireworks show rivalry with his neighbor across the lake gradually spirals out of control…with explosive results!”

Before that collection, though, we’ll get Finders Keepers on June 2, the follow-up to Mr. Mercedes. The audio version will once again be read by Will Patton. Here is the publisher’s copy for the novel:

“Wake up, genius.” So begins King’s instantly riveting story about a vengeful reader. The genius is John Rothstein, a Salinger-like icon who created a famous character, Jimmy Gold, but who hasn’t published a book for decades. Morris Bellamy is livid, not just because Rothstein has stopped providing books, but because the nonconformist Jimmy Gold has sold out for a career in advertising. Morris kills Rothstein and empties his safe of cash, yes, but the real treasure is a trove of notebooks containing at least one more Gold novel.

Morris hides the money and the notebooks, and then he is locked away for another crime. Decades later, a boy named Pete Sauberg finds the treasure, and now it is Pete and his family that Bill Hodges, Holly Gibney, and Jerome Robinson must rescue from the ever-more deranged and vengeful Morris when he’s released from prison after thirty-five years.

Not since Misery has King played with the notion of a reader whose obsession with a writer gets dangerous. Finders Keepers is spectacular, heart-pounding suspense, but it is also King writing about how literature shapes a life—for good, for bad, forever.finders_keepers_us_hardcover_full_small

The Marvel graphic novel adaptation of The Drawing of the Three continues with the release of House of Cards #1 on March 24.

Adaptation news:

  • Under the Dome kicks off its third season with a two-hour premiere June 25. Marg Helgenberger has joined the cast for an extended story arc.
  • Sonar Entertainment will develop Mr. Mercedes as a limited series for television. David E. Kelley (Boston Legal, Ally McBeal, The Practice) is attached to write the script and Jack Bender (Lost) will direct.
  • James Franco has been cast as Jake Epping for 11/22/63, which will be a 9-hour series on Hulu.
  • Clarius Entertainment has acquired US rights to Cell, which was produced by Benaroya Pictures and The Genre Company. The plan is to release it theatrically later this year.
  • True Detective director Cary Fukunaga is on board for a new adaptation of It. At Sundance in February, he was a little vague, saying, “If that movie happens, it will be my first movie made in America.” He says he’s only thought about casting for Pennywise (without revealing who). The kids will mostly be unknowns, he says. He confirmed that the first movie will focus on the kids and a later film will do the adult story. He does not yet have a script for the second film.

Here is  King’s review of Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story, by Rick Bragg from the NY Times.

Recent interviews and public appearances:

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #175

I suppose everyone’s busy reading or listening to Revival, right? The book has been out for a week now, and King has wrapped up his six-city tour in support of the novel. He also made a couple of media appearances:

Excerpts from the audio version, read by David Morse, are being released over the next seven weeks at Experience Revival.

King talked about a few projects he might like to work on in the future. He’s interested in returning to the Dark Tower someday, probably to tackle The Battle of Jericho Hill. He wants to write a story about Franny falling down a well after she and Stu head for Maine. And he hopes to work with Peter Straub on a third book about Jack Sawyer. This one garnered the most interest, especially after a photo emerged of the two of them together following King’s signing in New York. However, his administrative assistant indicated that this won’t necessarily happen soon, despite intentions. Read her statement here.

I hope you’re checking out the journey Rich Chizmar is taking at Stephen King Revisited. Starting a couple of weeks ago, he is reading all of King’s books in publication order, including collections, Bachman books and non-fiction. At a pace of 2-3 books per month, we estimate this endeavor will take around two years. I’m along for the ride, writing historical background essays for each book. There are also guest essayists who’ll be appearing from time to time. For example, Ray Garton wrote about Carrie. This week we took on book #2: ‘Salem’s Lot. My essay went up yesterday and Rich’s today. Check ’em out and come on this incredible journey with us.

We now have the title for King’s next story collection: The Bazaar of Bad Dreams will contain twenty stories (not yet identified), and will be published by Scribner in November 2015.

Before that, though, on June 2, 2015, we’ll have Finders Keepers, the follow-up to Mr. Mercedes. Today, Scribner released the book’s description. It’s fairly detailed, so if you want to read the book unspoiled, you might want to skip it!

“Wake up, genius.” So begins King’s instantly riveting story about a vengeful reader. The genius is John Rothstein, a Salinger-like icon who created a famous character, Jimmy Gold, but who hasn’t published a book for decades. Morris Bellamy is livid, not just because Rothstein has stopped providing books, but because the nonconformist Jimmy Gold has sold out for a career in advertising. Morris kills Rothstein and empties his safe of cash, yes, but the real treasure is a trove of notebooks containing at least one more Gold novel.

Morris hides the money and the notebooks, and then he is locked away for another crime. Decades later, a boy named Pete Sauberg finds the treasure, and now it is Pete and his family that Bill Hodges, Holly Gibney, and Jerome Robinson must rescue from the ever-more deranged and vengeful Morris when he’s released from prison after thirty-five years.

Not since Misery has King played with the notion of a reader whose obsession with a writer gets dangerous. Finders Keepers is spectacular, heart-pounding suspense, but it is also King writing about how literature shapes a life—for good, for bad, forever.

ICYMI, here’s King’s interview from Rolling Stone. There’s also a companion article: The World of Stephen King, A to Z.

Did you know that the revised and updated edition of The Illustrated  Stephen King Trivia Book is now available as an eBook?

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #174: Revival

In an interview in June, King revealed his first thoughts about Revival. “It’s too scary. I don’t even want to think about that book anymore…It’s a nasty, dark piece of work.” A couple of months later, on his Twitter feed, he described it as “a straight-ahead horror novel. If you’re going to buy it, better tone up your nerves.”

Those comments, along with his publisher’s statement on the back of review copies that she asked him whether the book “really had to be this dark,” will probably remind people of King’s thoughts about Pet Sematary. After he finished writing that book, he deemed it too gruesome and disturbing to be published. His wife concurred, so a mythos developed around it. How bad could it be? As it turned out, pretty gruesome. Pretty disturbing.

Are comparisons between Revival and Pet Sematary appropriate? Well, yes and no. The first time I read Pet Sematary, I had to put it down from time to time because I could see where King was headed and I wasn’t ready to go there yet. It’s relentlessly bleak from the beginning.

Revival doesn’t start out seeming like it will be a dark book, but it does have a different feel to it. It’s hard to put my finger on it, but there’s something about the voice that stands apart from King’s other books.

The story begins in the 1960s, when Jamie Morton is six years old. He’s the youngest of five children and part of a loving family. They live in Harlow, Maine, his parents are normal and decent, as are his siblings. They attend Sunday services at the Methodist church.

A new minister comes to Harlow, a man named Charlie Jacobs who has a beautiful wife and a young son who everyone in the community dotes on. Looking back, Jamie refers to Jacobs as his “fifth business,” a movie term for an agent of change who pops out of the deck at odd times during a person’s life. You might be tempted to think Jacobs is evil, Randall Flagg in another guise, but that’s not the case. Jacobs and Jamie have a pleasant first meeting in the yard where the young boy is playing with toy soldiers, a recent birthday gift. Neither is Jacobs like the vile, pernicious title character in “The Bad Little Kid,” who keeps showing up time and again.

And yet there is a pervasive sense of dread and foreshadowing of terrible things to come. Jacobs casts a shadow over Jamie during their first meeting. There are hints that the Morton family’s future won’t be rosy. However, when the first crisis comes, it happens to Reverend Jacobs. A calamity befalls his family and, in the aftermath, his faith in God is tested and found wanting. He is forced to leave Harlow, and he falls out of Morton’s life for decades.

As a teenager, Jamie Morton develops a certain level of skill with a rhythm guitar. He and some of his school friends form a band and they play around the region throughout high school. His shyness fades and his popularity soars. He gets a long-term girlfriend. After school, he plays with a number of moderately successful groups. He’ll never be the front man, nor will his guitar chops bring him fame and fortune, but he’s solid, reliable, and can be called upon to fill in when needed. Reliable, that is, until life on the road leaves him vulnerable to various temptations, most notably heroin. He becomes so unreliable in his mid-thirties that his current bandmates take off without him, leaving him stranded in a motel.

He’s pretty much at rock bottom, which is when he again meets up with Charlie Jacobs, who now calls himself Dan Jacobs and is working in a carnival. Jacobs always had a fascination with electricity that borders on obsession. Back in Harlow, he used a homemade gadget to shock Jamie’s older brother out of a psychosomatic bout of muteness. He’s upped the ante now, and is using electricity as part of his act, creating stunning and unbelievable “Portraits in Lightning” of young women.

Jacobs recognizes Jamie…and his addiction, too. He treats Jamie, using a more advanced version of the technology he used on his brother, and Jamie’s addiction is gone. Just like that. He no longer craves heroin. Oh, there are side effects, to be sure, but they seem minor and, with time, they go away.

By now, we’re a third of the way through the book, and nothing truly sinister has happened. By the same point in Pet Sematary, Church had already come back from the dead. I say this to temper expectations that may derive from early comments about the book. Don’t get me wrong: this is a very dark book, but much of the darkness is reserved for the last thirty pages or so, when everything goes horribly wrong in ways readers are not likely to anticipate.

The story is told through the memories of Jamie Morton, who we see from the time he is six until he’s nearly sixty. Is there another King book that encompasses such a long span of a character’s life in such detail? None come to mind. Jamie’s life isn’t exactly overshadowed by the former Rev Jacobs, who goes on to become a televangelist called Pastor Danny, but he never seems to be able to shake himself free of the man, either. Jamie’s not a hero—he’s just an ordinary guy, plugging along, making mistakes…and not making very much of himself, either. He gets a job at a recording studio in Colorado, where he has a comfortable life. But…


Whereas Mr. Mercedes took place in the “real world,” and all of its King references were to fictional events or to film adaptations, Revival is firmly set in the Stephen King universe. The story begins in Harlow, Maine, which borders Chester’s Mill (Under the Dome) and isn’t far from Castle Rock. Later, events move to Nederland, Colorado, which was the hometown of the Colorado Kid. There is a reference to the Joyland fairground, and mention is made of De Vermis Mysteriis, a grimoire invented by Robert Bloch that appears in “Jerusalem’s Lot.”  There is a mysterious #19 or two, and reference to an enigmatic character from Insomnia, Dorrance Marsteller, aka Old Dorr.

Jacobs has come to believe that there exists a secret electricity. If he can tap into that, he will be able to accomplish great things. He has already invented revolutionary batteries and power generation devices that are far ahead of current technology, but he doesn’t use these to get rich, merely as stepping stones in his research. He has also healed afflictions in hundreds of people. However, not all of his experiments are as successful as his heroin cure for Jamie. Some of his patients suffer horrible side effects, and it becomes one of Jamie’s missions to keep track of all these missteps. For his part, Jacobs is willing to accept a few failures because, on the whole, he has helped more people than he harmed. People clamor for his assistance, as they did with Johnny Smith in The Dead Zone.

What does the book’s title mean? The word brings to mind tent revivals and evangelical preachers, and there’s an element of that here. Musicals and plays have revivals—it is derived from “reviving,” after all, as in bringing back to life. What exactly is Jacobs capable of if he finds his secret electricity?

It all comes down to the book’s climax, at which point Jacobs is a feeble old man and Jamie is no spring chicken. Jamie once again crosses paths with Jacobs, only this time the man’s darkest plan is about to come to fruition. How dark? Poe at his darkest. Lovecraft at his most fantastical and cynical. Think of the most pessimistic world view you can imagine and you probably won’t even be in the ballpark. Maybe there are worse things than dying, King suggests. Perhaps we should cling to this life with everything we’ve got.

This book is going to disturb people profoundly. I guarantee it.

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #174

When it was announced that Lifetime would be behind a made-for-TV adaptation of “Big Driver,” the second novella from Full Dark, No Stars, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. The novella is dark and brutal, whereas Lifetime is better known for the kinds of stories that the novella’s protagonist writes—cozy mysteries—or romances. The network’s material is targeted at women, primarily. So what did that mean for this revenge tale? You’ll be able to see for yourself this Saturday at 8/7C when the movie premieres.

I had the chance to screen the film a couple of weeks ago and I’m here to tell you that it pulls few punches, if any. Tess is played by Maria Bello (Amy Rainey in Secret Window). She gets a last name in this version, Thorne, whereas she was just Tess in the novella. The plot plays out much the same as it did in King’s story. Tess drives herself to a nearby community where she is the featured guest at a brown bag luncheon and regales her sizable audience with the kinds of stories authors tell about themselves and their characters, and has the kinds of encounters writers often do with the public. The woman who organized the event suggests a shortcut that will get Tess home faster and, on a lonely road miles from civilization, Tess has a fateful encounter with the Big Driver. What happens next is brutal and, frankly, hard to watch. If you have any triggers about male-on-female violence, you may wish to avert your eyes. And even when the assault is over, the worst isn’t done for Tess. She has to crawl to freedom. Whoa. It makes me cringe just thinking about it now.

Ann Dowd from The Leftovers plays Rebecca Norville, Olympia Dukakis plays the physical manifestation of one of Tess’s characters, and Joan Jett plays the bartender at the Stagger Inn. Eastern Canada plays the part of New England—in fact, the movie was filmed just down the road from where Haven is shot. I recognize some of the roads, and I’m pretty sure Tess’s reading takes place on my alma mater’s campus, Dalhousie University. At least the external shots look like the old science library and nearby buildings. Events in the final act are somewhat condensed and restructured, but Tess still talks to Tom, her GPS, her cat, and with the characters in her novels, and sometimes they talk back. This monologue with non-human objects seems a bit awkward at first, but it works in general, and Bello is unquestionably the star here. It’s almost a one-woman show, and she nails it. Joan Jett is more of a novelty. She’s done a little acting, but she’s not entirely comfortable here.

There are a few grace notes added by screenwriter Richard Christian Matheson that add to the story’s overall symmetry and should put a smile on viewers’ faces despite the brutality. You can watch the trailer here.

This has been the month of Full Dark, No Stars adaptations. A Good Marriage opened a couple of weekends back in a limited theatrical release concurrent with Video On Demand. You can rent or buy it on iTunes or Google Play (I chose the latter so I could cast it to my television), and on the OnDemand sections of cable services. I had a hard time finding it on UVerse until I discovered it was listed under “S”—for Stephen King’s A Good Marriage. This adaptation, too, is quite faithful to the source material—as well it should be since King wrote the screenplay. Some of the character interactions in the final 10-15 minutes are different, but there are no real surprises here if you’ve read the novella.

King was all over the place promoting A Good Marriage, as well as appearing on the PBS series In Search of Our Fathers. Here are some links.

Mercy, the adaptation of “Gramma” starring the kid from The Walking Dead that’s been in the can for a while, is now available for purchase on iTunes. It will be available for rent shortly. Speaking of The Walking Dead, did you pick up the Creepshow “easter egg” in the season premiere?

JJ Abram’s adaptation of 11/22/63 will be a nine-hour limited series on Hulu. It is being described as a limited “event series,” but there will be opportunities for future subsequent seasons based on the story.

In this interview King did with MTV while promoting A Good Marriage, he discusses his thoughts on the Dark Tower movie adaptation. “It took me 35, 36 years to write ‘The Dark Tower.’ I can wait [for the movie],” King said. “We’ve been close a couple of times. I’m content to see what happens. Sooner or later, it’ll show up.” He explained why he chose to write the screenplay for A Good Marriage and also teased that Josh Boone’s cinematic version of The Stand may be two movies.

CBS has renewed Under the Dome for a third season.

The audio version of Revival is being read by David Morse, who has a strong King pedigree. He appeared in The Green Mile, Hearts in Atlantis and The Langoliers.

And stay tuned for a special announcement from Rich Chizmar on Halloween!

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #173

If you read back over my previous several posts here, you’ll see that they’ve all been leading up today, the launch of Season 5 of Haven, the Syfy TV series loosely based on The Colorado Kid. This season will consist of 26 episodes, spread over the fall and spring in two 13-episode blocks. I visited the set at the end of June, when they were working on the 7th and 8th episodes. This morning, I had the chance to see tonight’s episode, “See No Evil,” which starts immediately after the final moments of Season 4, at which point William had been tossed through the portal under the lighthouse and Audrey had become her original form of herself, Mara, a trouble-maker in the most literal form.

In the first episode, something destroys the lighthouse and the cavern beneath and, presumably, the portal. The main characters are scattered far and wide before the blast, so for a while no one knows where anyone else is, and some time is spent in getting everyone back together. Nathan is the first one to encounter “Audrey,” but she’s not the woman he loves. Not on the surface, anyway. Mara (and kudos to Emily Rose for creating such a different personality, someone who is as gleefully malign as William) has an agenda, and she’s not going to let anyone stand in her way. She wants to get William back, something she can only achieve by a doorway or, rather, via a thinny, which will be a familiar concept to Dark Tower fans. However, something vexes her plans. And Nathan hasn’t given up hope that Audrey is still inside somewhere and he can bring her back.

On another front, Duke is trying to find Jennifer, who is the only lighthouse person unaccounted for. And, of course, there’s a Trouble, which manifests itself in people having their eyes and/or mouths sewn shut with a leather cord that defies all efforts to remove it. Though everyone tries to impress on Dwight the importance of reining in Mara, he knows this Trouble has the potential to be deadly, so that’s his #1 priority. The repercussions of Audrey giving Duke back his Trouble in the penultimate episode last season also start to come to light, and it’s a doozy. And, based on the previews for the season I’ve seen so far, there are going to be callbacks to a lot of past Troubles. Mara made ’em, so she could potentially use them as weapons to achieve her nefarious goals.

And I’m very worried about Dave Teagues. Is he having morphine-induced nightmares or terrifying memories?

Interested in learning more about the origins of the Troubles? There’s a 16-page mini-comic in the Season 4 DVD, and a web series called Haven Origins coming on September 12. Here’s a trailer for it.

King will embark on a six-city book tour to promote the release of Revival. He will appear in New York City (Nov 11), Washington, DC (Nov 12), Kansas City, MO (Nov 13), Wichita, KS (Nov 14), Austin, TX (Nov 15) and South Portland, ME (Nov 17). Further details regarding the itinerary will be posted on King’s official website on September 15th.

Issue 1 of The Prisoner, the first cycle adapting The Drawing of the Three from Marvel, came out this week. For the first time, these comics are being offered digitally as well as in print.

In case you missed it, King’s latest short story “That Bus Is Another World” appeared in the August issue of Esquire. Also, here is King’s response to the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS. And here is an interview with King about how he teaches writing, from the Atlantic.

The PBS series Finding Your Roots will feature King in its first episode of the new season on September 23. In this promo, King is shown a photo of his father and in this one, he learns more about his distant ancestors.

Encore is running King movies every day during September, with a special selection scheduled for King’s birthday.

There’s lots of news on the movie/TV front. Let’s hit the high spots:

  • A Good Marriage will be in cinemas and available via Video On Demand on October 3. ‘We went in fearlessly’: Stephen King on adapting A Good Marriage for film.
  • Big Driver will premiere on Lifetime on Saturday, October 18 at 8pm ET/PT. The movie stars Maria Bello, Olympia Dukakis, Joan Jett, Will Harris and Ann Dowd (from The Leftovers). The script is by Richard Christian Matheson, with Mikael Salomon directing. Here is a teaser video.
  • Mercy, the film adaptation of “Gramma,” will be “dumped to digital” in October. I assume this means it’s going straight to Video On Demand.
  • Mr. Mercedes will be a 10-episode TV series. Jack Bender will be on the production team.
  • CBS has ordered a “put pilot” (a serious commitment) from Warner Bros. TV for a series based on “The Things They Left Behind.” It is described as a supernatural procedural drama in which an unlikely pair of investigators carry out the unfinished business of the dead.
  • Mark Romanek will direct Overlook Hotel, the prequel to The Shining.
  • In this video, King discusses his involvement with the second season of Under the Dome, which is nearing the end of its second season. There are also a couple of good interviews with him: Stephen King Isn’t Afraid Of The Big Bad Adaptation and Written by — and tweaked for TV by — Stephen King
  • Now that Cell has wrapped, King teased what he could about the film. “The movie is not totally close to the original screenplay that I wrote,” he said. “But I’ll tell you what, the end of it is so goddamn dark and scary. It’s really kind of a benchmark there.”
  • Writer Jeff Buhler has come aboard director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s Pet Sematary reboot for Paramount. He discusses the project with Dread Central.
  • The Stand director Josh Boone says: I finished writing the script maybe a month ago. Stephen [King] absolutely loved it. It’s, I think, the first script ever approved by him. [It’ll be] a single version movie. Three hours. It hews very closely to the novel…I don’t imagine we would shoot the movie until next Spring at the earliest. His full comments are available at Collider.

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #172 (Haven part 6)

This is Part 6 of my Haven series leading up to the premiere of Season 5 on Thursday, September 11. Note: at least the first episode will be airing at 8/7 Central instead of the previously announced 10/9C. However, my DVR has not updated to reflect that announced change.

In the first part, I looked at the series in general and in Parts 2 -5 I reviewed the events of Season 1Season 2Season 3 and Season 4, respectively. For each season, I include a list of episodes along with a summary of the Trouble(s) featured in each episode and a list of the Stephen King references (some of them admittedly a stretch).

Haven: Part 6

A Haven Who’s Who

Haven promo


Audrey Prudence Parker:

When we first meet Audrey Parker at the beginning of the first episode, she is in her rather sparse NY apartment receiving orders from her boss at the FBI, Agent Byron Howard. She’s to proceed to Haven, Maine to find an escaped convict who killed a prison guard. Audrey has a reputation for being “open to possibilities” beyond the norm and has a good reputation for closing cases. Audrey believes she’s an orphan, born in Ohio and raised by the state. She became a cop because one of her foster sisters at her third foster home, in Dayton, reported abuse from her father and Audrey stuck a pair of scissors into his neck.

However, the reality is that there is an FBI Special Agent named Audrey Parker with that background, but it isn’t her. The opening scene probably takes place in that place between worlds that we will come to know as “the barn” and this is where the person known to Havenites as Audrey is created. In some ways, her background is a blank slate. For example, she doesn’t have a favorite film (although she does admit that Justin Timberlake was her favorite musician). She also has talents that don’t come from the other Audrey Parker—she can play the piano, for example, and Agent Parker never took lessons. She doesn’t always trust her memories. In one scene, she deliberately tries vegemite to see if she likes it because her memories tell her she doesn’t. She does remember that Audrey Parker was popular in high school.

Audrey has been to Haven before; by my calculation, perhaps as many as twenty times. Audrey Parker is her identity in 2010. In 1983, she was Lucy Ripley, who was in Haven for a few months and disappeared shortly after the Colorado Kid murder. She tried to run away when it came time to go into the barn but was forced to do so by the Guard. In 1955, she was a VA nurse named Sarah Vernon—Vince and Dave Teagues tried to blow up the barn so she wouldn’t have to go away but that plan failed. A future incarnation is a saucy bartender called Lexie Dewitt. Her original persona seems to be a woman named Mara who came from another world with a man called William. During her repeat appearances in Haven, she always helps Troubled people, but Mara was a Trouble-maker who took great delight in inflicting the Troubles on people for sport.

When she gets to Maine, older people comment on how familiar she looks, and she is soon shown a photograph from a newspaper article about a mysterious crime from the 1980s. The body of the Colorado Kid can be seen in the picture, along with a woman who strongly resembles Audrey. For most of the first season, Audrey seeks information about this woman, whose name she learns is Lucy Ripley and who she suspects might be her mother. Eventually she figures out that Lucy is really her (based on an identical scar on their feet) and—surprise of surprises—the Colorado Kid is actually her son, the offspring of Sarah Vernon and Nathan Wuornos (who had been sent back to 1955 by a Troubled man).

Audrey is immune to the Troubles (although she can be affected by physical manifestations created by a Troubled person), which facilitates her role as someone who assists the afflicted. She has great intuition and an innate sense of what’s behind the Troubled person’s problems. As Lucy, she worked with Garland Wuornos to help the Troubled and, without knowing any of this history, she falls into the same pattern with Nathan in 2010.

Jordan McKee suggested that all of Haven’s Troubles are actually her Trouble—after all, it may not be a coincidence that the Troubles return every time she does. When Audrey starts to remember Mara, it’s different from her previous personalities. She can remember being Mara, and it’s no one she wants to be. She has a strong connection to William—not only do sparks leap between them when they touch, when something physical happens to one of them, it happens to the other. Presumably we will learn in Season 5 the truth behind this assertion because at the end of the Season 4 finale, Audrey has turned into Mara after pushing William through the portal to the other world and she wants to bring William back.

What is Audrey’s true nature? Agent Howard, who is her otherworldly chauffeur, tells her that the barn is a kind of amplifier for her powers. When she’s in the barn, her energy keeps the Troubles at bay. But every 27 years she needs to recharge, so she emerges from the barn in a different guise to find the love she needs to last her another 27 years. Is she human? According to Agent Howard, she’s all too human, which is her problem. Is she being punished? As always, Agent Howard is coy in his answers: “It does seem that way,” he says. She can either end the Troubles for 27 years or she can end them forever, by killing the man she loves the most. But who is that? It’s easy to assume that it’s Nathan, with whom she has fallen in love with as Audrey, but perhaps Howard means it’s the man the original she—Mara—loves: William.

Nathan Thaddeus Wuornos

For most of his life, Nathan Wuornos believed he was the son of Haven’s police chief, Garland Wuornos. In fact, he is the son of a murderer named Max Hansen, who has been in Shawshank Prison since Nathan was very young. Hansen supposedly abused both his mother and Nathan. Garland Wuornos married his mother and adopted him, though Nathan has no memory of his early life. His mother died when he was young. He was a geek in high school, president of the A/V club, and was often bullied by Duke Crocker.

He followed his adoptive father into the police department, though the two have a generally strained relationship. Over the course of the first four seasons, he will be Detective, Acting Chief, Detective, Chief, Citizen and, once again, Detective Wuornos. In a perfect world, one without Troubles, Nathan would have remained with his Hansen family and grown up to be a doctor with a wife and daughter. His favorite food is pancakes, for any meal, and he has been known to do decoupage to relax.

Nathan’s Trouble is the ability to feel anything. He experienced this curse when he was a boy: he broke his arm while sledding, a compound fracture that caused him no pain whatsoever, but he didn’t know what it was at the time. His Trouble flared up again recently after an altercation with Duke. His old tormentor invited him out on a boat trip under the pretext of patching up their relationship. Duke actually wanted Nathan to cover for him as he smuggled something past the Coast Guard. When Nathan found out, they got into a fight and Nathan’s Trouble activated. Even then, he refused to believe it was a trouble and went to a doctor, who diagnosed him with idiopathic neuropathy. Eventually he is forced to confront his affliction. However, when he is briefly cured of his Trouble, he performs a heroic and generous act by accepting his inability to feel again so that another Troubled woman could live a normal life.

Though he and Audrey get off to a rocky start, pointing guns at each other shortly after she arrives in Haven, they become friendly and gradually more. Because Audrey is immune to the Troubles, he is able to feel her touch, something he realizes after she gives him a peck on the cheek. Their relationship doesn’t run smoothly, though. She pushes him away when she realizes her time in Haven is running short. He starts a relationship with Jordan McKee, a woman whose Trouble causes her to inflict terrible pain on anyone she touches. Their Troubles are complementary—she can touch him, because he can’t feel. Eventually, though, Audrey and Nathan are able to get past their issues and get together…until Mara comes along.

Duke Crocker

Duke is another Haven native. He and Nathan are the same age and have known each other since they were five. Theirs is a rocky relationship, though. As kids, Duke frequently tormented Nathan (on one memorable occasion, he stuck tacks in Nathan’s back, knowing Nathan wouldn’t feel or notice) and as adults, Duke works on the opposite side of the law. Though he was very young at the time, he knew Lucy Ripley; however, he has lost all memories of the day he was with her at the scene of the Colorado Kid murder.

He is a rogue, a bon vivant and a ne’er do well driven mostly by self-interest. One of his operating principles (which he often breaks) is that he doesn’t help cops, even those he likes. He is a procurer of big ticket rare and illegal goods. He buys and sells things, and sometimes acts as a delivery person for products (he doesn’t always know what they are) on behalf of third parties. He takes pride in his work—he’s not a petty crook; he’s an exceptional crook, with a heart of gold. He can read Chinese and speaks Japanese and Russian. He often quotes Buddha and is a yoga practitioner. He was married to a woman named Evi (Evidence) Ryan, with whom he used to run illegal and dangerous capers until she was shot and killed shortly after she came to Haven.

He has been away from Haven for a period of time, traveling the world and pulling con jobs, but his father had always told him that if he heard the Troubles were back, he was to return. He lives aboard a rusting junker moored in the harbor and becomes the proprietor of the Grey Gull bar after it is gifted to him by an old friend. Though he operates on the shady side, he is a loyal friend and a straight arrow. However, he is also afflicted by a Trouble, the Crocker family curse. When the blood of a Troubled person touches him, his eyes turn silver and he experiences a brief surge of superhuman strength. This is used on occasion as a litmus test to tell whether a person is Troubled or not.

If he kills a Troubled person, that Trouble is forever erased from the family’s bloodline. For that reason, his family has often been sought in the past to rid Haven of Troubled people. His father Simon and grandfather Roy—and members of each generation before that all the way back to Fitzwilliam Crocker in 1786—gave in to the temptation to exert their special talent, which gives the killer a drug-like rush and can become addictive. Duke resists the family obligation, though he begrudgingly agrees on one occasion to kill Harry Nix, a dying man whose family Trouble endangers many people. Previous incarnations of Audrey have been responsible for the deaths of Duke’s ancestors. Duke’s other curse is that he was told by a Troubled person how he would die—but not when. He will be killed by someone who has the Guard tattoo. Because of the Crocker family curse, he has long been at odds with the Guard.

His brother Wade, who did not grow up in Haven, was unaware of the Crocker family curse until Duke vanished inside the barn with Audrey. When he is informed of his talent, he falls pretty to it and is consumed by it. Duke is forced to kill him, which also rids Duke of his Trouble—until he asks Audrey to give it back to him to resolve another Trouble that could have killed hundreds of people.

Though Duke is Troubled, he has also been impacted directly by the Troubles of others. He grew prematurely old (after fathering a daughter) and nearly died, he was turned back into a teenage version of himself, and he was sent back in time to meet his grandfather. One Troubled person possessed his body, intending to keep it, a little girl convinced him to leap from a balcony at the Grey Gull and he is almost drowned by another Trouble. In the un-Troubled version of Haven, William shoots him. At the end of Season 4, it was revealed that every Trouble the Crockers have ever absorbed into themselves has been activated, turning him into a ticking time bomb. Ironically, in a trouble-free world, the Crockers would all have been Haven police officers instead of rogues.

During a trip with Audrey to Colorado to dig up information about the Colorado Kid, Duke kisses Audrey. He later confesses to Nate that he loves her, too, although he is able to put his feelings aside and form a relationship with Jennifer Mason, the woman he meets after he passes through the barn.

The Teagues brothers

Vince and Dave Teagues know everything about Haven’s past, but they are tight-lipped and often at odds with each other over what information should be shared with anyone else. They’ve lived through the Troubles twice before and have archives that go all the way back to the earliest days of Haven. They secretly own half the commercial real estate in Haven and have millions of dollars in off-shore accounts. They are yin and yang to each other—one is big, the other small. Dave likes to photograph (it reveals truth, he says), while Vince sketches (it reveals his soul, he claims). They bicker all the time. In an alternate reality, Dave murders Vince. In another, William murders them.

As the owners and operators of the Haven Herald, their main duty is to write cover stories that sweep supernatural incidents under the rug so that Haven doesn’t come to the attention of outsiders. They can be quite creative at times, but there have been a lot of “gas leaks” in Haven. A lot. They have also worked together (or at cross purposes) to end the Troubles. When Sarah Vernon was supposed to enter the barn, they attempted—unsuccessfully—to blow the building up. This time, Dave wants to keep Audrey out of the barn and Vince wants her to go inside to end the Troubles.

As the series develops, we learn a lot more about these brothers and what they know about this troubled community. Vince, the older brother, has a flickering birthmark on his forearm, the sigul of the Guard, a group of Troubled people who help others—a kind of underground railway, bringing Troubled people to Haven from across the country and providing them with a safe haven. Unbeknownst to even those closest to Vince, he has been their leader, which is the legacy of the firstborn Teagues since the beginning of Haven. The Teagues have Mi’kmaw  blood. However, his younger brother, Dave, is adopted—another in a group of important people placed in Haven by the man known as Agent Howard (or Captain Howard to Sarah Vernon). He comes from the mysterious universe on the other side of the thin spot that exists in Haven.

The Teagues are Trouble-free. However, Vince’s wife’s family had a terrible Trouble, so he activated Simon Crocker (Duke’s father) and convinced him to kill Vince’s father-in-law to end the family curse. Ultimately his wife discovered what he did and hated him for it. Later, with Lucy’s help, he had to kill Simon Crocker.

Dwight Hendrickson

Dwight Hendrickson emerges as an important character to the point where he can now be considered a series regular. He was introduced as a “cleaner,” a man who is brought in by Vince on occasion to clean up the fallout from a Trouble incident. He worked with Chief Wuornos, who didn’t ask too many questions about what he did, which suited Dwight fine. He is an imposing presence, so when he tells people they imagined something, they tend to believe him. He is a Gulf War vet whose Trouble made him unfit for combat: he is a bullet magnet. Any bullet fired in his vicinity will divert from its course and hit him instead.

He became a member of the Guard (he has a large version of the maze tattoo on his back instead of his forearm) after they brought him to Haven to help him when his Trouble manifested, ferrying Troubled people from around the country to Haven, but had a falling out with them when he was ordered to kill a man who refused to go with him in a forced relocation. He also had a young daughter, Elizabeth, who died under circumstances related to his curse and his work with the Guard. His wife, never seen in the series, left him. After Nathan abdicates from his post as Chief of HPD following Audrey’s return to the barn, Dwight is given the job, which he continues to hold at the end of Season 4. Because of his Trouble, Dwight’s primary clothing accessory is a bullet-proof vest. His weapon of choice is a crossbow (no bullets).

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #171 (Haven part 5)

This is Part 5 of my Haven series leading up to the premiere of Season 5 on Thursday, September 11. Note: at least the first episode will be airing at 8/7 Central instead of the previously announced 10/9C. However, my DVR has not updated to reflect that announced change.

In the first part, I looked at the series in general and in Parts 2 -4 I reviewed the events of Season 1Season 2 and Season 3, respectively. In a couple of days, I’ll wrap up with an overview of what we currently know about the major characters. For each season, I include a list of episodes along with a summary of the Trouble(s) featured in each episode and a list of the Stephen King references (some of them admittedly a stretch).

Haven: Part 5

Season 4 — After a While, You Sort Of Get Used To It

For Duke Crocker, only minutes have passed since he jumped into the barn and fell through the floor as the building collapsed on itself. He fell into the seal tank at the Boston Aquarium and was arrested and taken to a psychiatric hospital on a temporary hold after he pretends to have amnesia. The fact that his wallet is full of fake IDs calls his true identity into question.

Jennifer Mason sees Duke on the television news and recognizes him. A former reporter for the Boston Globe, she’s been having her own psychiatric issues of late. She’s been hearing voices, but comes to realize that she had a channel into the barn. She heard Audrey, Nathan, Agent Howard and Duke. However, she was diagnosed as schizophrenic and the drugs she was prescribed have silenced the voices. She seeks Duke out in the hospital, pretending to be his sister “Audrey.” Duke believes she’s Troubled and talks her into helping him escape and going back to Haven with him. If he escaped from the barn, then maybe Audrey did, too and Jennifer might be able to help track her down. After she sees what’s going on in Haven, she voluntarily goes off her meds so she might hear the barn voices again.

For the rest of the world, six months have passed and Duke’s friends in Haven think he’s dead. His older brother Wade has been making regular trips from New York to tend to the Grey Gull and Duke’s other affairs. Nathan is no long working for the police department and Dwight is the new chief. The Troubles are pulling the town apart. People who have no Troubles in their family history begin to shun the Troubled, going so far as to create segregated schools for un-Troubled kids.

When Duke tracks Nathan down, he’s making money by letting bikers beat him up outside a bar. It’s cheaper than seeing a shrink, he says. The meteor storm stopped shortly after Duke went into the barn. Dave believes that by shooting Agent Howard, Nathan somehow disrupted the natural cycle. Even though Audrey is gone, the Troubles persist and a lot of people in town, especially those who belong to the Guard, are angry enough to kill him. At the top of this list is Jordan, who survived being shot after Nathan explained her condition to the doctors who treated her.

Nathan keeps at bay those who want to see him dead by explaining that there’s a way to end the Troubles forever: by letting Audrey kill him. He plans to find her so she can do just that. If anyone kills him now, they ruin what may be the only chance of ending the Troubles. Vince convinces Nathan that it would be a show of good faith on his part to help Haven with its current spate of Troubles, so he agrees to rejoin HPD, but only as a detective. Abdicating his post as chief means he’ll never get that job back again, but being on the force gives him access to police databases that will help him track down Audrey. He soon puts into practice the things he learned about handling Troubled people from Audrey. Jordan isn’t happy that Nathan is risking his life by being at the front lines of dangerous situations.

Meanwhile, inside the barn, the woman formerly known as Audrey Parker is now Lexie Dewitt, 31, born in Tucson, a sassy bartender working in a seedy joint called the Oatley Tap. A handsome man named William comes in one day, telling her that she isn’t who she thinks she is and that she needs to remember or a lot of people are going to die. There is someone she loves, but it’s not anyone she has met in this imaginary life of hers. She needs to recall Haven and what happened there. At first it seems like he’s talking about Nathan, but ultimately it will be revealed that he’s talking about himself.

A creepy guy points a gun at her and William comes to the rescue. When the guy returns with a giant of a sidekick, William forces Audrey to reassemble the gun to scare them off, which tells her she has skills she doesn’t remember. She thinks William is weird, though, and is reluctant to engage him in serious conversation.

He starts breaking down her defenses, and she realizes something strange is going on when she leaves the bar through one door and immediately re-enters through another. For her, no time has elapsed, but her co-worker acts as if it’s the following day. William gradually gets her to accept that nothing around her except for him and the barn is real. Once she does, the other people vanish. She needs to find a door that will get her out of this place, which is imploding—dying—and if she doesn’t find a way out, it will take her with it.

Duke tries to get his brother to return to New York because the Guard won’t be happy to discover that there’s another Crocker in town. Wade knows nothing about the family curse, though, and his Trouble is inactive. When he discovers that his wife is having an affair, he ends up staying in Haven.

Jennifer starts hearing voices again and tells the others that Audrey is still inside the barn. Everyone has been assuming she got out like Duke did, so this changes matters. They have to figure out where to find the second door that needs to be opened for Audrey to come through from the barn. Lexie knows that someone on the outside is looking for her, which helps her focus on finding her door. She always has friends, William tells her. It’s part of who she is. She gets to pick who she wants to be when she returns to Haven.

The door materializes in a clearing, although only Jennifer can see it and she can’t open it. Dave isn’t at all happy with the plan, saying that opening it could unleash powers beyond their control. The others can only see the door after Lexie opens hers, at which point Jennifer can open the one in the clearing. There’s a stormy void between the two and William tells Lexie she needs to take a leap of faith and go through to the door she can see in the distance.

The Guard shows up, heavily armed and prepared to force Audrey to kill Nathan as soon as she comes through the door. Duke tells Nathan he’ll create a distraction so he and Audrey can escape but Nathan wants the Troubles to end right now. When Audrey appears, Nathan gives her a gun and a kiss and tells her to kill him. Audrey foils their plan by pretending to be Lexie. Unlike with her other identities, Audrey can remember being Lexie and can tap into that personality to keep the ruse going. However, if everyone thinks she’s Lexie, they’ll believe that it will be pointless for her to kill “cheekbones,” aka Nathan, since she doesn’t love him.

Duke concocts a delaying tactic that he presents to the Guard via Vince, who tells Nathan that he has to get Lexie to fall in love with him, so they are to spend as much time together as possible. The biggest flaw in this plan is that Nathan doesn’t particularly like Lexie. Duke is the first to see through her trickery when she reveals knowledge of the Troubles that only Audrey would have. For a while he tries to keep her and Nathan apart, but Nathan figures it out before too long as well, but they keep up the pretense, knowing that the Guard will be after them again if they realize Audrey has returned. Jordan wants to find the barn again and shove Lexie back inside but Jennifer knows that the barn is gone for good.

Everyone else in town believes she’s Audrey, so they go along when she shows up at crime scenes. Jordan isn’t on board with this plan. She thinks that Haven’s Troubles are all Lexie’s Troubles (she isn’t far wrong on this point). She befriends Wade, believing that if she can activate his Trouble and he kills Lexie, the Troubles will come to an end. She doesn’t understand the seductive nature of the Crocker family curse. Once Wade gets a taste of the rush from killing a Troubled person, he goes on a rampage, killing several Troubled people, most of them members of the Guard, including Jordan, just as she was about to leave Haven.

Duke finally figures out what Wade is doing and locks him up on his boat; however, Jennifer doesn’t know the full story, so she releases him. When Duke finds Wade about to kill Jennifer, he kills his brother in a struggle, thereby putting an end to his own Trouble. He buries Wade without telling anyone what happened, which means he can’t admit that his Trouble is gone without revealing that he killed his brother. In the aftermath, Duke temporarily decides it’s time to leave Haven—he’s a businessman but somehow he’s become the “schmuck” who helps everyone else.

After the barn is destroyed, Jen decides to return to Boston, but Duke convinces her to stay with him and they begin a relationship. She gets a job at the Haven Herald, which gives her inside access to Vince and Dave’s intelligence, but also gives the brothers a chance to dig into her background to find out why she was connected to the barn. Her first assignment is to do a deep background check on herself. Vince and Dave come up with a list of possible people who might be her real parents once they discover that the man they know as Agent Howard was responsible for her adoption.

Nathan and Audrey struggle with their relationship with each other. Audrey feels that too much has happened for them to be able to go back to that magical time and Nathan isn’t a big fan of the Lexie aspect of her personality. However, passion wins out and they finally consummate their smoldering affair.

Among the new characters this season is Gloria Verrano, the feisty medical examiner who takes over from Dr. Lucassi after he snaps, steals the neighbor’s cats and leaves Haven. She used to work with Garland Wuronos, but then left to become a medical examiner in Ixtapa. She knows Duke because she used to buy marijuana from him. She’s only planning to stay in Haven long enough to get her intern, Vicky, up to speed. However, events conspire against this move when her husband is Troubled by Audrey in an attempt to rectify another family Trouble.

Haven only thought it had things bad with the Troubles, when another twist happens. Troubles become contagious or appear in families that were previously un-Troubled. People can even acquire multiple Troubles. The common thread is the two guys from the barn, the tall one and the creepy one. People with permuted Troubles have glowing black handprints on their bodies, but only Audrey can see them.

Vince and Dave refer back to Sebastian Cabot’s journal. He wintered with the Mi’kmaw in 1497 and describes much of what is currently known about the Troubles. The blackest times the Mi’kmaw knew dated back to a time when someone opened an other-worldly door that shouldn’t have been opened. There are indicators that these times have returned—horseshoe crabs with human eyes—that Jen has seen. The book contains a riddle: What was once your salvation is now your doom; i.e., Audrey killing Nathan will now make things much worse instead, a message that arrives just in time.

Creepy Guy and Big Guy kidnap Dwight while looking for a box. When Audrey and Nathan rescue Dwight, they find William in a closet, tied up and beaten. As he was in the barn, William seems at first to be a good guy. He’s charming and charismatic, and seems genuinely interested in helping Audrey. However, he feigns amnesia while biding his time to figure out how to get what he’s really after. His two henchmen will turn out to be his creations—even though they were present in the barn, they didn’t come from another universe.

The first indication that there’s some kind of mysterious connection between Audrey and William is a spark that occurs whenever she touches him. When she left the barn and went back to being Audrey, he thought he’d lost her forever. Everything he’s been doing with his two henchmen has been in hopes of jarring her memories. He plans to keep doling out new and more twisted Troubles to get her to remember who she once was. He loves her and the original Audrey loves him. He tells her that she’s not some kind of savior to Troubled people—she caused the Troubles. That’s why she keeps coming back again and again—she’s being punished. She and William made the Troubles together and they liked it. The connection between Audrey and William is underscored when Nathan shoots William and Audrey suffers the same wound.

Jennifer becomes increasingly important to solving the William problem. She was born on the same day the Troubles began in the 1980s. Audrey sees her with a copy of Unstake My Heart that she found among the remaining possessions of her birth parents—the same book Audrey gave Agent Howard before she came to Haven. Its importance is revealed when Jennifer uses it to defeat William’s transdimensional rougarou. The Guard insignia glows orange on the cover, but only she can see it. Inside the book, she finds a message: In times of great evil, the child of ruin must find the heart of Haven and summon the Door. She is the child of ruin, the only one able to banish William.

Once William realizes Jennifer has the book, he steps up his game. He creates a Trouble that Audrey can’t fix with her normal methods. In 1901, the same curse killed hundreds of people and the version of Audrey present at the time wasn’t able to end it—the Troubled person had to be killed. She’s going to have to give someone else a complementary Trouble to rectify the situation; otherwise, many more people are going to die. William believes that she will remember who she really is when she gives a new Trouble.

Duke understands the seductive power of the Troubles and is afraid that once Audrey starts down the path of doling out Troubles, they’ll really be screwed. After her first failed attempt, Audrey admits to Duke that she felt something—a jolt of evil that some part of her liked. Duke convinces her to give him back the Crocker family curse so he can take care of the deadly Trouble William concocted. She does, but it has unforeseen effects on Duke. William later says that Audrey reactivated every curse the Crockers ever absorbed and they are now mutating and combining, becoming something deadly: Duke is now a ticking time bomb. Duke senses that something happened with Audrey when she Troubled him and advises Nathan to keep an eye on her. She had a flashback to herself as Mara, frolicking naked in a Haven pond with William.

When Jennifer mentions that the Guard insignia flickers in and out, Duke realizes that it’s doing the same thing as Vince’s tattoo, which turns out to be a birthmark inherited by the eldest son in his family. When the book and Vince’s birthmark are in close proximity, they act like a compass, pointing at the lighthouse. There’s always been one on that spot as long as anyone can remember. Jennifer is the only one who can see the trapdoor in the floor inside of it, so that points them in the direction they need to go. In the basement, they find an oversized carving of the Guard logo. They need to find four people to stand at the compass points—four people who come from another world. Ultimately these people are revealed to be Audrey, William, Jennifer and Dave, although Dave goes to great lengths to hide the fact that he came from the other side of the void, too.

The connection between Audrey and William makes it more difficult to get rid of William. They can’t just shoot him, although Nathan tries to tranquilize him. Ultimately he is forced to knock William out by bashing Audrey in the head. Later, he realizes that William has body parts Audrey doesn’t, and uses that to his advantage (and glee).

The climax of the season takes place in the cavern beneath the lighthouse. The gang is all assembled, William and Dave reluctantly. Duke is exhibiting signs that his illness is worsening. William still believes that Audrey won’t be able to throw him through the door once it’s open. He tries to frighten them by implying that something dangerous will come through to this side when the door is open. Dave is so terrified by the possibility that he’ll be dragged through the door that he shoots Vince; however, Dwight anticipated the danger and stood behind Dave so the bullet turns around, hits Dave in the shoulder and then Dwight’s bulletproof vest.

When Jennifer holds out the magic book, the Guard symbol on the cover glows and a square portal in the floor opens. Once there’s a very real possibility that he’s going through the doorway, William displays fear for the first time. He promises to fix Duke’s Trouble. Dave falls through the doorway and dangles while Vince, Dwight and Nathan rescue him. Duke collapses. Audrey keeps watch on William and, when the time comes for him to leave, she pushes him into the gaping hole. However, there’s another spark between them, stronger than ever before. After Jennifer closes the door, she collapses, saying that they should never have opened the door. William wasn’t what they should have been afraid of. She stops breathing and Duke starts bleeding from the eyes. Audrey is now fully Mara. She steps forward and asks, “Who’s going to help me get William back?”


1) Fallout

Trouble: Marian Caldwell again causes catastrophic weather events after her husband dies.

King references: Haven police officer Rebecca Rafferty (played by Lucas Bryant’s wife), shares a surname with another cop, Ennis Rafferty in From a Buick 8. Lexie is a bartender at the Oatley Taproom, a reference to a bar from The Talisman. The Haven Bookshop’s shelves are filled with Hard Case Crime novels—is The Colorado Kid among them?

2) Survivors

Trouble: Donald Keaton, a guilt-ridden firefighter, burns people who think he’s a hero.

King references: Don Keaton shares a surname with a selectman from Castle Rock in Needful Things. Black House Coffee is a reference to the King/Straub book of the same name. Its logo is a black crow, alluding to Gorg from that book.

3) Bad Blood:

Trouble: When someone in the Gallagher family’s blood spills, it comes to life and goes after whoever that person hates the most.

King references: Lexie Dewitt’s last name is a reference to a character from “LT’s Theory of Pets.” A Trouble that travels via the sewers is reminiscent of It.

4) Lost and Found

Trouble: Braer Brock, a childless man, conjures douen to lead astray other children so he can build a family with his wife.

King references: Free-standing doors into another universe that can only be opened by certain people are common in the Dark Tower series. Jake Chambers returned to Mid-World through a door that had to be opened simultaneously on both sides.

5) The New Girl

Trouble: Tyler can temporarily turn other people into his puppets so long as he is holding something that belongs to that person.

King references: Katie is named for a character in “Sorry, Right Number.” The way Tyler possesses people is similar to what Roland does with Jack Mort in The Drawing of the Three. Duke is still inside his body but Tyler is in control and Duke is in the back seat.

6) Countdown

Trouble: Paul Krebbs causes other people to see a countdown timer that marks the seconds until they die from rigor mortis.

King references: Paul Krebbs was named after a forensic assistant in The Colorado Kid. Cleaves Mills is a town in The Dead Zone. Paul asks Ellie on a date at Black House Coffee, named after the sequel to The Talisman. The school for the un-Troubled, Stillwater, is named after a river next to which King lived after he graduated from the University of Maine.

7) Lay Me Down

Trouble: Carrie Benson’s worst nightmares come to life and happen physically. This Trouble used to be confined to the women in her family, but William made it contagious, passed from her to the people on her newspaper delivery route.

King references: Sonia Winston is named after Patrick Danville’s mother (Insomnia) and Carrie Benson is a reference to King’s first novel. Stansfield National Park is named after the patient whose story is central to “The Breathing Method.” Jennifer becomes the Girl Friday at the Haven Herald, just like Stephanie McCann was in The Colorado Kid. Duke’s license plate number is 98 KA 16—Ka is a central concept in the Dark Tower series.

8) Crush

Trouble: Jack Driscoll and his brother Aiden create enormous pressure bubbles when under duress. They are related to Reverend Driscoll and are hence from a family that has never been Troubled before.

King references: Lumley Street is named for a character in “One for the Road.” Jack Daniels’ name is a combination of the main character from The Talisman and a villain from Rose Madder. The concept of a soft spot between universes is common in the Dark Tower series.

9) William

Trouble: Nathan, Dwight and Jen suffer paranoid delusions in a temporary Trouble caused by William’s henchmen.

King references: The concept of paranoid delusions comes from the poem “Paranoia” in Skeleton Crew.

10) The Trouble with Troubles

Trouble: Cliff wishes the Troubles never happened, turning Haven into a blissful but boring seaside resort. When Doreen Hanscomb remembered her Hawaii vacation, she would get sand in her shoes until William amplified her Trouble. She then caused a volcano to erupt in Haven.

King references: Two businesses in the Trouble-free Haven are Balazar’s Clothing Bazaar (a reference to a mob boss from the Dark Tower series) and Joyland Bicycles. Doreen Hanscomb shares a surname with a main character in It. Cliff’s ability to rewrite reality is akin to “The Word Processor of the Gods.” One of the boat repair shops is at 123 King Boulevard. Many of the labels on the card catalog in the Haven Herald reference King stories or important dates from his works.

11) Shot in the Dark

Trouble: William creates a rougarou, a werewolf-like creature that eats the hearts of people born on the same date as Jennifer Mason. It is a Trouble that has no Troubled person attached. It is a transdimensional Trouble.

King references: The ghosthunters are called Darkside Seekers. King contributed a short story to the movie Tales from the Darkside. Tarker’s Mills Grocery is a reference to the small town where “Cycle of the Werewolf” is set. Canaan Street references a Barony in the Dark Tower series whose capital is Gilead.

12) When the Bough Breaks

Trouble: “Never let a Harker cry lest people near or far die.” This Trouble normally didn’t kick in until puberty but William activated a baby. Duke Crocker gets his family curse back to put an end to this particularly lethal Trouble. When Gloria’s husband Lincoln hears sounds, they are magnified to ear-splitting volume, a Trouble given to him by Audrey to try to counter the Harker curse.

King references: Ben Harker is named for Ben Richards, the main character in The Running Man who sacrificed himself for his child.

13) The Lighthouse

Trouble: Audrey activates within Duke every Trouble the Crocker family has ever absorbed.

King references: Doors between worlds and the concept that Haven is located at a “thin spot” in reality is a common concept in the Dark Tower series.