Bev Vincent reviews Billy Summers

Stephen King News From the Dead Zone

“A Garbage Man with a Gun”

The first time Billy Summers killed a man, he was barely twelve. By the time he’s eighteen, he’s a sniper with the Marines in Iraq, where he notches up another two dozen kills. Instead of re-upping, he tries to find work back in the States. One of his former Marine friends asks him to kill someone. Thus begins Billy’s career as an elite hitman. His only condition is that his victims have to be demonstrably bad men. He’s not a sociopath driven to kill — he’s just good with a gun. He can hit targets from an incredible distance and then vanish like Houdini without being identified or caught. Now, at the ripe old age of 44, he’s looking to retire. One last job and he’s done.Continue Reading

King of Crime Part III — Featured Review of LATER and what comes…later

Stephen King News From the Dead Zone

King of Crime: Part III — Featured Review of LATER and what comes…later

Today is publication day for Hard Case Crime’s third Stephen King novel, Later. Although King is generally thought of as a horror writer, he has written numerous crime short stories, novellas and novels, giving them a unique twist. In Part I of this three-part series, I looked at King’s earliest involvement with crime fiction. In Part II, I explored his more recent writings in the genre, including his previous two books with Hard Case Crime and the Mercedes series. Today, I review Later and look ahead to King’s next crime novel, Billy Summers.

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King of Crime Part II — Hard Case Crime and Beyond

Stephen King News From the Dead Zone

King of Crime: Part II — Hard Case Crime and Beyond

Next week — on March 2nd, 2021 to be specific — Hard Case Crime will publish their third Stephen King novel, Later. Although King is generally thought of as a horror writer, he has written numerous crime short stories, novellas and novels, giving them a unique twist. In Part 1 of this three-part series, I looked at King’s earliest involvement with crime fiction. This week, I’ll explore his more recent writings in the genre, including his previous two books with Hard Case Crime and the Mercedes series. Then, on publication day, I’ll review Later and look ahead to King’s next crime novel, Billy Summers.

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King of Crime Part I — The Earlier Years

Stephen King News From the Dead Zone

King of Crime: Part I — The Earlier Years

In a couple of weeks—on March 2nd, 2021, to be specific—Hard Case Crime will publish their third Stephen King novel, Later. Although King is generally thought of as a horror writer, he has written numerous crime short stories, novellas and novels, giving them a unique twist. In Part 1 of a three-part series, I look at King’s earliest involvement with crime fiction[1]. Next week, I’ll explore his more recent writings in the genre, including his previous two books with Hard Case Crime and the Mercedes series. Then, on publication day, I’ll review Later and look ahead to King’s next crime novel, Billy Summers.Continue Reading

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #221

Stephen King News From the Dead Zone

Hard Case Crime (The Colorado Kid, Joyland) will publish Stephen King’s next supernatural crime novel in March 2021. Later will be a paperback original (cover by Paul Mann) and eBook, but there will also be a limited edition hardcover featuring two covers by Gregory Manchess, one for Later itself and one for a fictitious novel within the novel that features prominently in the plot.

In this installment of News from the Dead Zone, I’ll tell you a little more about Later, bring you up to date on recent King appearances, let you know  what adaptations you can expect to see soon, which ones are in production, which ones are on the table and which ones have died on the vine. I’ll also give you an early look at Hope and Miracles from Gauntlet Press, which collects the screenplays of The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, along with tons of ancillary material. Pull up a chair!

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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.

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #170 (Haven part 4)

This is Part 4 of my Haven series leading up to the premiere of Season 5 next Thursday, September 11. In the first part, I looked at the series in general and in Parts 2 & 3 I reviewed the events of Season 1 and Season 2, respectively. After tackling Season 4 in the next post, 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 4

Season 3 — They don’t call them Troubles for nothing

Season 3 begins immediately following the end of the twelfth episode of Season 2. The Christmas episode was a kind of lagniappe, and isn’t in sequence with the rest of the episodes.

A lot happens in the third season: we are introduced to the Guard, the identity of the Colorado Kid is revealed, a Troubled serial killer stalks Haven, a new cop comes to town, Nathan finds a new love interest, and a timer starts to count down the amount of time Audrey has left before she is supposed to leave Haven and end the troubles. And that’s just a quick summary.

The season begins with a fight between Nathan and Duke that is reminiscent of the one that triggered Nathan’s Trouble. There is a gunshot, but no one is injured. At first, Nathan has the advantage in that he can’t feel Duke’s punches. However Duke gets an upper hand when a drop of blood triggers his supernatural powers. They are interrupted by the manifestation of another person’s Trouble. Audrey, meanwhile, is tied up in the basement of an inn, taken prisoner by the indi­­­vidual we will come to know as the Bolt Gun Killer. This individual, a shapeshifter, wants to find out what Audrey knows about the Colorado Kid. The Bolt Gun Killer is also digging around at the Haven Herald because Dave and Vince know so much about the town’s past.

Audrey’s captor claims that Lucy Ripley loved the Colorado Kid and implies that someone else did, too—a major clue to the kidnapper’s identity. It turns out to be Arla Cogan, the Colorado Kid’s wife, but we won’t learn that—or the Kid’s real name—for quite some time. We won’t find out the real reason why Lucy loved Cogan until late in the season, either: he is her son, or rather the son of Sarah Vernon and a time-traveling Nathan Wuornos, who was sent back to 1955 with Duke. Uncertain that he’ll ever get back to the present, he and Sarah have a fling in the back seat of a car on the day she arrived in Haven and later that same day Sarah kills Duke’s grandfather, Roy Crocker.

Audrey now thinks there’s a chance that the Colorado Kid is still alive, even though Dave and Vince refute that possibility. When they exhume his grave, the coffin is empty except for some bricks, and there’s a cryptic message written in Audrey’s—or, rather, Lucy’s—handwriting that says she has to find him before the hunter arrives. At first they assume that’s a reference to a person, perhaps someone hunting the Colorado Kid, but Duke figures out that it refers to a meteor storm that always occurs at the end of the Troubles.

The next storm is due in 49 days (at the beginning of the season), which sets the countdown on Audrey’s remaining time in Haven. Audrey, like her predecessors, is supposed to enter the mystical barn, which will end the Troubles for 27 years. This knowledge creates a shift in the relationship between Audrey and Nathan. Aware that she will be leaving in less than two months, she starts pushing Nathan away because she knows he’s intent of saving her. Hedonistic Duke tries to talk her into seizing the day, taking off from Haven and enjoying what time she has left, but Audrey stays on the job until the bitter end.

The Troubles, of course, continue as before. Because of their past issues with the Rev and his faction, Audrey and Nathan often work these cases alone, without the backup of the rest of the Haven Police Department. They don’t want to draw any more attention to these situations than necessary.

Nathan has the maze tattoo on his forearm. He figures that if the person who kills Duke someday has the tattoo, he wants to make sure he’s on the approved list. He doesn’t know what it represents at first, but Dwight warns him that not everyone who has the tattoo is good. Vince and Dave finally cough up some helpful information by telling Nathan and Audrey what the maze tattoo means. It is a symbol of the Guard, a group that has existed for generations. They refuse to let the Troubled be victimized and won’t hesitate to kill to protect them. Vince won’t admit for a long time that he’s the head of the Guard, though it’s clear he knows more than he’s saying. The Guard also relocates Troubled people to Haven from around the country, sometimes against their will. They know what is supposed to happen to end this round of the Troubles and they are willing to do whatever it takes to make sure Audrey keeps her rendezvous with the barn.

Several new characters rise to prominence this season. Dr. Claire Callahan, a psychiatrist who works with Troubled people (she treats many of the characters from past seasons) is assigned to counsel Audrey after her abduction. Claire insists on shadowing Audrey at work and the two eventually become close and work together on several cases. She also tries regression therapy to see if Audrey can access her past lives, which works to a point. Audrey has visions of herself as Lucy in the company of the Colorado Kid, which provides the clue she needs to find out his real identity, although these flashbacks take a physical toll on her. Ultimately, Claire is murdered and her body taken over by the skinwalker.

Dr. Lucassi, first seen as the psychiatrist affected by the music Trouble in the Season 1, becomes Haven’s medical examiner, a position he will hold until he has some sort of breakdown and vanishes from town with his neighbor’s cats.

Detective Tommy Bowen comes to Haven on the trail of the person who killed his trainee back in Boston. After the case is solved, Nathan offers him a position on the Haven Police Department, though they keep him in the dark about the Troubles for a while. His bosses back at Boston PD aren’t unhappy to see him go—he has been under Internal Affairs investigation because of a shooting incident, although the file is sealed. Nathan figures out he’s the Bolt Gun Killer after seeing his GPS history. Bowen kills Nathan (who is later resurrected by Noelle Keegan) and flees, taking Vince and Dave hostage before pretending to be killed in a boat explosion. The real Tommy Bowen was killed by the shapeshifter before Audrey and Nathan met him the first time.

Jordan McKee is the member of the Guard to whom Vince directs Nathan. She works at a bar and dresses in black, including black gloves. Her Trouble is extreme pain delivered to anyone she touches or who touches her. However, because of his Trouble, Nathan is unaffected. She is seduced by the fact that she can touch him, and they have a brief but intense relationship. Jordan doesn’t trust Nathan at first and gives him a few tests to pass before she is semi-convinced that he’s being straight with her. She gets him to transfer a prisoner who she claims is dying to a nearby facility, but it’s a setup so they can break the Troubled man loose and take him somewhere safe. She lies to Nathan on other occasions when his purposes oppose those of the Guard’s, making it plain where her allegiances lie. She is arrested after trying to take Ginger Danvers but is released in a prisoner exchange deal with the Guard. The Guard wanted the girl for her powers of persuasion, which they planned to use on Nathan to coerce Audrey if she refused to go into the barn.

After Audrey learns the Colorado Kid’s identity and sees what he looks like in a vision, she and Duke travel to Nederland, Colorado, James Cogan’s hometown. There she learns that the Cogans are part of the Guard’s underground network and operate a safe house for Troubled people in transit to Haven. They also learn that James was married to Arla, though she hasn’t been seen since he went east and there are suggestions that she killed herself. The Cogans took James in when Audrey (as Sarah) brought him to them—he was Sarah’s son, which explains why Lucy loved him. On this trip, Duke and Audrey kiss, the first time that Duke admits that he has feeling for her, too—something he will confess to Nathan at the end of the season.

Duke struggles with his curse. Nathan suspects that he is ready to use it at any time and chides him about it, but Nathan isn’t above letting someone sacrifice himself to end a dangerous trouble, which leads to some philosophical discussions about what the difference in their approaches are, if any. Audrey talks Duke into killing a dying Harry Nix, who has hundreds of offspring and his Trouble is lethal. Countless lives are at stake. Duke refuses at first, but finally gives in when he sees what the consequences of his inaction might be, but he’s furious with Audrey for putting him in that position, even though Nix would have died in a few minutes anyway. The worst thing about his curse is that giving into it feels good, like a drug. Nathan’s not happy about Audrey using Duke this way, especially without consulting him first.

The Bolt Gun Killer is murdering women. In some cases, the killer takes off the victims’ skin so that it can be worn later when it’s time to take on a different guise. In other cases, only specific body parts are removed: lips, noses, ears. The common thread in all of these murders is the way the people are killed: a bolt gun shot at the back of the skull, which leaves no exit wound and does minimal damage to the skin. Unlike the chameleon seen last season, this shapeshifter/skinwalker does not need to change bodies regularly—only when circumstances require it. The shapeshifter first appears as Rosalyn Toomey, the woman Audrey talks with through the wall while she’s tied up in the cellar. For most of the season, though, the killer is in the guise of Tommy Bowen, who was dead before he first appeared in Haven. The shapeshifter is Arla Cogan and her goal is to create a skin for herself that looks the way she did back in 1983 so that her husband, James, will be comfortable seeing her when he emerges from the barn. Audrey is able to identify her by putting together the stolen body parts in a police Identikit program.

After James was murdered (perhaps by the Guard to force Lucy into the barn), Lucy took him to the barn, believing that its restorative properties that kept her the same age would bring him back to life. Lucy was supposed to take Arla in, too, but she didn’t because Arla’s Trouble kicked in and she murdered someone to steal their skin. Now, Arla wants Audrey to show her where the barn is so she can be there when James emerges. James told her that Lucy had found a way to stop the Troubles for good. However, James leaves the barn (in the company of Agent Howard) before anyone reaches it and stumbles into town, confused over how much time has passed. He’s deathly sick—he can’t survive outside the barn. Arla has convinced James that Lucy killed him to try to end the Troubles.

The Hunter meteor storm arrives, and it’s a killer. Fireballs rain onto Haven, destroying buildings, starting fires, and killing people. The storm won’t stop until Audrey leaves, according to the Guard. It will only intensify until Haven is destroyed. Audrey meets Agent Howard in the field near the barn’s locations. He sends Arla into town to find James and tells Audrey that the barn will appear whenever she’s ready to go inside. She has to want to go inside, to leave Haven—she can’t be forced in against her will.

One of the main themes of the season is destiny. Duke struggles with what everyone else calls his family’s destiny. His purpose. He commiserates with Audrey, telling her that she shouldn’t blindly accept this fate. He chooses his own fate, he says. Nathan struggles with the notion that Audrey must go into the barn on the appointed day. He feels there must be another way to end the Troubles without losing Audrey. There is, as it turns out, but it’s not a palatable one: Audrey must kill the person she loves most, and she’s not going to do that.

In the final scenes at the barn, Duke tricks Arla into bringing James along and then holds her at gunpoint. James is very sick but manages to revive himself enough to dash inside the barn. Audrey follows, believing him to be her one chance to end the Troubles forever and stay in Haven without losing her identity. Nathan goes inside with her while Duke keeps Arla at bay. Inside, Nathan’s Trouble goes away. The barn shows them things from the past they need to know: it shows Vince and Dave’s failed attempt to blow up the barn with Sarah Vernon, and it reveals that Nathan is James’s father.

The Guard, led by Jordan, shows up to make sure that Audrey is still inside the barn when it leaves. Vince and Dave arrive on the scene separately—Vince wants Audrey to go into the barn and Dave doesn’t. Dwight sides with Dave—he wants the Troubles to end, but there must be a way to put a stop to this vicious cycle. Vince is revealed to be the leader of the Guard. He orders them to leave, but Jordan lingers.

Audrey can’t convince James that there’s something wrong with Arla, so she brings Arla inside the barn. Her Trouble ends, so the grotesque stitches in the skin she is wearing are revealed to her husband. When he finds out that she has murdered so many people, he is enraged. Arla pulls a knife, meaning to attack Audrey, but James gets in the way and is stabbed. In the ensuing struggle, Arla is stabbed, too, and dies. Nathan takes her from the barn so she won’t be revived by it. Agent Howard spirits James away somewhere so he can heal. He can never leave the barn.

Audrey doesn’t love James—she just met him—and she won’t kill the person she loves, so she makes the decision to leave. She goes outside to say her goodbyes and gives Duke a gun to prevent Nathan from stopping her. After she goes back inside, Nathan tries to open the door, but it won’t budge. In a rage, he grabs the gun and shoots Agent Howard several times. Jordan shoots at him but misses—Duke pivots Nathan around so that he can shoot Jordan before she tries again. Instead of vanishing, the barn begins to break apart. Light streams through holes that mimic Agent Howard’s wounds, and from his wounds as well. Nathan tells Duke, who admitted his love for Audrey, to go after her. Duke leaps into the barn as it collapses onto itself, screaming her name. The meteor storm is still raining fire and destruction down on Haven.


1) 301

Trouble: Wesley Toomey, whose grandfather was abducted by aliens, thinks they are back and about to attack Haven. He brings to life several “news” items about alien incidents from the past.

King references: The Altair Bay Inn is named after Altair 4, an alien planet from The Tommyknockers. Wesley Toomey is named for Craig Toomey from “The Langoliers.”

2) Stay

Trouble: Whenever people in Tor Magnusson’s family try to slaughter animals, they become human. When he treats the animals (dogs in this case) like people, they revert.

King references: The Dixie Boy truck stop from Maximum Overdrive makes its second appearance. Dr. Claire Callahan shares a surname with the priest from ‘Salem’s Lot. Dr. Lucassi goes surfing in Ogunquit on Wednesdays—that’s where Fran Goldsmith and Harold Lauder lived in The Stand. The Tarker’s Mills Tigersharks mentioned in the Haven Herald references a town from “Cycle of the Werewolf.”

3) Farmer

Trouble: Harry Nix suffers chronic organ failure. He secretly fathered dozens or hundreds of children so he would have a source of replacement organs, which he sucks out of his victims with a tube that comes out of his mouth. If his attack fails, the victim’s trouble (which is the same as his) is triggered, so this lethal Trouble spreads.

King references: Tommy Bowen is named after Todd Bowen from “Apt Pupil.”

4) Over My Head

Trouble: When Daphne’s car goes off the highway into the water, she transmits whatever bad thing that’s happening to her at the moment to the people who she thinks might rescue her. When Jordan McKee touches anyone, she delivers an extremely painful jolt.

King references: Frank Bentley shares a surname with Wes Bentley from “Dolan’s Cadillac.” Jason Dooley shares a surname with a character from Lisey’s Story.

5) Double Jeopardy

Trouble: Lynette creates a golem out of the painting of Lady Liberty she sees every day in the courthouse. This vengeful creature exacts fitting justice on people she believes have gotten off on technicalities. Duncan Fromsley starts fires in his sleep.

King references: The hidden camera has Dandel-O’s brand, with a spider on the box, a reference to the shape-shifting creature Roland meets close to the Dark Tower. James Dooley shares a last name with Jim Dooley from Lisey’s Story. Judge Boone shares a surname with Charles Boone from “Jerusalem’s Lot.” The Dixie Boy truck stop from Maximum Overdrive is seen for the third time. A gazebo plays a pivotal role in the serial murder case in The Dead Zone. Lynette enters a painting much like Rosie McClendon does in Rose Madder. Duncan Fromsley was incarcerated at Shawshank Prison.

6) Real Estate

Trouble: Roland Holloway became so obsessed with the house he was restoring that he lost his body and became the house itself. Lucy Ripley couldn’t help him 27 years ago, so now he’s set on pitting everyone who comes to the house against each other.

King references: The Holloway House is on Marsten Road, a reference to the haunted house in ‘Salem’s Lot. Roland Holloway’s first name is a tribute to Roland Deschain, the gunslinger from the Dark Tower series. For Halloween, Dwight is dressed like the gunslinger. Tina Teagarden shares a last name with a police constable from Gerald’s Game. James Cogan is real name of the Colorado Kid in the book. Nederland, Colorado is also a setting from King’s forthcoming novel, Revival.

7 & 8) Magic Hour

Trouble: Moira and Noelle Keegan can bring people back from the dead (one per day) by absorbing their injuries. Moira uses this Trouble to extort money from people.

King references: Arla is the Colorado Kid’s wife in the book, too. Trapingus Cove is named for Trapingus County from The Green Mile. Grady Smith, one of the Bolt Gun Killer’s victims, is named after Delbert Grady from The Shining. The Kitchener Mill is a reference to the Kitchener Ironworks from It. EMT Joseph Brentner shares a surname with Ralph Brentner from The Stand.

9) Sarah

Trouble: Stuart Mosley, a war vet, sends people back and forth in time to put them out of harm’s way.

King references: Roy Crocker is named for Roy Depape from Wizard and Glass. Both men are Big Coffin Hunters. Roy’s family lives in Derry. Traveling back in time and changing the outcome of the future is the main storyline in 11/22/63.

10) Burned

Trouble: Young Ginger Danvers has the power of suggestion / command.

King references: Ginger Danvers shares a surname with Mrs. Danvers from the “Father’s Day” segment in Creepshow. Waterman Lane may be a nod to King’s favorite pen maker, the brand he used to write Dreamcatcher longhand. The warehouse where the Bolt Gun Killer kept his skins has a “King Bros.” sign on the wall.

11) Last Goodbyes

Trouble: Will Brady, who has been in a coma for two months and was being transferred home to die, sends everyone in Haven into coma so he can wake up.

King references: Will Brady shares a surname with the mother and son from Sleepwalkers. His prolonged coma is reminiscent of Johnny Smith from The Dead Zone.

12) Reunion

Trouble: Robby “Robert” Farson, who was bullied as a teenager, turns his former tormentors back into their teenaged selves. Any food former prom queen Janine touches turns into cake.

King references: Robert’s last name is Farson (according to credits), which is a tribute to John Farson, the so-called Good Man from the Dark Tower series. Also, the initials RF are common to identities adopted by villain Randall Flagg. The basement boiler that builds up explosive pressure is reminiscent of The Shining.

13) Thanks for the Memories

Trouble: Arla Cogan is a skinwalker, able to strip the skin from other people and wear it like it’s her own. The meteor storm can be thought of as Haven’s Trouble.

King references: The inside of the barn is impossibly big with many doors, like the Black House. The destructive meteor storm is reminiscent of an incident in Carrie.

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #169 (Haven part 3)

This is Part 3 of my Haven series leading up to the premiere of Season 5 on September 11. In the first part, I looked at the series in general and in Part 2 I reviewed the events of the first season. After tackling Season 3 and 4 in subsequent posts, I’ll wrap up with an overview of what we know about the major characters by the end of Season 4. For each season, I’ll also include a list of episodes, along with a summary of the Trouble(s) featured in that episode and a list of the Stephen King references (some of them admittedly a stretch).

Haven: Part 3

Season 2 — Having a Haven Moment

The second season begins immediately after the final shot of Season 1, with the arrival of a new Audrey Parker in Haven. This Parker also has a boss named Agent Howard, but he doesn’t look anything like the Howard Audrey knows and who Nathan and Duke have both met. While trying to get to the bottom of this latest mystery, Audrey locates an apartment where her Agent Howard stayed in Haven. There she finds a copy of Unstake My Heart, the book she was reading in her NY apartment when Howard sent her to Haven. This book contains a set of latitude and longitude figures, and will also figure greatly into events in the fourth season.

It’s a season of identity questions for Audrey, who must now grapple with the notion that she was a different person in the past and that all of her memories are borrowed from someone else. Though Nathan and Audrey originally think this new Parker is a Troubled person, they gradually come to accept that she is exactly who she says she is. She even helps out solving cases for a few episodes until she follows the coordinates on her own and accidentally summons the barn, which wipes her memories.

Thanks to some research by Nathan, Audrey gets the chance to meet the original Lucy Ripley, the one on whom the Haven version based her memories. The woman tells Audrey that Lucy came to visit her 27 years ago. People (including Simon Crocker) were after her and she had discovered the secret behind the origin of the Troubles and how she could end them.

We learn that the Troubles are not restricted to people. Inanimate objects such as machines can be Troubled, as can plant life. Audrey comes to realize that she is immune to the Troubles, but she can be affected by physical manifestations of a Troubled person’s actions. Again, not every incident that Haven PD investigates is the direct result of a Troubled person. Mayor Brody, for example, is murdered by his jealous wife who uses another person’s Trouble as a cover story, and Cole Glendower uses the mermen Trouble as cover to murder Leith, who was planning to blackmail his mother for information.

Audrey has a brief romance with Chris Brody, the mayor’s son, who inherits his father’s charisma curse after the mayor is murdered. He’s a marine biologist and not a terribly likable guy until his Trouble kicks in and everyone loves him. He’s intrigued by Audrey because she is not affected by his charisma. Eventually their relationship sours when it seems that Chris needs her because of her immunity instead of simply wanting her. He leaves Haven to spend the rest of the Troubles in some remote, isolated location.

Another major plotline in this season is the struggle for control over Haven. Nathan tells the town that his father was “lost at sea.” Vince and Dave encourage the town’s selectmen to appoint Nathan as the interim chief. However, Reverend Driscoll has a lot of influence with the town council and he doesn’t approve of the way Nathan and Audrey handle Troubled people. After one of the selectmen discovers Nathan’s unedited files about the Troubles, the town hires a new police chief from outside Haven for a while, but that doesn’t work out very well—for the new chief.

Driscoll attempts to gain Duke’s allegiance because he worked with Duke’s father in the past. He’s willing to use the Crocker family curse, which can bring about the end of a Trouble in a family, even though he believes most Troubled people are damned. He’s an angry man because his wife was having an affair with a Troubled person and faked her death so she could be with him.

Duke learns about the Crocker family curse when he locates a trunk containing the weapons his father used to kill Troubled people. He also discovers that Lucy Ripley killed his father—he didn’t die at sea as he always thought—and finds a message in his father’s journal telling him that he must kill “her”—meaning Audrey. The ghost of his father tells him stories of tragedies that could have been averted and lives that could have been saved if only he had killed certain Troubled people. It is Duke’s destiny, Simon Crocker says. Duke resists, but gets his first taste of what it’s like when a Troubled person kills himself with the knife Duke is holding so his Trouble won’t be passed along to his soon-to-be-born son.

Duke’s wife Evidence Ryan (Evi) comes to Haven, too. It’s been three years since they’ve seen each other. She wants to get Duke to join her in one of the cons they used to pull, but Duke doesn’t want to have anything to do with her. She becomes something of a double agent, pretending to help Duke while she’s actually supplying information to Reverend Driscoll, some of which lead to Nathan’s removal as police chief. The Rev had convinced her that getting Nathan out would be beneficial to Duke, who the Rev believed was important to their cause. She is killed by a sniper working for the Rev after she breaches a lockdown at Haven PD. For a while Duke pretends to side with the Rev to gain as much inside information as possible about the mystery tattoo and his father’s secrets. Audrey is forced to shoot and kill the Rev when he was about to kill a Troubled person, which magnifies the conflict between the factions in Haven and annoys Duke, who lost his one source of potential info.

The character of Dwight Hendrickson is introduced in Season 2. He “cleans up” after Troubled incidents, helping Vince and Dave to cover up the Troubles by hiding evidence and coming up with alternate explanations for events, which range from global warming to the always handy “gas leak” scenario. Dwight, whose Trouble is that any bullets fired in his vicinity will strike him, worked with Nathan’s father and he becomes an increasingly important player in the show.

Nathan and Audrey begin to admit their feelings for each other—they’re more than partners. However, things keep getting in the way, and the ghost of Chief Wuornos warns Nathan that the situation is too dangerous for them to be in love. If Audrey is in love with Nathan, she’s going to want to take risks for him, and she’s too important to Haven.

The season also begins a concerted social media campaign by the program. Twitter accounts for Dave and Vince are integrated (awkwardly, perhaps) into scenes and the brothers are engaged in a contest to see who can garner the most followers. Most of the main cast members were active, especially on Twitter, and social media engagements would increase each year.

The season proper ends on a cliff-hanger. Someone zaps Audrey with a Tazer in her apartment over the Grey Gull, and Nathan—who is now sporting the maze tattoo—gets into a fight with Duke aboard the Cape Rouge because he thinks Duke had something to do with Audrey’s disappearance. The camera draws back as a gunshot is heard.

The season’s thirteenth episode is an out-of-sequence Christmas episode.


1) A Tale of Two Audreys

Trouble: Whatever T.J. Smith reads about comes to life, including the Biblical plagues.

King references: The opening scene from It featuring Georgie and his paper boat is played out. There’s also a Wickham Street in Derry. The Regulators takes place on Poplar Street. McCausland St is a reference to Ruth McCausland, who was Haven’s sheriff in The Tommyknockers.

2) Fear & Loathing

Trouble: When people look at Jackie Clark, they see whatever or whoever scares them the most. Ian Haskell can steal another person’s Trouble by touching their blood, which cures the Troubled person until Haskell takes on another Trouble. Tristram Carver’s puzzle of Haven is cursed so that whenever one of the pieces is placed on the board, the corresponding building crumbles.

King references: Pennywise the clown also appeared to people as their worst fear. Audrey Parker’s worst fear is a clown with jagged teeth. The grocery store scene is a callback to “The Mist.” Ian Haskell shares a surname with a surgeon in Chester’s Mill (Under the Dome).

3) Love Machine

Trouble: Machines become Troubled and come to life to keep the man who fixes them from leaving Haven.

King references: The concept of machines coming to life and attacking people is reminiscent of “Trucks” and the film version, Maximum Overdrive. The scene where someone reaches into an in-sink garbage disposal is reminiscent of a similar scene in Firestarter. The Zamboni crushes a woman against the boards in the hockey rink in much the same way that Christine crushed one of its victims against a wall.

4) Sparks and Recreation

Trouble: Members of the Brody family have a charisma Trouble. Everyone loves them. Nurse Lori Fulcher emits blasts of electricity when under stress.

King references: There was a story about supernatural lights appearing over a Little League baseball game in The Colorado Kid. One of the Haven baseball teams is called the Sea Dogs—a man wearing a Sea Dogs baseball cap appears in Under the Dome. Dwight Hendrickson may be named after Lance Hendrickson, the actor who played Larry Underwood in The Stand.

5) Roots

Trouble: A Troubled tree where a long-ago act of violence took place sends out roots that feed off the anger generated by a family feud.

King references: Weeds overtook Jordy Verrill in the short story “Weeds,” and a plant with a taste for human blood was featured in The Plant. Scenes where the roots attempt to break into a building are reminiscent of the tentacle scenes from The Mist. Beverly Keegan shares a surname with a character from Joyland.

6) Audrey Parker’s Day Off

Trouble: After Anson Shumway’s daughter is struck by a car due to his OCD issues, his Trouble causes him to repeat the day over and over again.

King references: The name Anson Shumway is inspired by Julia Shumway from Under the Dome. The Boston Red Sox are King’s favorite team and the topic of his book Faithful, co-authored with Stewart O’Nan.

7) The Tides that Bind

Trouble: During the Troubles, the men in the Glendower family can only breathe air for short periods of time. They must breathe water instead, effectively turning into mermen.

King references: They weren’t exactly mermen, but human-like creatures emerged from the water to attack a man in “Something to Tide You Over” from Creepshow.

8) Friend or Faux

Trouble: Cornell Stamoran, an embezzler and a murderer, spins off clones of himself that contain his worst aspects. Each time a clone is killed, another appears.

King references: The notion that the worst parts of a person could turn into their doppleganger is also used in The Dark Half.

9) Lockdown

Trouble: Nicky Coleman has been bottling up years of abuse until it becomes a poison that spreads to other people. Dwight Hendrickson is a bullet magnet—any bullets fired near him will target him.

King references: Chief Merrill shares a surname with Ace (“The Body”) and Pops (“The Sun Dog”). Officer Stark is named for George Stark (The Dark Half) and Dr. Underwood for Larry Underwood (The Stand).

10) Who, What, Where, Wendigo

Trouble: Sisters Amelia, Frankie and Sophie Benton become Wendigos, strong and fast creatures that need blood to survive.

King references: Creatures like lobstrocities (The Drawing of the Three) are mentioned on the radio news. A truck stop named the Dixie Boy also appears in Maximum Overdrive. The transport is carrying pesticide-free corn from Gatlin, Nebraska, the setting for Children of the Corn. A Wendigo also appears in Pet Sematary.

11) Business as Usual

Trouble: Stu Pierce’s sweat becomes toxic to anyone who comes into contact with it. Duke Crocker gains superhuman strength when he comes into contact with the blood of a Troubled person.

King references: Dwight uses a coroner from Cleaves Mills, a town from The Dead Zone. Duke won his boat in a poker game with Ray Fiegler, which is an alias used by Randall Flagg in Hearts in Atlantis. Fiegler was from Castle Rock, a town featured in many King stories and novels.

12) Sins of the Father

Trouble: The ghosts of people Kyle Hopkins buried in the Eastside Cemetery come back and entice the living to settle old scores on their behalf. Duke learns that if he kills a Troubled person, he eliminates the Trouble from the family.

King references: The story of the poisonings at the church camp is reminiscent of the Tashmore church poisonings, as told in The Colorado Kid.

13) Silent Night

Trouble:  Young Hadley Chambers creates Christmas in July by entrapping Haven inside her favorite snow globe. She makes everyone in town vanish because people are always leaving her—her father had just moved out of the family home.

King references: When the snow globe forms, it cuts a person in half, reminiscent of what happens at the beginning of Under the Dome. A truck accident occurs at the Mohaine Bridge, a reference to the Mohaine Desert from the Dark Tower series. Gordon Chambers supposedly moved to Derry, the setting for It and other King novels. His last name is shared by Jake from the Dark Tower series and Chris from “The Body.”

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #168 (Haven part 2)

This is Part 2 of my Haven series leading up to the premiere of Season 5 on September 11. In the first part, I looked at the series in general. For the next four installments, I’ll review each season as a refresher, and I’ll wrap up with an overview of what we know about the major characters by the end of Season 4. For each season, I’ll also include a list of episodes, along with a summary of the Trouble(s) featured in that episode and a list of the Stephen King references (some of them admittedly a stretch).

Without further ado:

Haven: Part 2

Season 1 — It’s a Haven Thing

The first season begins with the arrival of FBI Special Agent Audrey Parker in Haven, Maine, where she has been dispatched by her boss, Agent Byron Howard, to bring back Jonas Lester, an escaped federal prisoner who killed a guard. Upon her arrival, she is greeted by the sudden appearance of a sinkhole on the road that sends her car dangling off the edge of a cliff. She is rescued by Nathan Wuornos, an encounter that winds up in a standoff when they both realize the other is armed but neither is sure why. Shortly after they meet, Audrey discovers that Nathan is incapable of feeling pain, which he attributes to a medical condition.

In town, people start to comment on the fact that Audrey looks familiar. She is shown a photograph from a 1983 copy of the Haven Herald about an unsolved murder where the unidentified victim was referred to as the Colorado Kid. A woman (also unidentified) in the picture looks exactly like Audrey except for some cosmetic differences. Nathan knows the story because his father (currently Chief of the Haven Police Department) was a beat cop at the time.

Audrey, an orphan, wonders if this might be her mother. She asks Agent Howard for vacation time to attempt to identify this mystery woman. It turns out that sending Audrey to Haven was part of a secret plan between Agent Howard and an at-first-unidentified person who is later revealed to be Haven Police Chief Garland Wuornos, who has been attempting to hold the town together under the latest onslaught of the Troubles, supernatural afflictions that plague many of the town’s inhabitants. Chief Wuornos tells Audrey about the Troubles and says she should stay in Haven and work for him because she has a special talent: she can see things the way they really are. He hopes some of that will rub off on his son. Few people will talk to her, though, because she isn’t a local. Ultimately she comes to realize that Lucy Ripley, the woman in the photograph, wasn’t her mother—it was her, somehow.

Audrey, who was seen reading a vampire novel in her apartment, is open to all possibilities when investigating cases, which makes her a perfect person to try to figure out what’s going on when a Troubled person’s affliction manifests and to talk the person down when possible. Nathan, though he was born and raised in Haven and is Troubled himself, tends to remain skeptical at first, perhaps as a reaction to his father’s willingness to attribute most problems to the Troubles. The Chief and his son have a rocky relationship.

Lines within the town are drawn. On one side is Reverend Driscoll, who regards the Troubled as unnatural, a blight to be cast out, saved or destroyed. On the other is the faction consisting primarily of Audrey and Nathan who attempt to alleviate the Troubled person’s affliction.  Not all of the crimes they investigate are caused by Troubled people, though. In one case, a woman poisoned her boss and, in another, Audrey and Nathan discover that a boat wreck was caused by the sale of shoddy and defective parts.

After several weeks of handling Troubled people, Audrey receives a visit from Agent Howard, who threatens to bring her back to NY. He demands a true accounting of the cases—not the whitewashed versions she’s been turning in. Ultimately she quits the FBI and joins the Haven Police Department as Nathan’s partner—which was Howard’s plan all along. She just needed a push from him.

During the course of one investigation, Audrey and Nathan see an interesting tattoo that consists of a maze with figures standing at each of the four compass points. (This same sigul can be seen in the show’s opening credits.) Duke Crocker, the local rogue and an old nemesis of Nathan’s, learns from his former babysitter that he will die at the hands of a man with this tattoo on his arm, but ultimately it is revealed that many people have this tattoo. Audrey recommends he look into the meaning of the tattoo rather than be concerned about any one person bearing it. It appears on the headstones of many people in the Haven Cemetery, for example.

Nathan forms a romantic relationship with Jess Minion, a Quebecois who the locals believe is a witch. He is tentative because he’s afraid his lack of sensation will make him unable to be physical with her. Jess ultimately leaves town because she’s afraid of the Troubles, which seem to be attracted to Nathan.

Another ongoing thread is the appearance of cracks. They’re seen on the road leading into Haven in the first episode and later at Carpenter’s Knot Island and on Duke’s boat. A lighthouse crumbles because of another crack. In the finale these are revealed to be caused by Chief Wuornos’s trouble, a manifestation of his attempts to hold Haven together.

Everything comes to a head with the arrival of two people to Haven. The first is Max Hansen, fresh out of Shawshank Prison , where he’s been incarcerated since 1985. He has a maze tattoo and the same Trouble as Nathan, and he has some ancient scores to settle—in particular, he wants to see Chief Wuornos die for stealing his family from him. Nathan discovers that Chief Wuornos isn’t his real father, which causes a further rift between them. Another sort of rift—the kind Wuornos generates—opens up in front of Hansen, who falls to his death. There is speculation that Hansen killed the Colorado Kid, though that was never proved.

Chief Wuornos is at the end of his tether. He’s tried everything to keep his affliction at bay: drinking, smoking, going to church, but it’s time for him to die. Now that Audrey is back, he can let go. A series of cracks emanates from him. He pulls them into himself and explodes into a million pieces. Vince and Dave Teagues from the Haven Herald gather the parts into an ice chest and bury him in a remote location. They know a lot more than they’re telling about Audrey and her purpose in Haven, but they’ve decided (sort of) to keep out of it and let her discover things on her own.

Though Audrey and Nathan keep the chief’s death a secret, Rev. Driscoll knows and makes a power play to control his replacement. He tells Nathan to leave Haven or suffer like the rest of “his kind”—the damned.

The second arrival is an FBI agent named Audrey Parker. There’s a near-exact repeat of the showdown that occurred in the first episode. Once again Audrey’s identity is called into question, as the new FBI agent asks, “Who the hell are you?”


1) Welcome to Haven

Trouble: Marian Caldwell causes catastrophic weather events when pressured or threatened.

King references: Audrey’s radio is set to 103.1, which is WZLO, a station owned by King. The Haven Herald is located at 217 King Street. Room 217 was the haunted room in the Overlook hotel in The Shining. Marion Caldwell share’s a surname with Rebecca Caldwell from The Dead Zone television series on which Nicole De Boer appeared.

2) Butterfly

Trouble: Bobby Mueller brings to life in his dreams the things he sees before he goes to sleep.

King references:Hannah Driscoll’s secret bank account is in Bangor, King’s home town.

3)  Harmony

Trouble: Ray McBreen causes people around him to go berserk when he plays music—but his Trouble has a beneficial effect on catatonic patients.

King references: A scene features a folded paper boat like the one Georgie plays with in It.

4) Consumed

Trouble: When Bill McShaw gets upset, the ingredients of any food he eats (all the way back to the original source) go bad.

King references: The Grey Gull is the name of a restaurant in The Colorado Kid. Marnie Snell shares a surname with Sue Snell from Carrie.

5) Ball and Chain

Trouble: When Beatrice Mitchell turns into an alter ego named Helena and has sex with a man, she gets pregnant and gives birth in a few days. The father ages rapidly and dies when she holds the baby for the first time.

King references:King’s signature can be seen on the Harbor Master’s certificate. Beatrice’s nanny is an older black woman named Abigail who hails from Nebraska (The Stand). Deaths like the ones that occurred in this episode are mentioned in 1954 records from Derry (It).

6) Fur

Trouble: Piper Taylor and her son Landon cause stuffed animals to come to life and go after the people who killed them. Piper had been brought back to life by her father during earlier Troubles and she resurrected Landon after a fire.

King references: Jess Minnion had her car towed in Derry. Derry Road is also mentioned in “Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut.” The resurrection plot—especially the strong temptation to bring a loved one back to life—is reminiscent of Pet Sematary. The hunt for the killer wolf is reminiscent of a scene from Silver Bullet. Tobias Gillespie’s name is inspired by Constable Parkins Gillespie from ‘Salem’s Lot.

7) Sketchy

Trouble: Victoria Dutton’s drawings come to life. Anything done to them is also inflicted on the subject—people or objects.

King references: The concept of artwork coming to life is common in King’s work. Patrick Danville has this ability in The Dark Tower, as does Edgar Freemantle in Duma Key and Richard Sifkitz in “Stationary Bike.” Vicky’s sketch of Haven was done from the perspective of King’s Point.

8) Ain’t No Sunshine

Trouble: Thornton Aaron’s anger at his wife’s death from cancer detaches from him as a shadow that kills others.

King references: Members of a support group believe a “Dark Man” is responsible for the premature deaths of their family members. King wrote a poem called “The Dark Man” that is the genesis of his character Randall Flagg, a name that is mentioned in the opening credits. Two cops are named Stan and Beverly after characters from It.

9) As You Were

Trouble: Vaughn Carpenter is a chameleon. When his trouble is reactivated, his ability to exist in any one body for any length of time is limited, so he has to kill people to take them over.

King references:  The hotel on Carpenter’s Knot Island is reminiscent of the Overlook. One of Audrey’s birthday gifts is a first edition of Misery Unchained signed by the author before that lady chopped off his foot (Misery). Nathan’s middle name calls to mind Thad Beaumont (The Dark Half). The shapeshifter in this episode is reminiscent of the Skin-Man from The Wind Through the Keyhole.

10) The Hand You’re Dealt

Trouble: Matt West has pyrokinesis, which he uses to pay back his tormentors and wreak general havoc in Haven. Vanessa Stanley sees the last thing other people see before they die.

King references: Charlie McGee from Firestarter was also pyrokinetic. Photographer Morris Cross mentions lobster-like creatures that chattered back and forth at each other, i.e. lobstrosities from The Drawing of the Three.

11) The Trial of Audrey Parker

Trouble: Ezra Colbert has bouts of acuity and prescience—the ability to predict what a person is about to do or say.

King references: A copy of Tommyknockers can be seen among the books Audrey moves in the stateroom of Duke’s boat. Agent Howard refers to the people Audrey has been investigating as the “Children of the Corn.” Duke’s boat’s position is given relative to Little Tall Island, the setting for several King stories, including Dolores Claiborne and Storm of the Century. Tobias Blaine may be named for Blane the Mono from the Dark Tower series.

12) Resurfacing

Trouble: James Garrick vibrates to the point where he can longer be seen or heard.

King references: The boat that washes ashore with one body on board and several men missing is similar to the unsolved mystery of the Pretty Lisa Cabot from The Colorado Kid. A model of a car exactly like Christine moves across a desk. James Garrick’s interactions with reality are reminiscent of a poltergeist and, for a while, his kids are suspected of possessing telekinesis like Carrie. In a sense, he’s like Jo Noonan’s ghost in Bag of Bones, moving things around to interact with “the living.” In The Tommyknockers, Bobbi Anderson’s farm was formerly known as the Garrick farm.

13) Spiral

Trouble: Garland Wuornos causes cracks all around Haven. Max Hansen can’t feel pain.

King references: Max Hansen has just finished his sentence at Shawshank Prison. Max’s all-denim apparel is meant to call to mind Randall Flagg from The Stand.

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #167

Haven: Part 1 — What the hell kind of town is this?

Season 5 of the Syfy series Haven begins on Thursday, September 11, so I thought I would review the series to date in the weeks leading up to the premiere. The show’s move to Thursday nights seems to be a vote of confidence, along with its 26-episode renewal after a successful fourth season. The first 13 episodes will air this fall and the second batch in 2015.

Haven, as you probably know, is based (loosely) on Stephen King’s short novel The Colorado Kid, published by Hard Case Crime in 2005. That book involved two old-timers named Vince Teague and Dave Bowie, editors of the Weekly Islander, and their young intern, Stephanie McCann. A reporter from the Boston Globe has just treated them to lunch while attempting to extract from them local unsolved mysteries for an article in his paper. After he leaves, the men tell Stephanie about a real unsolved mystery, that of the Colorado Kid. His body was found on the beach without any identification. His pocket contents were uninformative and mysterious. Eventually he was identified, but no one knows why he came to the coastal Maine island and how he made a seemingly possible trip there from Colorado.

Very little survives in the series from the novel. The story of The Colorado Kid is there, and his real identity (and that of his wife) is the same as in King’s novel, although the series expands upon this greatly. Some of the other unsolved mysteries Vince and Dave tell Stephanie show up as parts of plots (the story of the boat that washed ashore, for example, or the Tashmore church poisonings), but that’s about it. The setting is changed from Moose-Look Island to the coastal community of Haven, Maine. Vince and Dave are now the Teagues brothers, who run the Haven Herald.

And yet, the concept behind The Colorado Kid is still there: the notion that our world is a place filled with unsolved mysteries. Each week, the main characters confront such a mystery. In a sense, the show is a cop drama or a whodunit, because the identity of the person behind the strange incidents is a mystery and the writers do an excellent job of creating red herrings to misdirect the audience into suspecting different characters.

“Haven?” I hear you asking. Isn’t that the place where The Tommyknockers is set? Well, yes and no. The towns share a name, but they aren’t the same place. In particular, the Haven in The Tommyknockers is not on the coast. Quoting the novel, “Haven was not on either of Maine’s two major tourist tracks, one of which runs through the lake and mountain region to the extreme west of the state and the other of which runs up the coast to the extreme east.” And yet, the TV Haven is in the Stephen King universe, not far from Castle Rock, Derry, Bangor, Little Tall Island and Cleaves Mills.

In fact, the writers of this series are very conversant with the Stephen King universe. Every episode contains at least one subtle or overt reference to a King book or story. Often these come in the form of names that are drawn from characters in similar situations in other works, but in one memorable instance, the opening scene from It, in which a little boy in a yellow rain slicker plays with a paper boat that goes down the drain, is recreated in loving detail. The writers are strongly influenced by It and the concept of something evil that recurs on a regular basis. In later seasons, Dark Tower concepts such as doorways to other worlds and thin spots between universes also enter the story. Ideas from King stories creep in (in one case, machinery comes to life and attacks people, much as in “Trucks”). There are also a lot of businesses around Haven with the word King in their name, and physical copies of King novels (and a Misery novel by an unnamed Paul Sheldon) appear on screen.

Haven (sometimes known as Hayven) is an old community, with a current population of about 25,000 (according to the Season 2 Christmas episode).  There was a strong Mi’kmaw presence in the area when it was established in the late 15th century (its original name, Tuwiuwok, is a Mi’kmaw word that means Haven for God’s Orphans) and the aboriginal lore pervades its history: legends of Wendigo and shapeshifters, for instance (both also used by King in other works).

The town’s main claim to infamy is the so-called Troubles, afflictions that have plagued its residents throughout its history. Every 27 years (a timespan that will be familiar to people who’ve read It), the Troubles return. They run in families and often bear a relationship to something about the afflicted individuals. A stressful incident triggers a person’s Trouble during the period when they are active, giving him or her a supernatural ability that generally has terrible consequences for the person and for those around him or her.

On the same repeat cycle, a mysterious young woman comes to Haven. She is a kind of “Troubles whisperer.” She has the ability to help the Troubled, usually by making them aware that they are the cause of whatever strange events have been taking place of late and by talking them out of the strong emotions that unleashed their supernatural power.

Most Troubled people can be taught to manage their Troubles—though not all. Many of them cannot remain in society for the duration of the Troubles and must be sequestered in one way or another. For others, more drastic measures are sometimes called for. The writers seem to have a bottomless supply of interesting and innovative Troubles to inflict upon their characters, and one of the show’s intriguing aspects is the various ways some people take advantage of their afflictions. One character, for example, uses her power to blackmail people. Another uses it to gain revenge on enemies and yet another thinks that his ability to create conflagrations is super-cool, so he wreaks mayhem on Haven. Most people, though, are ashamed by their Troubles and few talk openly about their individual afflictions.

One of the things that appeals to me about the series is its essential Canadian flavor. Though it is set in Maine, filming takes place in a number of communities on the south shore of Nova Scotia, not far from where I lived during the 1980s. The symbolic lighthouse often seen (and occasionally destroyed) is the one at Peggy’s Cove, a popular tourist destination. I had the chance to visit the set in late June—you can read more about that on my blog.

With the exception of Emily Rose (Audrey Parker) and Eric Balfour (Duke Crocker), most of the cast is Canadian. Familiar faces, from the actor who plays Chief Garland Wuornos to the most recent medical examiner, played by Jayne Eastwood, pop up from time to time. Lucas Bryant, who plays Nathan, and Adam Copeland (aka WWE’s Edge), who plays Dwight, are both Canadian, as are John Dunsworth (Dave Teagues) and Richard Donat (Vince Teagues). Colin Ferguson, who came into the series as the mysterious William in its fourth season, is from Canada, as is Jason Priestley, who appeared in a four-episode arc and has directed episodes as well. People familiar with the region will see all manner of recognizable sites, including the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and Lunenburg’s Town Hall, which doubles as Haven’s police headquarters. Fans travel to Nova Scotia from all around the world to see the beautiful scenery depicted in the show, and while there isn’t a Haven Tour of the South Shore yet, there should be some day.

Though the show’s mythology started out slowly, giving viewers time to become familiar with the characters and the overall scenario, Haven has developed a complex mythos that asks questions and occasionally answers them.  I recently watched the four seasons over the course of a few weeks and I was amazed and gratified by how well it all holds together. There is clever writing, with callbacks to incidents from early episodes that pull everything together, and good chemistry among the main characters. Although no one will likely mention it in the same breath as The Wire or Breaking Bad, I think this is a vastly underappreciated series, even though it appears to have a substantial following, both in the US and internationally.

One place where this show succeeds where Under the Dome, perhaps, does not is in its sense of humor. It isn’t unreasonable to compare the two series, which are both “inspired” by King novels and strike out into uncharted territory very early in their runs and never look back. Under the Dome has little or no sense of humor, whereas Haven is rife with humorous dialog and asides, mostly from Duke and Dwight. There is playful banter and some black humor that will make you jump and then laugh.

Next time, I’ll look at the course of events that shape the show’s first season, and will follow up with each of the subsequent seasons, culminating with a look at what we know about the main characters and where things might go in Season 5.

News from the Dead Zone #151

My 150th post was so memorable, so legen—wait for it—dary that I was hesitant to follow it up. Nah, I’ve just been busy with other stuff (a likely story). So, here it is, #151. All the news that’s fit to print, and even some that isn’t.

The hottest news is the pending publication of “A Face in the Crowd,” an e-book and audiobook short story co-written with Stewart O’Nan, release slated for August 21. You can read the plot synopsis at King’s website. If you find yourself saying, “Hey, that sort of sounds familiar,” there’s a good reason. King talked about this story idea in Faithful, also co-written with O’Nan, while discussing the Face Game, something he’d do to amuse himself while watching baseball games. “What if a guy watches a lot of baseball games on TV because he’s a shut-in or invalid…and one night he sees his best friend from childhood, who was killed in a car crash, sitting in one of the seats behind the backstop…After that the protagonist sees him every night at every game.” You can read the full passage from Faithful here. The idea stuck around. King mentioned it again at the end of his appearance at the Savannah Book Festival, where Stewart O’Nan was in attendance. You can hear King talking about it at the 1 hr 5 min mark of this video.

The next book to be published will probably be Joyland, which will be out from Hard Case Crime next June. Neil Gaiman spilled the beans about this crime novel in an interview with King published in the Sunday Times in April. The book will only be available in paperback at first because King wants people to experience it as a physical book. Presumably there will eventually be an eBook, too. Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever. Publisher Charles Ardai calls the it “a breathtaking, beautiful, heartbreaking book. It’s a whodunit, it’s a carny novel, it’s a story about growing up and growing old, and about those who don’t get to do either because death comes for them before their time.  Even the most hardboiled readers will find themselves moved.”

Doctor Sleep, the sequel to The Shining, originally slated for a January 2013 release, has been pushed back to give King more time to work on revisions. A new release date has not yet been announced, but you can hear King read the opening section on the audiobook version of The Wind through the Keyhole.

Part 1 of “In the Tall Grass,” a novella co-written with Joe Hill, was published in the June/July issue of Esquire, with the conclusion following in the August issue. It’s a nasty little story about what happens to people who unwisely choose to listen to the Canadian rock group Rush while traveling cross-country.

Movie update: The remake of Carrie is currently in production, with Chloë Grace Moretz in the starring role. Julianne Moore, Judy Greer and Portia Doubleday are also in the movie, which is directed by Kimberly Peirce. Justin Long is starring in a feature film adaptation of “The Ten o’Clock People,” directed by Tom Holland (The Langoliers, Thinner). Both are slated for 2013 releases. At Cannes, there were reports that “The Reach” and “A Good Marriage” would be turned into films, too, but there’s been no further news since then, nor has there been anything else about SyFy’s plans to turn The Eyes of the Dragon into a 4-hour TV movie. There are still rumblings about a 2-movie remake of It, too, but who knows if that project will take off or not.

King played with the Rock Bottom Remainders at their last-ever gigs in California recently. Before the shows, King said,  “A few years ago, Bruce Springsteen told us we weren’t bad, but not to try to get any better otherwise we’d just be another lousy band. After 20 years, we still meet his stringent requirements. For instance, while we all know what ‘stringent’ means, none of us have yet mastered an F chord.” Kathy Kamen Goldmark, who came up with the idea for the band, passed away shortly before these shows. You can find some clips of their performances on YouTube. Here’s an article about the band in the L.A. Times.

King will take to the stage at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell, offering fans the chance to hear him read his work, ask him questions and listen to him discuss his passion for writing and his advice for aspiring authors on Friday, Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m.  See more about the event here.

Mark and Brian of KLOS hosted a wide-ranging interview with King recently You can listen to it here: Part 1 | Part 2.

Ghost Brothers of Darkland County may make the move to Broadway. Director Susan V. Booth plans to workshop the play in New York in September to try to arrange financial backing. In case you missed it in the awesomeness that was NFtDZ #150, here is my review of the Premiere at FEARnet.

James Smythe, a writer for the UK newspaper The Guardian, has read every King book and is now reading them again and reviewing them along the way. If you’re interested in following along, his first post on Carrie can be found here.

Season 3 of Haven is currently filming in Nova Scotia. The SyFy original series, based on The Colorado Kid (loosely based, that is), returns with thirteen new episodes on September 21. Hmmm. There’s something special about that date. Now, what could it be?


News From the Dead Zone #131

Stephen King wants you to help him build his empire! “After 36 years (give or take) of writing stories, I find myself hungry—not for food, but for power. I’ve decided to build a virtual empire, but I need your help. Please pitch in and help me feed my insatiable appetite for grandiosity.” For more details, see his post here.

Just over a week to go (July 9)  until the premiere of Haven on SyFy. This is the TV series inspired by The Colorado Kid. Here’s an article about filming in Nova Scotia. Here’s a video of the cast discussing the series. This link has synopses of the first four episodes.

Full Dark, No Stars is still several months away, but here is the Amazon/UK description of the book and its stories:

‘I believe there is another man inside every man, a stranger…’ writes Wilfred Leland James in the early pages of the riveting confession that makes up ‘1922’, the first in this pitch-black quartet of mesmerising tales from Stephen King, linked by the theme of retribution.  For James, that stranger is awakened when his wife Arlette proposes selling off the family homestead and moving to Omaha, setting in motion a gruesome train of murder and madness.

In ‘Big Driver’, a cozy-mystery writer named Tess encounters the stranger is along a back road in Massachusetts when she takes a shortcut home after a book-club engagement. Violated and left for dead, Tess plots a revenge that will bring her face to face with another stranger: the one inside herself.

‘Fair Extension’, the shortest of these tales, is perhaps the nastiest and certainly the funniest.  Making a deal with the devil not only saves Harry Streeter from a fatal cancer but provides rich recompense for a lifetime of resentment.

When her husband of more than twenty years is away on one of his business trips, Darcy Anderson looks for batteries in the garage. Her toe knocks up against a box under a worktable and she discovers the stranger inside her husband.  It’s a horrifying discovery, rendered with bristling intensity, and it definitively ends ‘A Good Marriage’.

Like Different Seasons and Four Past Midnight, which generated such enduring hit films as The Shawshank Redemption and Stand by Me, Full Dark, No Stars proves Stephen King a master of the long story form.

For those of you interested in such details: 1922 is 96 manuscript pages, A Good Marriage is 63 manuscript pages, Big Driver is 82 manuscript pages and Fair Extension is 25 manuscript pages.

Here is King’s report from his visit to the set of season three of the FX series Sons of Anarchy. He has a cameo in the third episode. He will play a quiet loner who appears in Gemma’s (Katey Sagal) time of need. The producers learned that King was a fan of the drama, so they reached out to him for a possible cameo.

Here’s the video of King’s unannounced “visit” to Good Morning America during Justin Cronin’s appearance to promote The Passage.

A NY Times Review of Blockade Billy, with interview. Billy’s darkness is not as frightening as many of King’s characters. “At least Steve avoided turning him into a vampire,” [King’s agent] Verrill said.

Recent Entertainment Weekly columns:

Here is a good write up, with pictures, of the recent LA event where King was presented a Literary Award At The 15th Annual Los Angeles Public Library Awards Dinner

News from the Dead Zone #129

Of course the big news is the pending publication of Blockade Billy, a novella or novelette or novelesque, or something like that. It’s a baseball story with a twist, published by CD Publications this month. Of the book King says, “”I love old-school baseball, and I also love the way people who’ve spent a lifetime in the game talk about the game. I tried to combine those things in a story of suspense. People have asked me for years when I was going to write a baseball story. Ask no more; this is it.” The story reveals the secret life of William “Blockade Billy” Blakely, a man who may have been the greatest player the game has ever seen, although today no one remembers his name. He was the first — and only — player to have his existence completely removed from the record books. Even his team is long forgotten, barely a footnote in the game’s history. As you read the story, be on the lookout for a character with a very familiar name…

Scribner plans to release an audio version of the story in May. Publishers Weekly says (in part): this suspenseful short is a deftly executed suicide squeeze, with sharp spikes hoisted high and aimed at the jugular on the slide home.

The four stories contained in King’s next book, Full Dark, No Stars are:  1922 (The story opens with the confession of Wilfred James to the murder of his wife, Arlette, following their move to Hemingford, Nebraska onto land willed to Arlette by her father),  Big Driver (Mystery writer, Tess, has been supplementing her writing income for years by doing speaking engagements with no problems. But following a last-minute invitation to a book club 60 miles away, she takes a shortcut home with dire consequences), Fair Extension  (Harry Streeter, who is suffering from cancer, decides to make a deal with the devil but, as always, there is a price to pay), and A Good Marriage (Darcy Anderson learns more about her husband of over twenty years than she would have liked to know when she stumbles literally upon a box under a worktable in their garage).

King says that he “originally used Hemingford Home in The Stand because I wanted to put Mother Abigail in the American heartland. That’s Nebraska. Hemingford was in the right place. … I love Nebraska and keep going back to it in my fiction — when I’m not in Maine, that is.”

Haven, the new SyFy series inspired by The Colorado Kid, will premiere on Friday, July 9. “It’s definitely based on the characters of ‘The Colorado Kid, but I would say it’s about a girl named Audrey [Parker], who’s an orphan and becomes an FBI agent,” star Emily Rose says. “She ends up getting sent on this case up in Maine. When she goes up there, she kind of starts having these things happen to her, and she sort of starts feeling like she’s been called home. Paranormal things happen, and some exciting things happen for her, and it’s not only her unraveling this murder case, but kind of unraveling the case of herself, honestly. It’s pretty fascinating.” Lucas Bryant and Eric Balfour also star in the series.

Dolan’s Cadillac is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray. My advice: rent it or skip it. I’ll have a full review in an upcoming issue of CD magazine.

Recent Entertainment Weekly columns: Stephen King on the Academy Awards, and Stephen King on the Kindle and the iPad. You might also be interested in Stephen King’s scary list: commercial radio, contemporary country music