Stephen King - CELL

King rings up a whole new kind of horror

Cell, King's latest tale of a world gone wrong, is for anyone who has ever enjoyed his work or the work of George Romero. It is a gratifying tribute to Romero, the crown prince of zombie movies, to whom King, in part, dedicates the book.

On a seemingly typical afternoon, anyone who is talking on a cellphone becomes a victim of "The Pulse." This worldwide act of terrorism turns cellphone users into zombie-like, bloodthirsty "phone-crazies." Crazies kill other crazies as well as normal folk (i.e.: people who don't use cellphones or at least weren't on their phones when The Pulse struck). Children kill their parents. Husbands kill their wives. Man bites dog, etc. There seems to be no rhyme or reason — or is there?

The story is told mostly from the perspective of a small "cell" of unaffected people who happen to meet during the insanity that unfolds. Near the beginning of Cell, a Boston police officer compares the phone crazies to Night of the Living Dead "except these people aren't dead." In another scene, Alice, the teenage heroine says, "To me it looks like a special effect in some big summer movie."

I've always been a King fan as well as a fan of Romero's zombie flicks. I find this to be one of King's best efforts yet. The "fun" begins within the first few pages and then you'd better just hang on for the ride. It's a page turner that has kept me up well past my bedtime for the last couple of nights.

I have no doubt that it will be a movie one day and will probably be done by Romero. I'll be one of the first in line at the theater.

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