TITLE: Pet Semetary
AUTHOR: Stephen King
PUBLISHER: Hodder & Stoughton
GENRE: Horror, Thriller, Suspense
RATING: 4/5 Stars
The house looked right, felt right to Dr Louis Creed.
Rambling, old, unsmart and comfortable. A place where the family could settle; the children grow and play and explore. The rolling hills and meadows of Maine seemed a world away from the fume-choked dangers of Chicago.
Only the occasional big truck out on the two-lane highway, grinding up through the gears, hammering down the long gradients, growled out an intrusive threat.
But behind the house and far away from the road: that was safe. Just a carefully cleared path up into the woods where generations of local children have processed with the solemn innocence of the young, taking with them their dear departed pets for burial.
A sad place maybe, but safe. Surely a safe place. Not a place to seep into your dreams, to wake you, sweating with fear and foreboding.
What I Liked:
- The build-up was so good. King's ability to create tension has always been something I've admired, but I really felt it in this book. Perhaps because we don't really know what it's building up to here? Only that something sinister is coming.
- This is the perfect example of a very real, relatable horror with a paranormal twist being far superior to a totally supernatural one. There were no killer clowns to be found here. Instead - a highway with dangerous, speeding lorries and the simple truth of having young children and/or a pet that could run into the oncoming traffic at any time.
What I Disliked:
- I appreciate that King's characters are supposed to be flawed, but do they have to be so misogynistic all the time? Reading such outdated, poor attitudes towards women is pretty tiring and makes the main character a little harder to root for.
- I think after such an amazing build-up, I felt a teensy bit let down by the climactic result, which was over in a few chapters. Sure, it was pretty horrifying, but it felt a little too quick. There was so much scope here for a super creepy 'family reunion' and that just didn't happen. Such a shame.
I've wrestled with the fact that I've not taken to King's books for a while, especially considering that he is considered a master at a genre I love to read. It was a relief to finally read some of his work and actually feel chills. I'll keep trying to find the book for me. The build-up was perfect, I just wish that the ending had matched the pace of the beginning and middle, and that not every book had to be from the POV of a privileged, whiny man who loves women but also hates them, and lives in Maine.