In a remote cabin, Jessie finds herself handcuffed to a bed with her husband dead on the floor beside her. He suffered an ill-timed heart attack and now she cannot escape. Jessie relives her past trauma and wants nothing more than to get out of her head and this room.
So, you know my journey with Stephen King isn't an easy one. Whilst I loved Carrie and Duma Key, I trundled begrudgingly through IT and this. 'Gerald's Game' isn't even one of King's longest publications but it sure felt like it was the longest book I'd read this year. Whilst the first few chapters are full of shock and reader engagement and the final chapters provide a grizzly realisation for the reader and Jessie the middle section was a proper reading slug. I commend anyone who read this without having to revamp themselves halfway through to finish it. Reliving Jessie's trauma wasn't here nor there, it reconfirmed to me that King has some strange obsession with writing explicit childhood trauma but other than that it was not exciting to read.
This is listed as a Stephen King horror novel, and whilst it's not spine-tinglingly scary it does play on something we all fear; helplessness. This is what made me uncomfortable, all King books have that one thing we find unsettling and for me, it was seeing Jessie be imprisoned without hope of escape. This overall theme is the only reason this wasn't a DNF, it became important for me to follow it to the end and see how she came out alive, for my own peace of mind more than anything else. I'm glad I did stick it out until the end because of the serial killer.
I love reading about serial killers, their psychology is infuriatingly interesting and when it was revealed (spoiler, although this book is nearly 30 years old so that's on you) the man in Jessie's room was real and a serial killer on the loose I was so happy. This redeemed the novel from a boring story of escape to something I could get my teeth into! But still, it wasn't high flying and I have to agree with the slew of GoodReads reviewers that this was not a good read.
I will continue to trundle through King's publications and hopefully, I'll find one that meets the same level as Duma Key for me. Until next time Mr King.