Desperation by Stephen King is a thrilling read that will leave you looking over your shoulder for Tak. It is one of his best attempts to horrify the world.
David and his family are on a cross country RV trip when they hit the limits of Desperation, Arizona and are pulled over by the local sheriff. Except this is not an officer at all, but Tak, an ancient, evil presence that was unleashed by mining. Tak has possessed the sherif’s body and using trickery, captures David, his little sister, and their feuding parents. Crammed into the back of a cruiser, the adults quickly begin to realize the danger but escape is not possible with two young children.
Once at the jail house, David’s little sister is pushed down the stairs by Tak and is killed. A fight ensues but the family can not beat the evil Presence controlling the sheriff and they are taken to the cell block. Once there, they find Tak the Sheriff has other people locked up, their screams to run echoing as the family is put in separate barred areas. WIthout mercy, Tak has them locked up so he can possess their bodies, as each one he takes over quickly begins to die.
When Tak the sheriff goes out on another ‘call’, the family discovers what Tak has been doing, listening to the other’s tales of murder and abuse and the panic is strong enough to touch. Except for David. The child is a strong believer in God and spends his time praying. His father, understandably upset, mocks him but David’s belief is strong and he finds a way to escape. He can reach a bar of soap and after undressing, lathers himself to fit between the bars. He then releases everyone else and the group of survivors flees together.
When Tak returns to the jail, he finds them gone and sends him animal followers out to find them while he switches bodies. From here, it is an eerie journey to escape Tak and the animals doing his bidding. There are fights, magic, and a sense of urgency that will keep even the pickiest reader entertained. The ending has little David pitting his will against Tak’s and winning but the evil presence is not gone, only trapped back in the mine and it begins to call for help as soon as the survivors have fled.
All in all, an interesting read but very graphic. Not for younger readers or those with sensitive stomachs. Out of five stars, Desperation by Stephen King gets three, mostly for being very memorable.