Welcome to episode 3 of King of the Dark, our special podcast series celebrating and exploring the worlds of Stephen King. Every week on this summer-long series we’re opening a different door in the haunted mansion of Stephen King’s imagination. This week on the program our regular guests Liz Braswell and Louis Peitzman join B&N’s Bill Tipper to talk about King’s 1979 novel The Dead Zone. It’s the story of Johnny Smith, whose strange clairvoyant abilities bring him into a confrontation with a threat to the fate of the entire world — a threat only he can perceive. We’ll talk about its political obsessions, including a cameo by a future U.S. President, the way it looks to nuclear war as the ultimate horror, and how it once again takes us into the territory of a classic horror short story.
We’re also joined by special guest Linda Holmes, the host of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour and author of the new novel Evvie Drake Starts Over: she dropped in to talk about her affection for Stephen King’s short stories, especially when he’s at his most “I wonder what would happen if…”
You can start with the beginning of King of the Dark with our episode on Carrie, or check out last week’s episode here. Or Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher to follow King of the Dark and hear fascinating author interviews from the B&N Podcast every week.
#1 national bestseller about a man who wakes up from a five-year coma able to see people’s futures and the terrible fate awaiting mankind in The Dead Zone—a “compulsive page-turner” (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution).
Johnny Smith awakens from a five-year coma after his car accident and discovers that he can see people’s futures and pasts when he touches them. Many consider his talent a gift; Johnny feels cursed. His fiancée married another man during his coma and people clamor for him to solve their problems.
When Johnny has a disturbing vision after he shakes the hand of an ambitious and amoral politician, he must decide if he should take drastic action to change the future. With “powerful tension that holds the reader to the story like a pin to a magnet” (The Houston Post), The Dead Zone is a “faultlessly paced…continuously engrossing” (Los Angeles Times) novel of second sight.
In a sleepy seaside town in Maine, recently widowed Eveleth “Evvie” Drake rarely leaves her large, painfully empty house nearly a year after her husband’s death in a car crash. Everyone in town, even her best friend, Andy, thinks grief keeps her locked inside, and Evvie doesn’t correct them.
Meanwhile, in New York City, Dean Tenney, former Major League pitcher and Andy’s childhood best friend, is wrestling with what miserable athletes living out their worst nightmares call the “yips”: he can’t throw straight anymore, and, even worse, he can’t figure out why. As the media storm heats up, an invitation from Andy to stay in Maine seems like the perfect chance to hit the reset button on Dean’s future.
When he moves into an apartment at the back of Evvie’s house, the two make a deal: Dean won’t ask about Evvie’s late husband, and Evvie won’t ask about Dean’s baseball career. Rules, though, have a funny way of being broken—and what starts as an unexpected friendship soon turns into something more. To move forward, Evvie and Dean will have to reckon with their pasts—the friendships they’ve damaged, the secrets they’ve kept—but in life, as in baseball, there’s always a chance—up until the last out.
A joyful, hilarious, and hope-filled debut, Evvie Drake Starts Over will have you cheering for the two most unlikely comebacks of the year—and will leave you wanting more from Linda Holmes.