Cell: A Novel

Cell: A Novel

by Stephen King

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Media Tie-In)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501122248
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication date: 06/21/2016
Edition description: Media Tie-In
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 192,754
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes The Outsider, Sleeping Beauties (cowritten with his son Owen King), the short story collection The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, the Bill Hodges trilogy End of Watch, Finders Keepers, and Mr. Mercedes (an Edgar Award winner for Best Novel and now an AT&T Audience Network original television series), Doctor Sleep, and Under the Dome. His novel 11/22/63—a Hulu original television series event—was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller. His epic works The Dark Tower and It are the basis for major motion pictures, with It now the highest grossing horror film of all time. He is the recipient of the 2018 PEN America Literary Service Award, the 2014 National Medal of Arts, and the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.


Bangor, Maine

Date of Birth:

September 21, 1947

Place of Birth:

Portland, Maine


B.S., University of Maine at Orono, 1970

Read an Excerpt

The event that came to be known as The Pulse began at 3:03 p.m., eastern standard time, on the afternoon of October 1. The term was a misnomer, of course, but within ten hours of the event, most of the scientists capable of pointing this out were either dead or insane. The name hardly mattered, in any case. What mattered was the effect.

At three o’clock on that day, a young man of no particular importance to history came walking—almost bouncing—east along Boylston Street in Boston. His name was Clayton Riddell. There was an expression of undoubted contentment on his face to go along with the spring in his step. From his left hand there swung the handles of an artist’s portfolio, the kind that closes and latches to make a traveling case. Twined around the fingers of his right hand was the drawstring of a brown plastic shopping bag with the words small treasures printed on it for anyone who cared to read them.

Inside the bag, swinging back and forth, was a small round object. A present, you might have guessed, and you would have been right. You might further have guessed that this Clayton Riddell was a young man seeking to commemorate some small (or perhaps even not so small) victory with a small treasure, and you would have been right again. The item inside the bag was a rather expensive glass paperweight with a gray haze of dandelion fluff caught in its center. He had bought it on his walk back from the Copley Square Hotel to the much humbler Atlantic Avenue Inn where he was staying, frightened by the ninety-dollar pricetag on the paperweight’s base, somehow even more frightened by the realization that he could now afford such a thing.

Handing his credit card over to the clerk had taken almost physical courage. He doubted if he could have done it if the paperweight had been for himself; he would have muttered something about having changed his mind and scuttled out of the shop. But it was for Sharon. Sharon liked such things, and she still liked him—I’m pulling for you, baby, she’d said the day before he left for Boston. Considering the shit they’d put each other through over the last year, that had touched him. Now he wanted to touch her, if that was still possible. The paperweight was a small thing (a small treasure), but he was sure she’d love that delicate gray haze deep down in the middle of the glass, like a pocket fog.

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Cell 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 682 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
First off, I've never been so glad that I don't own a cell phone! Secondly, Stephen King has penned another gruesome winner, going back to his days of blood and gore. CELL starts off with the Pulse, where everyone who owns a cell phone answers a call and subsequently goes psycho. Back to their basic days of kill or be killed, these are slobbery creatures with no morals, emotions, or human qualities besides the desire to destroy.

Enter Clayton Riddell, a man happy to have never given in to the need to purchase a cell phone, who watches the people on the street of Boston go murderous. He hooks up with Tom, another "normie" and Alice, who watched her mother go crazy and kill a cab-driver, to escape the city. Clay is heading home to Kent's Pond, Maine, to check on the well-being of his estranged wife, Sharon (who doesn't own a cell phone) and his son Johnny (who does).

What follows is the groups trials and trevails as they're inevitably pushed towards Kashwak, the NO-FO zone. You'll have to read CELL to figure out what this means, but believe me, it's well worth your time and effort!

Stephen King has returned to his days of blood and gore, guts and more blood, and the result is a winner. If you love horror, or King in particular, you won't go wrong picking up a copy of this latest winner.
Book_Reader_222 More than 1 year ago
(Originally written February 20, 2006) I am not the world's biggest Stephen King fan. Nor am I a fan of the zombie genre (what could be less scary than a monster whom you can escape with a fast walk?). So when a friend of my son's insisted that I borrow his copy of "Cell," I was humoring the young man more than anything else. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised. This story is brisk and gripping, and not bogged down with a lot of the overly heavy details to which King is often prone. It is also shorter than many of his opuses, which pleased me. But most importantly: This is NOT a zombie novel! Sure, the victims of the Pulse share many of the violent characteristics of zombies, but like the movie "28 Days Later," they are more like RABIES victims than the undead. And that's just the beginning. They quickly begin evolving as a group, making them more and more interesting than "regular" zombies with each page. I was a HUGE fan of Richard Matheson's "I Am Legend" from all those years ago, and was disappointed to see the theme "devolve" into the zombies we are familiar with today. So it was nice to see King return the genre to the greater potential it once had with Matheson's vampires. My biggest complaint would lie in the ENDING. As other reviewers have commented, the book feels incomplete. With Gary Brandner's "The Howling," I felt that we were missing an epilogue - in "Cell," I felt as though I were missing an entire final chapter, maybe TWO. Is King planning a sequel to "Cell?" I hope so; I will read it. As it stands ... But again, overall, I was pleasantly surprised by this book, and I would recommend this book to fans of "I Am Legend," "28 Days Later," and (to a lesser degree) the "Dawn of the Dead" 2004 remake. If you are a hard core fan of the George A. Romero zombie genre, you probably won't like it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was great. Don't listen to those idiotic losers that say this book was bad. It was amazing. Although the ending does leave you hanging, it was sooo good! Im only thirteen and ive read the mist, the shining, carrie, pet semetary, cell, salems lot, misery, and the girl who loved tom gordon. My favorite, after the shining, is cell! It was sad at one point, when _____________ dies, but it kept going and got really good. I looooooved it sooooooooo freakin much! SK ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! TEE-HEE.
blah-blah-blah More than 1 year ago
Title: Cell Author: Stephen King Genre: Horror Novel Pages: 480 Cell starts out with a wallop it is hard to put down for several of the chapters you want to keep reading to see what happens next. Clay Riddell is an aspiring comic book writer from Maine that traveled to Boston to land a career in a graphic novel deal. During his trip tragedy strikes the human population. Someone has sent a signal (pulse) through cell phones that cause people that hear it to go insane. It takes less than a second and everyone that had a cell phone to there ear has gone mad and is either trying to kill someone standing near them or themselves. Since Clay doesn't own a cell phone he is okay though. But he has been pretty lucky because these people strike without warning and randomly. It is a very small group that doesn't own a cell phone. Clay comes across a man named Tom whose phone happened to get broken that morning and a girl named Alice that saw her mother go crazy over the phones tone. Clay thinks about his son that is on the other side of Boston and fears that the tone may have got to his son. So he needs to get to him to see if his son is dead or insane, or even got a lucky break like his dad. Most of the roads are blocked because people crashed their cars because they went insane so the three of them had to travel by foot. The people they encounter were in like zombie like states and exhibiting strange behavior. These zombie like people also known as Phoners are trying to stop Clay and the other 2 from reaching his son. Clay is determined to reach is son and will do anything in his power to stop the zombies. I have read several of Stephen King's books and this is one of his best and keeps you wanting to turn to the next page. Another one of his books I enjoyed was The Mist. He is a master at horror books and keeps you guessing and wanting more. It is hard to put down once you start reading it late into the night. King makes you fear technology after you read the book Cell that all the gadgets that we count on in our everyday life and take for grant might someday overwhelm us. We are so hooked on technology we never take into consideration there might be a dark side to it also. I enjoyed the book by page eight catastrophe had broke loose. and it never let up from there it was action packed. The only thing that could have been better was the ending King could have ended it differently instead of leaving you wondering if there will be a sequel. I guess if he did continue on though the book could have end up being possibly 900 pages or more because he would have had to go on for quite a while.
Sanders More than 1 year ago
Cell is about the survival of humanity from the devastating pulse. I will not summarize the whole book because I do not want to spoil the whole thing. I am over all very impressed with my first Stephen King Novel. His descriptions of events and characters are great. His writing style/language is a masterpiece of its own. He is a passionate writer that will get involved with the characters; you will become extremely close with Clay and his companions. The only objection I have to King's style is the language. I did not expect to see bad language blasted on every other page. It's small and ignorable, and certainly does not take away from the book. Cell was a bit confusing at times, but all the questions can be answered if you read carefully; all but one at least. Who started the pulse and why? I could not figure that out and I don't believe you can just from the reading. Maybe I'm wrong, and hopefully I will figure it out. Cell also could have been 100 pages longer, but the ending was satisfying. This books was great. I'm sad that it is over because I want to know what happens next with Clay and his friends. I can't wait to start my next Stephen King novel. You will not regret readings this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beyond Good.
Jamie28 More than 1 year ago
I myself can sometimes find Stephen King to be a bit overanalytical and lengthy in his descriptions of situations and people, but this book got right to the action and you could almost feel as if you were a part of this disaster itself. I found myself deeply bonded with each character- Clay, the levelheaded caretaker of his new companions, driven by a paternal instinct to save his son; Tom, the timid, introverted sweetheart, and Alice, the very epitome of innocence in a world gone so chaotic. I read this book in about 3 weeks flat. I just couldn't put it down. I have to say it is one of the only horror stories to disturb me outside of the pages. I will say that I did get a little lost as to what exactly was happening at several points in the novel, however, I find that this is a typical characteristic of King's writing. This story will captivate you from the very first page, break your heart several times, and horrify you to the core... and will undoubtedly make you think twice about picking up a cell phone.
nprfan1 More than 1 year ago
This is Stephen King's second foray into the realm of science fiction; the first being "The Tommyknockers". Sad to say, "Cell" is nowhere near as good as that - but it's still better than 99% of the so-called horror novels currently in print. And King's prose style has definitely matured here; in spite of the gore (and be warned, there is PLENTY of gore) "Cell" is an extremely well-written book about the dangers of the modern world as seen by the master of the modern horror novel.

Clay Riddell is in Boston trying to sell his comic art so he and his wife and son can live their lives in comfort. He apparently succeeds beyond his wildest dreams, but unfortunately he doesn't get a chance to enjoy his new life or to tell anyone about it - because that's when the phenomenon known as The Pulse occurs and drives mad anyone who listens to a cell phone, which these days is most of the world's population.

Actually, it doesn't really drive cell owners mad, but to say what it does do would be to spoil the plot and remove your interest in buying this book.

As I said before, this is not one of King's better efforts. He writes extremely well here, but he seems to be going more for the print equivalent of the Freddy Kreuger and "Friday the 13th" movies. There's actually very little of the horror we've come to expect from Stephen King in this book. But as I also said, this is still better than most of the other books on the horror shelves - and on that basis I give it a four-star rating.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a recent reader of King, I found this novel to not be worth the hype of the author. Luckily, I believe in second chances. The concept of the end of the world through a techno-terrorist act is unusual and draws the reader in, but after the initial disaster-zone, the suspense is lost. There are several lulls of boring explanation and no action. After Clay, Tom, and Alice meet up with Jordan and the Head, their discussions bring adventure (especially when they decide the phone-crazies must be dealt with). One thing that interested me was how the reader never knows what really happened. Was it a terrorist, or some kid with a super-computer? How exactly did the phone-crazies evolve? Was it really a glitch, or did they purposely become telepaths and levitators? These questions were what kept me reading¿ along with the great characters. Clay, the main character by far, gives off an older brother vibe. His desperation to find his wife and son make him a likable character with relatable emotions. He is, however, unrealistic and hopeful. Alice, the only female and a teenager at that, is hysterical most of the novel which is understandable, but stereotypical. The constant presence of the baby sneaker adds to her personality and femininity. Her unfortunate end is certainly not expected and, in my view, unnecessary to the development of the novel. Tom is the character that is not quite needed, but must be in every novel. He mostly makes Clay look good, but he is one of my favorite characters. The reader has no idea in the beginning that Tom and Clay stick together through it all, creating a Batman-and-Robin bond between them. The overall concept of this novel was great and original, but written with both ups and downs. Chaos out of an American staple is ironic and a great example of King¿s dark humor. This is a novel that must be read by his fans, just as long as it¿s not their first.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you love Stephen King be ready for another classic. Although this may not have been one of King's best writings this is still a very written gruesome book as expected by Stephen King. Although the novel ends with him leaving the audience on a cliff-hanger, which I hate, the book was a really good read. If you are a Stephen King fan I would say this is one of my favorite of his books. Highly recommend for teenagers and young adults. King shows us in this book what type of future we are all headed to if we continue on the path we are on right now. I am a hug fan of "I Am Legend" which is a extremely similar apocalyptic horror. However I would recommend "Cell", the novel, because it is much better written and also it has a more intriguing plot line. However, "I Am Legend" with Will Smith was a better movie than "Cell". Stephen King has better books out there but this is still one of the better books on the horror shelf in your local library. For the world to end by some techno-terrorist is interesting which is what lured me into reading the book.I enjoyed the book because of Stephen King's writing style, which is why I enjoy his other books as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book plays with your mind. It puts you right into the story, and takes you on a journy to hell on Earth. From page one to the end, a nonstop rollercoaster of emotions. I will never look at a cell phone the same way again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good read !!!!!
devoutman More than 1 year ago
Cell is a good read. I enjoyed it all the way through.
SRTigger More than 1 year ago
Stephen King is the best writer around. I will never tire of his books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this when it first came out and it is one of his best. I read it cover to cover in one day because I could NOT put it down except for long enough to make a quick sandwich. I remembered when I saw the title.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put it down. I have recommended it to several friends! One of my favorite Stephen King books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
well worth reading!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was my very first novel by the great stephen king and now im hooked. It has its slow momments but, for the most part its very fast pace. If you enjoyed this book try out the gunslinger.
gbautista72 More than 1 year ago
Stephen King is always good! This book was exciting and suspenseful at times. It did remind me of World War Z & The Walking Dead. It does make you wonder if it can happen & how susceptible we are to subliminal messages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book. One of my favorite stephen king books
Eric_J_Guignard More than 1 year ago
The idea of this story was interesting, but it just fell short in its execution. The ending, especially, was such a let-down, just a "cliff-hanger" which is inexcusable when investing in a long novel. Stephen King is my favorite horror author - I love his classics, but not everything he writes can be a masterpiece, I suppose. It somebody else wrote this book, I would give it three stars, but I only give this two stars because I expect much more from King.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While the idea of this story was interesting, I was completely disappointed by the ending of this book. It felt like he was bored with writing it and basically threw together an ending just to finish.
severina on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Well. Stephen King already wrote one "end of the world" story with The Stand, which is usually in the Top 2 of Fave King Books amongst his fans... I'd have said it was the clear favourite, but since The Dark Tower series has been completed, Roland and the gang get lots of votes. Anyway, I was hoping for 'that' King, you know... the one who writes characters that are so believable that they almost step off the page. The one who can write pages of back-story and none of it seems irrelevant. The one where every character has a chance to tell the story, whether the POV switches or not. Maybe King already told the story he wanted to tell with The Stand, and then again with The Mist, because "Cell" reads sort of like a novella that's been stretched too long. It's like he had this great idea about society's reliance on cell phones and modern technology... it's almost like you can feel him straining to expand on that, to give it some relevance, but he's left with only half-finished ideas. And maybe even *that* is because our protagonists are left to guess at the reasons why things are happening so much... and even though their guesses are often correct, there's still a dozen different things that, at least in my mind, do not make sense... even from a "bad programming" standpoint. I did like the book. The little moments that are scattered throughout the book felt real -- Tom worrying about his cat; Clay recognizing his wife by the blouse she is wearing, and the sense/touch memories it calls up to his mind. And so do some of the big moments -- I was particularly drawn to Jordan and his end of the novel bravery. I guess I just hoped for something more.
rphbamf on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Cell by Stephen King. When I heard that Stephen King was writing a book about zombies, I was excited. When I heard that the cause of the zombies was cell phones, I was still excited. After finishing the book, I'm disappointed. I really liked the book, dont get me wrong. But I find that I like my zombie stories to have hordes of the walking dead, risen from death, being dispatched by ill-equipped survivors. Cell really didnt have that. In its place, is a kinda hokey supernatural filler. I wont ruin anything though.
jenny71 on LibraryThing 3 months ago
stephen king phones it in. not an objectively bad book, but we've come to expect more from the first name in creepiness.