NEW YORK (NYTimes) - Stephen King's enthralling Under The Dome (2009) dreamed up a small town covered by an invisible, impermeable dome. It is one of his best books, drawing its terror from human nature, not from a voyage into fearsome fantasyland.
Now he and his son Owen have attempted something similar in Sleeping Beauties.
The strange situation is this: Women who fall asleep do not wake up.
There are no long, dreamy passages in italics here. That is the good news; the less happy news is that this co-authored book is sleepy in its own right.
It has a lot of characters, but very few spring to life, and many seem repetitive.
Without speculating on what the father-son writing process was like, it feels as though some kind of politesse kept this 700-page book from being usefully tightened.
Sleeping Beauties will inevitably wind up on the screen somehow.
Whoever adapts it will have to beef up the characters and deflect attention from the non-thrilling main theme.
Finally, this collaboration has produced some prose that the older guy's fans will find unrecognisable. He has been known to ramble but he is rarely vague.
The older King is newly 70 but still tapping into his inner demonic kid.
Neither King needed to contemplate such pointless imponderables as: "Had Evie come from the Tree? Or had the Tree come from Evie? And the women of Our Place - were they dreamers, or were they the dream?"