Stephen King has made a triumphant return to the horror genre with “Cell”, in which he introduces the reader to Clayton Riddell. Clay is an artist who has come to Boston from Maine in order to pitch a comic book idea called “Dark Wanderer”.
The pitch is a success and it was a great day for Clay. He went and bought little souvenirs for Sharon, his wife whom he was recently separated from, and his 12 year old son Johnny. Still very excited, Clay can’t wait to call Sharon; however, as a school teacher she will not be available to talk until after school.
He didn’t want to sit and just wait in his lonely, dark hotel room until then as he didn’ t own a cell phone to call her. He decided to treat himself to an ice cream to help pass the time. As he is waiting in line to order his ice cream, Clay is noticing a couple of teenagers pressed upon one cell phone talking to a gal pal. In front of him another woman has a cell phone jammed to her ear, while she tries to control her cat-sized dog and order ice cream all at once. Then things got weird….
There was a man in the park who appeared to be biting off a dog’s ear, the woman in front of him tried to attack the ice cream truck driver, one of the teenagers then attacked the women who attacked the ice cream truck driver, and the other teenager didn’t know who she was or what was going on.
There were screams in the streets surrounding Clay, cars crashing, and people jumping out of buildings. Clay manages to get back to the hotel with a man, Tom, he encounters on the way. However, most of the people they see seem to be insane and completely out of control, attacking any living creature they can get their hands on. There at the hotel he meets a young teenager, Alice, whose mother tried to kill her in the back of a taxi.
Safely hidden in the hotel, it seems there is time to ponder what has happened. Why are these people acting this way? It seems the one common denominator among all the “crazies” were that they were talking on a cell phone when the incidents started to occur. Who would have done this? Terrorists? Is this another 911? How large of an area is affected by this problem? It all seems too insane and there seems to be no ways to find answers.
The land line phones are down, no radio or TV stations are broadcasting, and there are explosions throughout the city. If there are any police alive, they are busy trying to contain the situation, which is being handled by shoot first ask questions second. The best bet seems to be to head out of town. Clay is determined he needs to return home to see how Sharon and Johnny are. The trio begins to head north to find answers and hopefully more survivors.
Stephen King has written a truly suspenseful novel in “Cell”. It is a fast moving story full of captivating characters that will keep readers on the edge of their seat. He has found a new path for Armageddon to come to mankind. Not through a natural disaster or a holy wrath (??) but the most commonly used appliance of our day… the cell phone. There is one negative that can be mentioned about this book. The ending was very disappointing as it appears to have been left open for a sequel. Mr. King, hopefully, will not let this story end without the readers not knowing if things work out for the hero of the story and for the world left without means of mass communication.
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