Author: Stephen King, Peter Straub
Following Jack Sawyer’s adventures in The Talisman, which is a King/Straub production almost bent toward a teen audience, we get another dark dive into The Territories, this time with an adult Jack, and with a decidedly adult feel. This is more serial killer/police work/thriller plot set in a Dark Tower universe, but with enough King base-set to make fans happy, while, I think, also reaching out to a new audiences. Basically, this pairing works because we have two excellent worlds & works colliding to form one original construction, and that always benefits the audience.
Jack is now grown up, was a detective in Los Angeles, moves to the Midwest for some quiet, and has mostly purposefully forgotten his Territories past; his mother’s Twinner, the Talisman, his own encounters and adventures, that strange place where so much is familiar but at the same time so different. But it’s not time to move on completely just yet; there’s one more job to do. A killer is on the loose, targeting special children, and he won’t stop until he’s found the one who can help his twisted master in his evil plot to destroy the Dark Tower. Jack will need to remember his past, as well as use his current skills, in order to save not just one world, but so many more than this.
Black House, like Talisman, definitely feels like two men writing one book, but it works here in a very specific way, because we are reading two stories at once; tracking down the killer and taking care of the town, but also flipping to another world and trying to understand how everything is connected. So we can enjoy thrills, horror, and fantasy, all in one, which is never too shabby. King & Straub create a multitude of bizarre and complicated characters, they weave their intentions together so seamlessly, and we are given a book full of so much intensity that we find ourselves needing to take breaks to breathe quite often. It’s gruesome, it’s magical, it’s cool in the best ways; Black House is a solid bit of Dark Tower lore and a strong novel all on its own.
My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆