Book Review


By Denebola
Published: October 2007
By Christos TikelisSadly, I have fallen out of the great reading habits I had when I was younger. It’s embarrassing. Back in Peace Corps I read a novel or two a week. No cable and few distractions of modern life made for great thinking and great reading.
But I have been reading some Stephen King short stories. One in particular piqued my attention as a mystery/suspense story. “In the Deathroom reminds me of the old television show Alfred Hitchcock Presents and the Roald Dahl stories on which most of the better episodes are based: they’re icons of a simpler black-and-white age of storytelling.
The story starts in a deathroom, or room of death if you prefer, in South America. An American reporter is about to get tortured for information he may or may not have on rebel activities. While he’s tortured, the reader has to wonder why he is involved in the political affairs of these strangers. When this is discovered, he escapes.
The story doesn’t have a lot of deep meaning. There’s no surprise twist at the end. But the palpable tension before the onslaught of pain makes for a suspenseful story. It’s a simple story but in that simplicity it enjoys a common understanding with anyone who reads it. The scene is tight in that tiny deathroom. The restricted movements, the few characters, and that one horrible machine are so simply rendered that the reader can put himself there. The story flows quickly with sharp jabs of action and ends in a quiet epilogue, resonating as one of the best parts of the book.

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