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7 February 2016

The Tommyknockers
Stephen King 
GP Putnam's Sons
Publication Date
November 1987
horror, alien

Description (from Amazon)

Everything is familiar. But everything has changed.
Coming back to the little community is like walking into a nightmare for Jim Gardener, poet, drunk, potential suicide.
It all looks the same, the house, the furniture, Jim's friend Bobbi, her beagle (though ageing), even the woods out at the back.
But it was in the woods that Bobbi stumbled over the odd, part-buried object and felt a peculiar tingle as she brushed the soft earth away.
Everything is familiar. But everything is about to change.

My thoughts

King on best form here. 
He brings us (once more) to a small town in Maine called Haven. This is where Roberta 'Bobbi' Anderson lives on an inherited farm. In the first few chapters of the book, the story is set when Bobbi walks into the woods with her dog and sees a piece of metal sticking out of the forest grounds. Curious, she examines it and finds that it is much bigger then she initially thought (not a tin can!) and she starts digging around it.

 Almost straight away, she feels a compulsion to continue digging. But this is not the only change. She also seems to have strange abilities, being able to repair household items and invent things for example a type-writer who writes by purely her thoughts. Bobbi's friend James Gardner ('Gard'), an alcoholic and almost of the brink of suicide, visits her and starts digging with her, but he is unaffected from the changes happening as he has a large steel plate in his head, courtesy of a skiing accident in his youth.

As Bobbi and Gard continue to dig, the whole town starts to be effected. People not only become able to make objects work in strange ways, but can mind-read and will communicate with each other by mind only. The whole town changes and is 'becoming'. And it is getting weirder and weirder as the strange and alien force which inhibits the object in the woods is taking everything over. 

The book is separated in 3 parts. Part 1 deals with Bobbi and Gard, how Bobbi finds the object and a bit of a background story on Gard (great descriptions again here of the fallout of alcoholism). Part 2 introduces us to the people in town and what is happening to each of them. Part 3 is the conclusion and what's happening once the object is fully out of the ground. It also sees the 'resurrection' of Gard who spends the first 2 parts in a bit of a drunken stupor. 

I loved it, I never got bored and felt the story moves along nicely. There is a bit of a dip in the middle, but the middle deals with how people in town are effected and all the strange things they do, and that makes a very interesting read. The conclusion also left me satisfied. On a whole, what makes it scary is that it is actually a believable story. Even though King is talking Aliens here, it all takes place on our planet earth and happens to ordinary people.