PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 December, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 17 December, 2006, 12:00am


by Stephen King

Hodder, HK$112

Trust Stephen King to come out of retirement with a gore-spattered tale so horrifically over the top it recalls the kind of comic book carnage one can't look at without flinching. Take his description of a victim in Cell whose head is mostly gristle when she's found: 'Her right eye had drifted into the upper orbit of its socket, as if she had died trying to look into her own head.' The woman is just one of many who succumb to a 'pulse' being transmitted via mobile phone that renders people suicidal or uncontrollably violent. Only those eschewing such technology (King acknowledges he is one of them) are spared the virus, although they are tailed by so-called zombie phoners who develop a curious 'flocking' behaviour in their attempt to herd the Luddites together. Leading a group of survivors out of Boston - where the bloodshed starts without warning - is illustrator Clayton Riddell, who must find his son before the boy answers his phone. Readers would be forgiven for thinking of Japanese horror flick Ringu, although King's technophobic premise is more shocking. Doubters must read the ending.



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