That damned Stephen King. This reporter had been wanting to read his book about the JFK hit for a long time, but when he started reading it, he thought, "Boy, he's really lost his mojo, this one hardly even does the trick, I might not even keep -" but before your reporter knew it, he was hooked. Well, he wasn’t loving it or anything, but he was barely in and already he felt obligated to keep going. The book starts slow, but barely a hundred pages in, after being tapped by his time traveling local diner patriarch, the protagonist, an adult education English teacher, is just about to go back in time and try to prevent the janitor's father from killing everyone with a hammer, so your reporter was like, hmmm well, let's see what happens with that King definitely understands how to hook the reader's attention, but your reporter still wasn’t completely invested. It felt like a trick . . . but your reporter knew King came out of that pulp tradition, so it' was really more of a deliberate mannerism than a trick. I shouldn't curse the guy, your reporter (an aspiring writer himself) realized, he's figured something out.
Thirty or forty more pages, and now King's really got your reporter, working in off-handed references to the evil vehicle from one previous smash (Christine) and even brief interactions with characters from yet another book of his (IT) when the protag visits their setting of all places (Derry, Maine—Is that a real town?) to prove he can change the future. Your reporter gets the feeling Stephen King is a “made” writer after all these years of success and perhaps gives his imagination more free reign in a way now. 11/22/63 may be seen as the culminative episode of the author's personalized Weird Maine Wonderland he's created over a span of books, and somehow it involves the JFK assassination too. We haven't even got there yet, stil mucking around in Weird Maine Wonderland of Stephen King Horro World Fantasy. And this reporter bets there will be more such references along the way, and if so, that would be good - otherwise, it might lack balance. Starting to get good, but King's playing high stakes poker with the reader's anticipation. Still—King’s one of the top writers in the game, writing about some heavy stuff this time. Together we'll find out if he can do it.
I’ve been a reader of King’s work since late childhood, and haven’t pursued his career uin several years. Word on the street was he was slipping, soon to be replaced by his son, Joe Hill (pen name) as thye new “King of Horror.” That said, he did it again with 11/22/63. Not without reframing readers’ expectations via three or four wildly inventive nay comprehensive plot twists involving the nature of time and space which brought to bear inestimabvly on my own notions of karma and cause and effect. In closing let me say: this is highly recommended by myself.