It's taken a few days to really get going but I'm now completely hooked by Hearts In Atlantis having got to the one-third mark. Not that there's anything wrong with the slow build of the tale. In normal circumstances I would have found it difficult to put down from the first page, but even post-production things have been very busy and I've had no choice but to read in snatches, usually just before nodding off into an exhausted sleep.
Is this King on top form? Not quite, I'd say, but definitely at the top of his second division stuff, which is miles above most best-selling writers. All the episodes dealing with Bobby (the young protagonist) and his mom are out of the top drawer, beautifully - so far, at least - dove-tailed into the mystery element of the story. The segment in which Bobby asks her for some money so he can go with his friend to the beach at Savin Rock is so quietly disquieting and honest to the pain of the realisation that parents are less than perfect as to match anything else I've read in modern American fiction.
I came across something a while ago - can't recall where - claiming that King was the kind of best-selling writer who dies from memory within a generation, leaving readers of the future to wonder what all the fuss was about in an almost embarrassed fashion, the kind who cannot transcend the local concerns of his period. Possibly so, but I'm mighty glad I was around as his contemporary and got to escape into his world, learning a lot about my world in the process.