Cell: A Novel


From Powell’s Books:

In the past, Stephen King has scared us with dead cats and rabid dogs, killer clowns and killer flus, sinister government agents, homicidal Plymouths and otherworldly Buicks, schoolyard bullies and strange men in yellow raincoats. And now, with Cell, the zombie has shambled to the front of the queue, as might have been expected. What no one could have anticipated, however, was that the zombie would be clutching a cell phone.

King’s new novel opens with a young comic book artist named Clay Riddell strolling happily down Boylston Street in Boston, swinging his portfolio in one hand. Clay has just sold his graphic novel “Dark Wanderer” to Dark Horse Comics, and he is pretty pleased about it. He stops at a Mister Softee truck to treat himself to an ice cream in celebration, lining up behind a pair of teenage girls and a woman with a poodle. The girls are sharing a cell phone as they wait, and the woman with the poodle is talking on her own. Clay does not own a cell phone. That’s what saves him when “the pulse” comes crackling through the cell towers.

The woman closes her phone and tries to climb through the window of the Mister Softee truck to tear out the ice cream vendor’s throat. When she fails, one of the girls rips out her throat instead, while the other backs away, half-mad and muttering. The poodle is run over by a careening limo, and down the block a businessman bites the ear off a Labrador. Clay doesn’t understand what is happening, though he knows it is nothing good. We’re a little ahead of him. We know that all the cell phone users in Boston, and maybe the world, have suddenly been transformed into crazed, carnivorous zombies.

More here.