If John F Kennedy hadn’t been shot dead on 22 November, 1963, would he have continued to be the golden boy of American politics leading his people to a brighter, fairer, happier future? Or more significantly, what wouldn’t have happened? The killing of Martin Luther King Jr? Watergate? The fall of the Soviet Union? 9/11?
These questions are posed by Stephen King’s new 700-page novel 11/22/63 — which has already been optioned for a film by Jonathan Demme. It follows Jake, a divorcee from Lisbon Falls, Maine (where King went to high school), who finds a portal in an old diner that will take him back to 1958, just in time to work out how to try and stop the Dallas assassin lining up JFK.
The book takes a while to grind into gear but when the plot really kicks in, as the hero homes in on his supposed prey and the edges of the time portal fray and unravel, you know you’re in the hands of a master.
11/22/63 by Stephen King is out now (Hodder & Stoughton)