Johnny, the small boy who skated at breakneck speed into an accident that for one horrifying moment plunged him into The Dead Zone. Johnny Smith, the small-town schoolteacher who spun the wheel of fortune and won a four-and-a-half-year trip into The Dead Zone. John Smith, who awakened from an interminable coma with an accursed power—the power to see the future and the terrible fate awaiting mankind in The Dead Zone.
This is a bit of a slow burn of a story – beginning with a childhood accident and a fluke premonition and moving to the perspective of Sarah, a teacher in her early twenties as she prepares to go on a date with her becoming-steady boyfriend, Johnny Smith. Johnny then spends a fair portion of the novel in a coma, as we learn about Sarah’s life and that of Greg Stillson, an up-and-coming radical politician. We also get snippets of seemingly unrelated occurrences, acting much like premonitions themselves as they come into play much later in the novel. It’s after Johnny wakes up that a lot of action really starts happening.
The Dead Zone is a great example showing that Stephen King is not all about in-your-face horror, as he is best known. That being said, there are plenty of horrific scenarios that occur throughout the book, some even more horrific than a clown in a storm drain, believe it or not.