Picks and Pans Review: Firestarter

updated 11/24/1980 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/24/1980 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Stephen King

No wonder this novel, by the author of The Shining, topped the best-seller lists as soon as it was published. King injects the supernatural into the everyday world so expertly the reader accepts made-up words like pyrokinesis (the ability to set an object on fire merely by willing it) as if they were used all the time. His characters are normal people blessed—or is it cursed?—with extraordinary powers. Outlining King's plots is a disservice, but in Firestarter two college students develop extrasensory capabilities in a hallucinogenic drug experiment. When they produce a child, she starts fires—pyrokinetically. Ridiculous? In King's dexterous hands, it's as real as today's headlines. And more fun to read. (Viking, $ 13.95)

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