Picks and Pans Review: Christine

updated 04/25/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/25/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Stephen King

A pimple-faced teenager who has just gotten his driver's license falls in love with a 20-year-old Plymouth Fury. Despite the advice of his parents and his best friend, who is the narrator of this horror yarn, the boy buys the old car. Pretty soon it becomes clear that this particular auto is a lethal weapon, controlled supernaturally by its evil previous owner. The vehicle, which has a knack for renewing itself (the odometer begins to run backward), is named Christine. It soon begins to take possession of its new owner too. The book occasionally is scary, King's plots are satisfyingly intricate and once or twice he has a character make an interesting comment, such as, "Has it ever occurred to you that parents are nothing but overgrown kids until their children drag them into adulthood?" This is, however, essentially a short story's worth of substance stretched over 526 pages. It's also not a novel for the querulous reader. Why, for instance, doesn't it occur to anyone that Christine would be helpless if no one put any gas in her tank? (Viking, $16.95)

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