Hi EM, and no it's not gory. I guess it depends on what you classify as gore. I can say that there is some violence, but overall I would not say it's wrought with the 'gore' you are trying to avoid. :) Hope that helps.
Long time reader. Read the book in a hot three days. First third of the book was fantastic, but King has a rep lately of cooling off in the second half of his books. Could he edit a bit more? Yes. Easily 100 or more pages could have cut out of the 850 ish pages to make it leaner (I actually like most of the extra stuff; you learn more about the author that way and I'm not talking about the political views; as someone said earlier, he's more about being thoughtful about people, not so much about a party (he certainly is a Democrat, but as a Middle of the Road guy, it doesn't bug me in the least how he writes his stories)). As feared, the second half of the book drags a little as there's a built in lull, but the last hundredish pages flies by. And, for the first time I can remember in easily five or six years (including the Dark Tower, and I don't even want to talk about that), a very satisfying ending. Yeah, the premise is not so creative, but actually, it's the second or third priority for King here. I'm afraid if I go any farther, there's spoilers, so I'll stop here and highly recommend the book. King holds serve with his stereotypical strengths but creeps forward even more strongly with writing about relationships and the natural rather than than the supernatural.
Em, you are welcome. There definitely is not the Saw element here. I'm not sure what other King stories you might have read, but I always recommend "The Dead Zone", which has a plot somewhat similar to this one, only traveling the other way in time. Still one of my favorites. Hope Santa delivers for you! :)
Your suspicion would have been proven wrong. JFK's last executive order, 263, began withdrawal from Viet Nam. Had he lived, the 'war' would have been over in 1965 and 58,000 American lives would have been saved. Read James W. Douglass' brilliant "JFK and the Unspeakable" for some real history.
I like him a lot too and have read most of his books, not caring for the Dark Tower books, but otherwise some really good books. However, the past few novels have been very disappointing to me, starting about the time of Lisey's Story I think. I hope he gets back to the quality of The Shining, Salem's Lot, Pet Semetary, Cujo, Insomnia, It, etc.
The newspaper lady in Under The Dome was a Republican, but the lead still fell in love with her. The lead in 11/22/63 falls in love with a woman, who didn't vote for Kennedy. So, he isn't tolerant??
Now, take Dean Koontz. In his older works his political side didn't shine through (not so much that I picked up on them, anyway) but now he's gone in a totally different direction, spewing right wing ideas right and left (hee hee) and basically saying that all left-wingers are mad, homicidal, sexually twisted and so on. He is NOT in the least being tolerant, in one of his Frankenstein books, he even had one character indirectly say, that it was no biggie whether the polar bears were saved or not (in a talk about global warming, which mr Koontz thinks is a conspiracy).
I agree with you about Koontz. I used to be an avid reader of his (like King), but then his novels all became about the same sort of government conspiracy. In every book, the government was conspiring against people. Frankly, it got boring.