Paperback edition Warner Books, Mar 1992
One major problem is that few of the children come truly alive as characters. The kids in this story aren't nearly as rag-tag as the Losers in It; one is a devout Catholic who loves assisting "Father C" - you know, the cool priest - with Mass, and another is well on his way to becoming an overly bookish intellectual. Other kids in their gang are weakly drawn, meek and mild kids whom you can't really keep straight because they're all such squares. Strictly dullsville. The other problem for me was Simmons's story is so normal and so middle-America I wasn't fearful for the characters or the town's safety; I was bored nearly to death by its banal, prosaic lifelessness. But on I trudged, on past repetitive chase scenes and descriptions of summer evenings and fields of corn and gravel roads. Kids on bikes bug the fuck outta me, why do I wanna read an entire 600-page novel about 'em?
Father C's smile continued to broaden, pulling back to show his back teeth, broadening further until it seemed the man's face would snap in half as if on a hinge. The impossible mouth opened wide and Mike saw more teeth - rows and rows of teeth, endless lines of white that seemed to recede down the thing's gullet...
There were lamprey-like creatures burrowing beneath cornfields, chasing folks, in some cinematic sequences, cool, okay, but these scenes weren't anything fresh, almost rehashes of Tremors. Scenes of characters investigating historical documents and ancient tomes to determine the true nature of their adversary is an aspect of horror fiction near and dear to my heart, but here it seems by-the-numbers. The bookish kid, Duane, tries to learn about the Borgia Bell, supposedly hidden inside the public school's bell tower, and which may have supernatural properties, the well from which the horror springs. This simply did nothing for me, sounding more like a droning history lecture in a stuffy classroom.