When I was in high school, I went through a major Stephen King phase. He was the only author I would read, and I didn't stop until I'd read every thing he wrote (up to "The Green Mile"). That was a few years ago, and recently I was in the mood to come back to him and do some catch up with the things he's written since. I read "Desperation" and I'm currently in the middle of its sister book "The Regulators," and while I enjoyed "Desperation," I do have to admit that I've outgrown King somewhat. I don't know if he's gotten worse as a writer, or whether he's always written like this and I'm just remembering him from a different perspective, but his writing is just so SLOPPY. I feel like there's no tightness to it at all; it's like a really fatty piece of meat---there are good parts, but you have to cut around all of the inedible portions to get to them.
He builds some nice effective creepy dread in the novel's first half, but by the time it's over, it's not really scary anymore. I admit that I was pretty hooked for the whole thing and did my share of page turning, but the whole time I was reading I was aware that I was reading schlock well below my reading level, and King's writing never affected me like that before. I know that sounds pompous, and I really don't mean it to, but it's just the honest truth. He really belongs in the same class as John Grisham, except he's got more imagination in his thumbnail than Grisham has in his entire body. After I finish "The Regulators" I think my Stephen King craving will be satisfied for some time to come.