I loved Stephen King before it was cool to love Stephen King. I've ridden this roller coaster from _Carrie_ to the present. There have been high points, and there have been low points, but like any charter member of the "constant reader" club, I stay strapped in, waiting for the next big hill. _The Gingerbread Girl_ isn't it.
This is a short novel of a young woman, Em, who takes up running after the loss of a child. Once again, Stephen King excels at creating believable and fleshed-out characters, but once again it falls short on the "horror factor". This novel is very similar to _Lizey's Story_, another woman who is pursued by a psycho following the unexpected death of a loved one. At one point, and sadly, only one, when said psycho begins speaking to an invisible accomplice, and it looks like we're going to get a touch of _Blaze_ blended in as well. It looks like we're going to have a psycho who isn't just nuts. However, like the demon in the closet early in _Cujo_, Psycho's inner voice is never referred to again, the haunting presence as well as a wonderful opportunity to kick the horror up a notch, is discarded.
<rant mode on>
Not to be prudish, but while I understand the need for colorful language in dialogue, because that's just the way some people speak, I am really at a loss why a description of a setting needs the same treatment. It seems lazy. Like the right word is out there somewhere, but this one will do.
<rant mode off>
That being said, King is still capable of occasionally leaving you speechless. "Donning wax wings on a sunny day" is masterful writing, and there are jewels like this peppered throughout the novel. He can make you laugh or cry or scare the "hoohaa" out of you. It's just been such a long time since he's done the latter. It's a good story, and he does a good job telling it, but if you want to read great Stephen King, pick up _It_ or _The Stand_.