I read this one once about twenty years ago, before King wrote his On Writing. Jessie Burlingame is dreading a weekend getaway where husband Gerald (he of the titular game) wants to indulge in some good ol’ fashioned bondage. He cuffs Jessie to the bed only to have her change her mind. When Gerald doesn’t quite get that no means no, she kicks him in the balls. Which triggers a heart attack.
The keys are on a table that Jessie can’t reach, and so she spends a miserable twenty-four hours trying to figure out how to escape now that her husband is dead. During that time, a starving stray dog wanders in and decides that hunks of Gerald will do nicely as a substitute for whatever he’s been getting in local trashcans. During the night, a freakish looking man with a bag of bones (not really a reference to the later King novel of the same name) comes in and basically scares the bejesus out of Jessie by simply staring at her and showing her the bones. In the meantime, the voices in Jessie’s head, really all aspects of her personality, start arguing with her over what to do about her predicament. To kill time, they also force her to relive a childhood trauma she tried to pretend never happened. All this serves to make Jessie reach a radical solution to her problem.
This book has a vaguely supernatural tie to Delores Claiborne, the follow-up to this novel, but it comes off as a fragment of a dream. The book has more in common with Misery, though this is not a rehash. This book has a rather cathartic feel to it, as though Jessie’s ordeal is a long-overdue intervention of sorts. It’s a suspense novel, not really a horror novel, in spite of the freakish nature of Jessie’s late night visitor.