The Institute is a supernatural thriller written by Stephen King. The novel begins with a former cop arriving in a small South Carolina town and taking a job as a night knocker for a while. In the meantime, a young genius named Luke Ellis is kidnapped and taken to a mysterious place called the Institute where he meets other children snatched from their homes. Luke soon leans that a nameless group is collecting children with psychic abilities and performing experiments on them to prepare them for a top secret task. He is even more distressed to realize that his parents were murdered. The other children warn him of his eventual move to something called the Back Half. Luke starts to realize that he should start planning an escape before he is taken to the deeper recesses of the Institute.
As usual, King manages to create some compelling characters here. I am not sure I could buy into all aspects of the story here, but that is often the risks in works of this genre. Anyway, the book was reasonably enjoyable. There were quite a few suspenseful moments and even one or two twists. I think I had a hard time visualizing a twelve year-old being as crafty as Luke. The dialogue didn’t quite match what I would imagine kids in that situation sounding, so that was a little distracting. Also, this felt pretty long at times. King is still obviously a talented writer, so it wasn’t too laborious of a read overall. The most reliable aspect of Stephen King works is that I have yet to come across one that I felt was just terrible. The Institute can drag a little sometimes, but it still leaves enough to encourage some persistence. The novel turned out to be pretty good for the most part, but I have enjoyed others in the Stephen King collection more.
The unending journey into literary escapism continues with Amor Towles as he takes us along The Lincoln Highway.