It takes only 12 pages to get that this is going to be an apocalypse in the tradition of Kings classic „The Stand“ (which I really should read again, it must be 15 years ago). Enhanced with the current fear of biological mass destruction weapons, terrorism and chaos this virus doesn’t only kill people, it makes them killing zombies. The survivors get to call what happened „The Pulse“, but they can only speculate, what happened to all the people carrying cellphones when the incident took place.
Survivors Clay and Tom met directly after the pulse occured and stay together nearly until the end. Clay worries about his wife Sharon and his son Johnny while Tom only has his cat left which he is resilient to leave alone. They take care for young Alice and at a later stage for the boy Jordan who is a computer geek and seems to understand much more about the technical implications of the pulse.
„Nobody should have answered it“, Clay said. „We all would have been better off.“
„Ah, but who can resist a ringing phone“, Tom asked. „And there goes your ballgame.“
„Thus spake fuckin Zarathustra“, Clay said. Alice laughed until she cried.
In the end Clay finds his son Johnny. He didn’t get the original pulse but got into the conversion measures at a later stage. In the end Clay has to take the most difficult decision of his life.
A story about how humans react in difficult situations, how you can get together with people formerly unknown and stick with them in times of horror and fear. Stephen King himself doesn’t carry a cellphone.