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Gerald and Jessie Burlingame have gone to their summer home on a warm weekday in October for a romantic interlude. After being handcuffed to her bedposts, Jessie tires of her husband's games, but when Gerald refuses to stop she lashes out at him with deadly consequences. Still handcuffed, she is trapped and alone. Painful memories from her childhood bedevil her. Her only company is a hungry stray dog and the sundry voices that populate her mind. As night comes, she is unsure whether it is her imagination or if she has another companion: someone watching her from the corner of her dark bedroom.
On a warm weekday in October, Jessie and Gerald Burlingame are alone in the bedroom of their Maine summer house, playing a game that isn't listed in Hoyle's. But suddenly, as Jessie hears the click of the second handcuff locking her to the bedposts and sees her husband looming over her, a nerve-snap of recognition tells her that this time Gerald is playing for keeps. Her next move is furious, violent, and, she is shocked to discover, deadly. Giving up control is scary enough; it is terrifying when there is no one left to give it to.
Except that Jessie is not alone. Over the next twenty-eight hours, trapped in a lake-side house that has become a prison, Jessie will come face-to-face with all the things she has ever feared, and the unlatched back door banging fretfully in the breeze is an open invitation to horrors she has never imagined. Inside the darkening bedroom, shadows gather in mute menace, while inside Jessie's head a taunting chorus of voices whispers and shrieks: "Women alone in the dark are like open doors . . . and if they cry out for help, who knows what dread things may answer?"
Stephen King knows. Nothing he has written before will prepare readers for the challenges of Gerald's Game. It's a fiendishly imagined version of No Exit. It's a nerve-racking excavation of the deepest layers of a woman's fear and courage. It's our foremost literary terrorist exploring what happens when the ordinary routine of one woman's life is suddenly eclipsed by the irrational. Jessie Burlingame's nerves are about to be strenuously tested. So, Reader, are yours.