THE WIND THROUGH THE KEYHOLE, as author Stephen King hastens to tell us in his short and pithy foreword, could probably be considered The Dark Tower, Volume 4.5, fitting in between WIZARD AND GLASS and WOLVES OF THE CALLA. As with the current Marvel Comics adaptation, which reinforces the mortar between the already substantial bricks of the Mid-World mythos, the book provides an additional look not only at Roland Deschain and his ka-tet, or group, but also at the culture of Mid-World.
"THE WIND THROUGH THE KEYHOLE is a welcome addition to [King's] bookcase of volumes in general and the Dark Tower series in particular. In the twilight of a brilliant and perhaps unequalled career, King is in terrific form."
The arrival of this volume, by happenstance or design, is perfect. It has been five years or so since the final Dark Tower volume, just far enough removed that those who were sated by the onslaught of installments heralding the end of the series might want something new. At the same time, THE WIND THROUGH THE KEYHOLE serves, for those who have yet to sample the wonders of Mid-World, as a gentle introduction to the opus of which it is part. King’s foreword carefully provides new readers with just enough to ease them through the door, so to speak; the stories within do the rest.
Note that I said stories, because that is what we have here. There are three different tales in the volume, intertwined Pulp Fiction-style, but without Pulp Fiction’s confusion. The first story is the tamest, and deals with Roland and friends as they take shelter from a “starkblast,” which is a sort of tornado. As they wait out the storm, Roland tells them two tales. One concerns the time immediately after the murder of Roland’s mother, when Stephen, his father, sends Roland on a mission to hunt down and bring to justice the Mid-World version of a serial killer who is terrorizing the tenuously held regions of Stephen’s outer kingdom.
That story, in turn, is wrapped around a novella-length “child’s tale&rd