The Institute is a secret organization located in Maine near the Canadian border (with other facilities around the world). They have teams that go around the country and kidnap gifted children and kill their parents. The children are taken to The Institute where all kinds of tests are run on them in ‘the front half’ of the building. These kids have telekinetic and telepathic powers. The kids don’t understand why they’re here. Everything changes when then get 12 year old prodigy Luce Ellis from Minnesota. Once the kids have been put through their testing they are moved to the ‘back half’ where they are told they will go home soon.
Luke doesn’t believe this and soon learns that his parents are dead (after being told they are fine). He starts to plan an escape not sure how he will do it. With the help of one of the housekeepers Maureen, a plan is hatched involving one of the strongest telepathy kids Avery. Luke is able to escape and make his way on a train to a small South Carolina town.
There he meets Tim, who works for the town’s Sheriff’s department as a night knocker, soon to return to their police force (he was a cop in Tampa before something happened). Luke convinces Tim and the sheriff’s office what happened to him. Soon the bad guys from The Institute are on his trail and it leads to a dramatic showdown. Luke forms a plan to rescue the kids still in The Institute and take it down once and for all. The kids also figure out how to take down The Institute and it leads to a stunning climax to the story.
This was an okay Stephen King book. I wasn’t blown away by it like I was his last few books with the Mr. Mercedes series and The Outsiders. The story is crisp and the characters are really fleshed out and interesting. The battle that the kids put up is one for the ages. Still I felt there was still something missing that would put this up there with his other classic novels. But it is still Stephen King and worth a read.
You can pick up The Institute in stores on Tuesday, September 10th from Scribner.