I'd like to thank trishtrash hugely for insisting that I read this after the disappointment of Under The Dome.
This is such an enormously better book that only a few of King's stylistic tells reveal that it's written by the same author.
Now the hard part - why is this book so much better?
Well, firstly, it has a first person narrator. That nearly always gives a book a head start with me - I feel that it gives the reader a closer link with the main character and a more involved view of events, so that it's easier to be drawn into the story.
Secondly there are fewer characters, the reader gets to know them much better and they're generally nicer people than the ones in UTD. I much preferred reading about basically decent people trying to cope with a looming supernatural threat than the cardboard villains and generally unconvincing motivations presented in UTD.
Thirdly, the menace was more subtle and rather more original than in UTD, as were the means of dealing with it.
Fourthly, it just seems generally better written - King seems not to have felt the need with this one to hit every point home with a twenty pound sledgehammer. There's a degree of foreshadowing, but nothing like the prediction overkill that annoyed me so much with UTD.
But finally, and I think most importantly, I think this book was King writing what he knows only too well - a protagonist who suffers a devastating accident and recovers from it partly by means of exercising a creative talent. I could be wrong about that, but I suspect that's what gives this book the push up that leaves it standing head and shoulders above most of his other stuff.