This is the second book in Stephen King's popular series, The Dark Tower, which details the efforts of Roland, the last gunslinger (meaning he's basically a cop), to reach the dark tower. From the beginning, it is obvious that this is not just some horror novel. The desciptions are so vivid you can watch the book unfold in your mind as the story develops. Every character in the book, even the ones from other worlds seem like they could walk through your door and introduce themselves. While it is an action book, many parts are quite funny. The plot, while at times kind of hard to grasp, is nevertheless captivating. Roland, who hails from a parallel universe, enters the United States of the 1980's. The catch is, he must inhabit the bodies of other people to be there, and most of the people he "possesses" prove to be in rather bad situations themselves. They include Eddie, a drug smuggler, Odetta, a schizophrenic, and Jack Morris, a closet murderer. Roland is forced to make it all work out, even as he struggles to comprehend the stange world he finds himself in. After reading this, I immediatly wanted to read the other books in the Dark Tower series.
The squeamish may want to avoid this book, though. There is all sorts of gory violence, starting with Roland losing two fingers in the first chapter. There are numerous shootouts (after all, he is the Gunslinger) most of them resulting in death or injury. They didn't bother me, however. Eddie has serious struggles with his drug addiction, but it is not very graphic, and clearly anti-drug. The romanctic passages are fairly tame for King.
There is no need to read the prequel, or any other books by King before reading this. Just dig in.