Much better as a collaborative effort than the Talisman, and in my opinion eclipses the original. This story is much darker and more grounded in our world. As a result, it feels less like fantasy, though it has elements, and more like a crime-story. And a frightening one at that. Charles Burnside, a.k.a. "The Fisherman" is just about the creepiest and most vile serial killer I've read. The story is populated with real people, who we can both pity, idolize and despise (I HATED WENDELL GREEN).
King and Straub just do a much better job at blending their individual pieces and in bringing the story in line with the greater King Dark Tower universe. To me, that was the biggest surprise. When you look at all the King stories that have Dark Tower references, usually they contain a single line, an ambiguous recognition that it's happening in the same fictional universe. Not so with Black House. Or with Insomnia for that matter. These two books belong in the direct line with the numbered Tower books. Nor is it finished. I have a feeling we'll see Jack Sawyer again, and I have a feeling that he's going to play an important, if unnoticed role, in helping Roland bring about the end of the Crimson King...or whatever it is exactly that he did. I'm still confused.
Four stars instead of five because of pacing. AGAIN, find a new editor. There were large sections that I felt could have been removed to make this story far more gripping and page-turning.