yo he wrote tommyknockers drunk up his ass and you cannot convince me that book is anything but one of his worse. that is not the only book i can think of where i know he was still drinking/drinking a lot and it's crap.
once you get famous you can glide on shit that would never get a new writer in the door. see: basically 90% of bands who have one hit and then put out shit you know your neighborhood local band could've written just as easily.
king was terrible drunk at points too. that's what i think gets missed in discussions like this. yes he wrote some great stuff drunk. but also some AWFUL shit that wasn't even worth getting published except for his name.
he wrote the green mile sober. AND the girl who loved tom gordon, which is a bit of a lesser known but honestly, the kind of creepy where i still think about that novel randomly some days. because it sticks with you - and a creep/horror like that, to me, is a hallmark of a successful horror story. rose madder is a personal fave and that was sober -- but i know very well that the strength of my preference for rose madder is generally unusual among king fans compared to his other works
I've been reading some of his newest stuff but really am not 100% caught up, am not even 60% probably. some of it i've really enjoyed. it might be different - but king always made a point to write differently, about different things, in different genres, when and where he could.
i think lately, a lot of the horror has gone out of his writing. and a lot of the extraordinary, the magic.
but if you sense a gradual decrease in his quality of work over time (excluding outliers like the awful tommy knockers and, come on let's admit it, subpar dreamcatcher, etc etc - i can talk king for a long time) --- i can sense the same in U2's output over the past several decades. U2 hasn't put anything new or interesting on an album in at least 15 years. writers i think can be the same -- i think we can see this in artists across all genres. they peak at some point. if they live long enough, they come down. if they're lucky they're madonna or king and they can come back with killer albums after 5 or 10 years of successful duds.
but madonna hasn't done anything interesting lately either