Well what can be said about Stephen King that hasn’t already been said? Not a lot really, an author of over 50 books all of which are bestsellers. The master of horror has turned his hand masterfully to the crime writing genre most recently in Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers and End of Watch. Wrapping his bony hands around it and choking the life out of it, suffocating the genre, driving out the last remnants of air with his white knuckled choke hold. Leaving it lifeless on the floor, that’s where King sets about consuming its remains and crafting something beautiful and in doing so claiming the crime / thriller genre as his own, much like what he has done with the horror genre. It’s a crime book, but in the hands of Stephen King it’s so much more…all bets are off!
The blurb on the inside cover reads;
When an eleven-year-old boy is found murdered in a town park, reliable eyewitnesses undeniably point to the town’s popular Little League coach, Terry Maitland, as the culprit. DNA evidence and fingerprints confirm the crime was committed by this well-loved family man….Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy but there is one rock-hard fact, as unassailable as gravity: a man cannot be in two places at the same time. Can he?
I don’t really like crime books myself, I find them quite boring in fact, this is quite a brash statement for a reviewer and a bibliophile, but it’s my personal preference. A preference that Stephen King has now shoved down my throat so far that I won’t be sitting comfortably for a while, convincing me that there might possibly be some space in my reading for crime…but a particular kind of crime, the King kind! King has been able to seamlessly spliced together an unrelenting tale of suspense whilst incorporating the darker and many subtle aspects of horror and in doing so has almost created his own sub genre. If crime writing can remain this good, it may have converted a new reader.
As mentioned above King has previously penned Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers and End of Watch a trilogy of fabulous crime novels, but again written in his typically dark and engaging style, King creates tension filled moments that spill from the pages that turn each of these into crime fiction page turners of the highest calibre – if you haven’t read them yet I’d highly advise you to do so. Although The Outsider is a stand alone book, it does have a character that pops up from this previously mentioned series and if you haven’t read those yet there may be a slight spoiler for you, so heed my advice and check those out first…if you plan on reading them!
The thing about Stephen King is that he is a writing machine, he churns these books out at a phenomenal frequency and they are immediately best sellers. King is also a man who can reinvent himself at the drop of a hat, stepping into the crime writing world seamlessly, playing with the conventions, genre and plots with the skill of someone who has been writing this type of fiction for years – The Outsider is a true masterstroke of his genius. It’s not enough that he has mastered the horror genre he has now stepped up his game to include crime fiction, it’s breathtaking to watch and immeasurably enjoyable to read.
King has created a beast of a novel with The Outsider – it’s a page turning, heart pounding unrelenting tale of suspense and terror. A terror that spills from the pages and dribbles into your subconscious; permeating your very being. It will undoubtedly have you checking under your bed before you go to sleep. The Outsider is King at his very best!
REVIEW BY ROSS JEFFERY
The Outsider is published by Hodder & Stoughton and is available here.
Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His first crime thriller featuring Bill Hodges, MR MERCEDES, won the Edgar Award for best novel and was shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger Award. Both MR MERCEDES and END OF WATCH received the Goodreads Choice Award for the Best Mystery and Thriller of 2014 and 2016 respectively.
King co-wrote the bestselling novel Sleeping Beauties with his son Owen King, and many of King’s books have been turned into celebrated films and television series including The Shawshank Redemption, Gerald’s Game and It.
King was the recipient of America’s prestigious 2014 National Medal of Arts and the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for distinguished contribution to American Letters. In 2007 he also won the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America. He lives with his wife Tabitha King in Maine.
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