Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Still Devouring Stephen King: The Outsider


It has now been approximately a thousand years (6 months) since I read The Outsider, but have I ever failed to bring you a Stephen King review? No I have not! I will try and drag from the depths of my memory my feels about this book, so let's see how that goes...

I remember, firstly, being genuinely quite scared by this book. I've found that in a lot of his later work, King doesn't go straight for the scaries, and has been writing more in the crime/thriller genre than what I would classify as pure horror, so to feel genuinely rattled and like things might not be ok was pretty exciting. There were points where I had no idea how our heroes were going to get out of the situations they were in, or how they could possibly survive, and, because it's King, of course not all of the characters live (I think...)

The book starts with a horrific crime against a young boy which seems to have been perpetrated by the local kids' baseball coach - and I say seems to because said coach has an airtight alibi for the day of the crime - he was hundreds of miles away, and there is video evidence of it. So far, so weird, but what I really liked about this book was that although this was the initial tension, around a third (I think?!) of the way through, a big thing happens that completely changes the direction I thought the book was going in and made it so much better.

This book was unexpected in many ways, not least because it brought in Holly Gibney (last seen in King's Mr Mercedes Crime trilogy) to help investigate the case. I'm not going to lie, I just wasn't expecting to see her again, but it was a welcome reunion - I do wonder if King will team up Holly and Ralph Anderson (the police detective in this book) again, cause you know what? I would not hate that.

And so. I can't pretend to remember everything about this novel, but in the immortal words of Maya Angelou, 'people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.' The Outsider, you made me feel scared that some evil force could steal my identity and do a crime as me, nice work you bloody good book, you.

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