Title: The Outsider
Author(s): Stephen King
No. of pages: 561
Genre: Thriller, Horror
Publication date: May 22nd 2018
Date read: August 9th 2018
An unspeakable crime. A confounding investigation. At a time when the King brand has never been stronger, he has delivered one of his most unsettling and compulsively readable stories.
An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is found in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens. He is Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon add DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad.
As the investigation expands and horrifying answers begin to emerge, King’s propulsive story kicks into high gear, generating strong tension and almost unbearable suspense. Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face? When the answer comes, it will shock you as only Stephen King can.
When this novel just came out and people started reading it, I heard pretty mixed thoughts on it. I couldn’t wait to form my own thoughts, so I didn’t really read full reviews on it. One thing I took to heart was the warning that The Outsider contained a big spoiler for the last book in the Bill Hodges trilogy, so I read those first. And let me just say: if you ever plan on reading the Bill Hodges trilogy, read those before you read The Outsider. It makes the reading experiences of both the trilogy and The Outsider richer!
What I like about Stephen King, The Outsider, and *good* horror in general is the shock while reading certain parts. “Did he really write this? This is gross/insane/unacceptableee!” But that’s what I like in a horror, the shock of something so horrible, it’s almost unimaginable that it happens in real life. And things like the violent murder of an eleven-year-old boy do happen in real life. Luckily, not that often, but it does. People like to fill their life with only good, but with that they decide to ignore the bad parts of the world. Which is, of course, understandable.
The Outsider also gave me huge IT vibes, but I won’t go into detail on this, because that would be too spoiler-y for both books. One thing I can say, is that, just like in IT, the character-building is great. In the way only Stephen King is able to. Literally every person mentioned in this book has their own story. Even if they’re only “on stage” for about two pages, you get to know them and their background story quite well. This makes it that you never want to stop reading about the main characters, because in the end they feel like your friends. Especially when you’re reading a King book that’s about 600 pages thick. That’s really something I love about King’s stories – the characters.
Nevertheless, I don’t know if The Outsider has made it into my top 5 Kingbooks … although it was super good.