30 August 2019

Review: The Outsider by Stephen King

The Outsider by Stephen King book cover
* Copy courtesy of Hachette Australia *

The Outsider by Stephen King is essentially a crime novel with a light supernatural twist. An eleven year old boy is brutally murdered in Ohio and Detective Ralph Anderson investigates.

The meticulously gathered evidence - including DNA, fingerprints and witness statements - all points to much loved local coach Terry Maitland, however he has an air tight alibi for the crime.

The first half of the novel was a tightly written exciting crime investigation that I was very much enjoying. The arrest scene and the disturbance at the court house was action packed and reminded me that King writes an excellent crowd scene. In fact, I was instantly reminded of the supermarket riot scene in Under the Dome.

However, as the supernatural element was slowly introduced, the story began to lose my interest. I enjoyed the dusty and hot scenes in Texas and it made for a pleasant change in surroundings, but I wasn't gripped by the gravity of the suspect being pursued.

There was a significant crossover with the Detective Bill Hodges trilogy by Stephen King that I wasn't expecting but which fit in nicely with the plot. The trilogy includes: Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers and End of Watch and while I haven’t read any of these novels, (I’ve only watched the TV adaptation of Mr. Mercedes) the crossover was very well done.

Despite a strong start, I did find The Outsiders to be a tad repetitive and slow at times and definitely thought it could have been edited down another 50-80 pages or so.

I'd recommend The Outsider by Stephen King to die hard SK fans and readers reluctant to read his horror or supernatural thrillers but looking for an easy way 'in' to the bestselling author's oeuvre. Having said that, I think The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption are far better entry points.

My Rating:
★ ★

Would you like to comment?

  1. This may not become one of Stephen King's classics, but it certainly shows that he is still the master of the genre, and a skilled artisan at writing compelling fiction.


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