I was a little worried about reading this book initially, my most recent book before this one was the joint effort from Stephen and his son Owen, Sleeping Beauties, which if I am totally honest about, was a terrible book, which was a real struggle to get through.
I needn’t have worried at all though as the newest book by Stephen King, The Outsider was a joy to read!
So much so, this is the first time I have ever finished a Stephen King book so quickly (16 days total) and its a decent sized book at going on for 500 pages.
Stephen King is very well known for writing horror books, but over the past few years, he has somewhat changed his writing style and has focused more on crime related books, which I have always enjoyed (the Mr Mercedes series of books was another great read).
I don’t want to give too much away, which is quite hard to do considering the twists and turns of this book, but what I will say is that if you have not read the Mr Mercedes books yet, it’s advisable to read them first as there is somewhat of a crossover here, which will totally spoil your enjoyment if you read The Outsider first.
A brief breakdown of what this book is about is as follows:-
An eleven-year-old boy is found in a town park, hideously assaulted and murdered. The fingerprints (and later DNA) are unmistakably those of the town’s most popular baseball coach, Terry Maitland, a man of impeccable reputation, with a wife and two daughters. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland coached, orders an immediate and public arrest. Maitland is taken to jail, his claim to innocence scorned. Maitland has a foolproof alibi, with footage to prove that he was in another city when the crime was committed. But that doesn’t save him either.
One of the biggest problems I have had with Stephen King books in the past is the number of characters he seems to want to cram into his books, I find it very disconcerting when I open one of his books and find five or six pages of character information, so I was glad to open this book and be straight into the story without knowing there were going to be countless people to keep track off (or I should say to not keep track of!)
I said earlier that Stephen King’s more recent work has focused around the crime genre, this book follows the same track, but also in the second half of the book starts to go into his more familiar ‘supernatural’ type work.
That being said, the supernatural elements included in the book are not too ‘far out-there’ and are still very believable in the context of the book.
The characters are likeable and you start to honestly feel for them and start to wonder what you yourself would do in that situation, which is something that was lacking in his last book, the forgettable Sleaping Beauties.
This year is a bumper year for Stephen King books as he is due to release another novel in the Autumn and if that book is anything like this book, it’s going to be a superb read.
In my humble opinion, this truly is Stephen back to his best after a few misses over the past few years.
If you stumble across a copy and are into crime books, you won’t regret it at all.
My rating is a strong 4.5 out of 5.