The Outsider – Review



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.

I’ve been wanting to check this book out since it released and I finally got a chance to listen to the audio. There’s something about a Stephen King audiobook that is so immensely comforting to me, which sounds absolutely demented. I love his long, drawn out stories and his detailed descriptions. I know many readers think he needs to cut to the chase, but this is my favorite characteristic of his writing. This book started out gruesome and graphic. It was hard to hear the details of the murder at the helm of the story, since it involved a child, but I kept trudging through because I couldn’t figure out what was going on.

As the story drew on, it took a bit of a fantastical turn. I enjoyed seeing how the characters coped with things as they progressed from strange to stranger. It gave these outlandish elements more of a realistic feel, as if it was something that could actually happen.

The Outsider brought to my attention the Mexican legend of El Cucuy. I had no idea this was a real legend as I was listening to the story. I was certain it was something Stephen King made up, until the Baader–Meinhof Phenomenon started occurring. Once I learned of this bit of folklore, I saw it everywhere! It’s strange how that happens! Another cool aspect, was that this book mentioned the town I currently live in – a small town in Texas, twice! I felt kind of giddy thinking of Stephen King knowing of my current hometown.

Despite how crazy this story ended up being, I really didn’t find it scary in the least. I was simply eager to find out what happened, while enjoying the characters perspectives as they uncovered more details. I especially loved the bond that formed between Ralph Anderson and Holly Gibney. I’m always impressed by King’s ability to create these horribly twisted stories, while still adding moments of heartwarming human connection. I also am beginning to appreciate the various Easter eggs I find in his novels the more I read his work – such fun! I’m not sure which of his books I’ll venture to next, but I’m on a King kick. Any recommendations?

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase on Amazon.

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