The Outsider is a recent novel from Stephen King first published in 2018. King starts off with a very brutal murder which has taken place in Flint City, Oklahoma. Detective Ralph Anderson has arrested a popular Little League coach in front of much of the populace after an eleven year old boy is found butchered horrifically. The coach has an apparently solid alibi out of town, however reliable witnesses also place him in the vicinity and in the company of the young victim. It seems that the suspect, Terry Maitland, was in two places at once, however that is impossible. On the other hand, this is a Stephen King novel.
I may just be getting too used to Stephen King novels, but I was not exactly riveted by this one. There were some interesting twists and turns, but I am getting to me one of those readers more impressed by King’s earlier works. The setting is fictional, which isn’t a bad idea, but I can sense that King doesn’t really know Oklahoma all that well, which he kind of acknowledges in the afterword. There is a character named Holly Gibney who shows up to lend a hand when the almost inevitable group of intrepid citizens gather to discover the truth and face an evil darker than they could ever imagine. Holly was introduced alongside of retired detective Bill Hodges in the trilogy which began with Mr. Mercedes. Her nervous, eccentric, and determined presence in this story was the most compelling facet to this story.
There’s no question that Stephen King is a talented storyteller, but there are better examples of that talent than this particular novel. I didn’t dislike the novel though. Die hard Stephen King fans will still find this one worth reading, but I am not sure it’s going to be considered one of his most treasured offerings.
As 2020 begins, my bottomless appetite for literary indulgence continues with a new Star Trek: The Next Generation entitled Collateral Damage by David Mack.