Later is a supernatural thriller written by Stephen King and is published by Hard Case Crime. Jamie Conklin is the son of a struggling single mother and has the fairly common rare gift of being able to see people who have recently died. His mother has a girlfriend who works as a police detective in New York. She pulls Jamie into a desperate investigation where he needs to communicate with a dead psychopath who left a bomb as a parting gift. Although that is a major plot point, King also creates some complicated relationships and characters.
This novel has several strong points that showcase King’s talent for creating compelling characters and a flow of thought that seems rather genuine. The novel is written in first person from Jamie’s point of view, and I grew to like the kid. King’s trademark dark humor helps ease the tension in the right places.
The novel is enjoyable enough, however I would hesitate to consider it a future classic. Also, young kids being able to communicate with the dead seems to be common literary backdrop. It was an interesting story but some major aspects do seem a little too familiar. King doesn’t quite hit it out of the park here, but he certainly gets a good piece of the ball.
So the next reading indulgence is A Bright Ray of Darkness by Ethan Hawke.