Title: The Outsider
Author: Stephen King
Published in 2018 by Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: mystery, horror (adult)
Rating: ★★★★ – really liked it
When an eleven-year-old boy is found murdered in a town park, reliable eyewitnesses undeniably point to the town’s popular Little League coach, Terry Maitland, as the culprit. DNA evidence and fingerprints confirm the crime was committed by this well-loved family man.
Horrified by the brutal killing, Detective Ralph Anderson, whose own son was once coached by Maitland, orders the suspect to be arrested in a public spectacle. But Maitland has an alibi. And further research confirms he was indeed out of town that day.
As Anderson and the District Attorney trace the clues, the investigation expands from Ohio to Texas. And as horrifying answers begin to emerge, so King’s propulsive story of almost unbearable suspense kicks into high gear.
Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy but there is one rock-hard fact, as unassailable as gravity: a man cannot be in two places at the same time. Can he?
Prior to reading The Outsider, I’d only ever picked up one Stephen King novel – The Eyes of the Dragon – and that was about a decade ago. I know he’s an incredibly famous author, and everyone who loves horror and mystery novels has read his works, but I’ve always avoided reading his books. Why? One simple reason: they’re so intimidating. I never know where to start when an author has a vast amount of works written, and King is no exception to that. When I was browsing the shelves at my local library a while ago I noticed The Outsider, and the red cover immediately caught my attention. I decided it was finally time to give this famous author a chance.
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed reading The Outsider. It’s the story of a little boy who was murdered, the Little League coach accused of his murder, and the detectives on the case. There are so many witnesses who saw Terry with the boy right before it happened, and the evidence pointing towards him is overwhelming. The detectives decide to make a statement with Terry’s conviction, arresting him in front of the entire town. However, Terry has an iron-clad alibi. Yet the witnesses don’t lie. Was he in two places at once?
I have to admit that the first 100 or so pages of the novel are quite slow. It takes a while for King to set up the story and characters which results in a less than exciting start of the novel. Especially if you’ve read the synopsis of the book as that already tells you what the book takes quite a while to set up properly.
Once we got past that set-up part, though, I was completely invested in the story. I was so hooked! It honestly felt like I was watching an episode of one of my favorite TV shows from university in my head – I won’t say which one because I feel like that might be a little bit of a spoiler.
While the first half of the book took me a while to read, I absolutely flew through the second half. I didn’t want to put it back down, because I just HAD to know what happened next. I became attached to the characters, even though I didn’t agree with them all the time.
I also laughed out loud multiple times at the Tr*mp references King makes…
This book convinced me to pick up more of King’s works. I do think that there are spoilers for the Mr. Mercedes series in here though. There’s a character from those books who shows up in The Outsider, and they talk about a case they worked on and what happened. When I read the synopsis of Mr. Mercedes, I felt like I already knew what would happen because I read this book. I’m still excited to pick them up though.
I’ll definitely give King’s works a try from now on, since I really enjoyed reading The Outsider. Have you read a lot of his books? Which ones would you recommend?