By: Stephen King
# of pages: 561
Challenges: Full House (>500 pages), Monthly Motif (horror), R.I.P.
Quote: “Anything is possible,” she said to the empty room. “Anything at all. The world is full of strange nooks and crannies.”
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?
Review: I finished the Bill Hodges series that starts with Mr. Mercedes. There’s several references to the series and a recurring character in The Outsider. I enjoyed the entire Bill Hodges series and this novel had a similar setup and the characters were similar. However, The Outsider has more of a creepy/horror atmosphere.
The description of the book sums it up better than I can without spoiling the plot. Overall, the book reminded me of an episode of the TV show “Supernatural.” At the beginning I was trying to guess what was going on and even as I began to learn the truth, I was still curious about how the characters were going to deal with the situation.
King is great at writing creepy and disturbing characters. But he’s also great at writing good characters who have compassion and a desire to find out the truth. This book is no exception and I really liked the character Ralph Anderson who reminded me of Bill Hodges and Danny from Doctor Sleep.
Why I gave this book 4/5 stars: Interesting story, good characters, intriguing horror atmosphere.