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June 18, 2021

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Halloween spooktacular by Stephen King

This novel is a get-away, and leaves you with a renewed sense of wonder

Review by Robert McCool
Stephen King's latest “The Outsider” ( Simon and Shuster, ISBN 978-1-9821-4824-9) doesn't disappoint.

Everything that can be said about Stephen King has already been said. One of the world's most popular authors can be depended upon to deliver a good old supernatural yarn. Still, he remains a matter of taste to many. He either gives you a case of the shivers, as in this latest novel, or disgusts with too much realism when it comes to violence. So, I don't like everything he's written, but I do like this book.

It follows the exploits of a Detective Ralph Anderson as he investigates the death of a young boy (see what I mean?) and his battle against the El Cuco, or shape-shifter, and the human victims of its impersonations.

The action begins with a mistake made by Ralph when he arrests the local good-guy youth coach for the murder/sexual assault of the youngster without considering the ramifications of the very public arrest, and the following very public shooting death of the suspect.

But there's a problem with the initial arrest. The suspect, Terry Maitland had an undeniable alibi. How could he have been in two places at the same time? Two families are destroyed by these deaths, and the misery grows as the El Cuco feeds off of it.

This happens again. One person, at two places at the same time.

Ralph is joined by an attorney, the DA and others, including an investigative bail-skipper finder woman who discerns the nature of the monster they all face. Toss in a alcoholic detective seeking revenge upon Ralph, and you have one big spectacular climax.

Like I said, I like this book. It is a bit of a return to basics for King, without his over-riding supernatural world made up of many volumes and philosophy. It a spooky story that could keep you up at night in order to finish “just one more chapter”.

I read it at almost non-stop while I ignored the “outside world”. Believe me, with a wife going through home physical therapy it wasn't easy. Fortunately, when I finished it I was able to do the dishes and the ever-present laundry again.

This novel is a get-away, and leaves you with a renewed sense of wonder as to how does he do it so well, so often?