Hi everyone! Today, I’m here to talk to y’all about The Outsider by Stephen King AKA the first King novel I’ve ever read. As celebrated as he is, Stephen King is an author I swore I’d never read because I don’t do horror. I came to that realization back in college. I went to Halloween Horror Nights a few times and that was it for me.
If you’re wondering how I managed to convince myself to even pick up a King book, it’s because one of my 2019 challenges is to read 12 books from the 2018 Goodreads Choice Awards (I’m so behind with this challenge). The Outsider was on that list and everyone on Twitter told me it’s mystery with a supernatural element so I decided to give it a go.
An unspeakable crime. A confounding investigation. At a time when the King brand has never been stronger, he has delivered one of his most unsettling and compulsively readable stories.
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? When the answer comes, it will shock you as only Stephen King can.
What I thought
I’m not gonna lie. I was kind of scared in the first half of this book and ended up DNF’ing it when I thought it was headed from mystery to horror territory. I picked it up again about a week later because I felt brave enough to continue and turns out I was scared for…nothing.
The Outsider is a compelling story with a strong mystery element that I loved. I think King was a little too descriptive with mundane actions and the story dragged quite a bit, but overall the characters were pretty interesting and I was hooked for over 50% of the book. I felt invested in the story and I was kind of sad and upset about what happened to a few characters. Unfortunately, I wish it was more mystery than supernatural because once the villain is revealed the book lost a lot of steam and sizzled out towards the end.
I honestly can’t believe I was so worried and thought that I would be scared shitless. Don’t get me wrong, what happened to the characters was fucking horrible, but it’s not gory or frightening as I thought it was leading up to.
Anyways, I’m glad I survived The Outsider and don’t have to check underneath my bed and closets when I get home from work. Obviously, I’m not a King expert, but if you’re a scaredy cat like I am, I think this might work for a first attempt with King. I gave this 3/5 stars.