Book Review: The Outsider

Whelp, here’s another 2018 book I read in 2019, and I want to switch the review over from Goodreads to here. I’ll do a separate review one day of the phenomenal HBO adaptation of the book into a limited television series. For now, here’s my review of yet another Stephen King book.

Spoilers ahead. Spoilers!

What helped make this King book fly by was the format in the beginning with the juxtaposition of the arrest and the interrogations of Terry Maitland. The middle slowed some, but then we get a new character (Holly Gibney) who spices the book right back up.

To be honest, I went into the book not reading the jacket, so I went in completely blind not knowing what the synopsis was, and obviously throughout the book King is hinting that this is going to be a supernatural evil-doer. To the point where, it almost would have been a twist not to have the bad guy be supernatural. But at the same time, the constant teasing also worked to break down detective Ralph Anderson’s disbelieving barrier.

The villain reminded me a lot of the creeper in Jeepers Creepers, and I’m still not sure if that’s a good thing or not.

This was not King’s best by any stretch, but it was an enjoyable escape for a week.

[Adding on to my Goodreads review], I think what’s hard here is that we get such an interesting character at the beginning, Maitland, and then … he dies. Like I said, Gibney helps, and Anderson’s complexities are interesting enough, but it’s always difficult when an interesting character is killed early on in a nearly 600-page book.

To King’s credit, I will say, the ending was more satisfying than most of his endings. There’s a challenge in writing supernatural characters, I’ve noticed, where, in the interest of the plot and horrifying the reader, you necessarily have to build up an overwhelming supernatural force and entity. But the problem comes when it’s time for regular mortals to combat the supernatural force … and they do so with a sock filled with ball bearings.

If you didn’t hear me, I said they do so with a sock filled with ball bearings. That’s genuinely a funny out-of-context sentence to me, even as I write this.

But like I said, if you’re looking for a fun read and a damn good reason to then go and watch the incredible HBO adaptation, then check this out. I gave it four out of five stars on Goodreads.

6 thoughts

    1. When I was doing my research (aka, making sure I spelled the names right lol), I saw that she was in Mr. Mercedes! So I definitely need to check those books out next because I loved her character.

      Liked by 1 person

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