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The Outsider: A Novel Hardcover – May 22, 2018
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"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Learn more
Praise for The Outsider:
"A juicy tale that plays at the forefront of our current phobias... [The Outsider] will remind readers of King's early novel It."
— Kirkus Reviews
“What begins as a manhunt for an unlikely doppelgänger takes an uncanny turn into the supernatural. King’s skillful use of criminal forensics helps to ground his tale in a believable clinical reality where the horrors stand out in sharp relief.”
“Absolutely riveting. . . another shockingly dark book—perfect for longtime fans, of whom there are, well, zillions.”
“There’s plenty of shadowy, wormy supernatural goings-on in Stephen King’s new novel The Outsider. Yet the most unsettling stuff — that which will leave you uncomfortable when you sit and devour this first-rate read — probes the monstrous side of human nature.”
—Brian Truitt, USA Today
"Do yourself a favor and read the book.”
“An It for the Trump era…remarkable and deeply pleasurable.”
—Ryan Vlastelica, The AV Club
"Here’s to mutant rats in the basement and Mexican myths; here’s to the strange and to Stephen King. Still inspiring."
—Victor LaValle, New York Times Book Review
"King is arguably as much an American icon as the ’68 Fastback or a classic red and white Plymouth Fury. All of these glories are on full display in his latest mystery-horror hybrid...you’re in for one hell of a ride.”
—Karin Slaughter, The Washington Post
“King appears to be on a hot streak, that he extends with The Outsider. Big, complex and inventive, it’s a well-honed continuation of his interest in the intersection of crime and horror fiction, demonstrating his consummate skill with both.”
—Michael Berry, The Portland Press Herald
"Every time Stephen King writes another book, I worry. Has he gone to the horror well too often? Will it be as good as It or Dolores Claiborne or Doctor Sleep or any of his 50-plus other titles? Luckily, his scary ideas continue to flow unfettered from his mind to the pages, most recently in The Outsider...masterful.”
—Amanda St. Amand, St. Louis Post Dispatch
About the Author
Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes The Outsider, Sleeping Beauties (cowritten with his son Owen King), the short story collection The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, the Bill Hodges trilogy End of Watch, Finders Keepers, and Mr. Mercedes (an Edgar Award winner for Best Novel and now an AT&T Audience Network original television series), Doctor Sleep, and Under the Dome. His novel 11/22/63—a Hulu original television series event—was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller. His epic works The Dark Tower and It are the basis for major motion pictures. He is the recipient of the 2018 PEN America Literary Service Award, the 2014 National Medal of Arts, and the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.
Top customer reviews
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This is more in the Mr. Mercedes universe than the old Derry/Castle Rock/Things that go bump in the night universe of old. It starts out being a perplexing murder mystery, and it's not until later in the story that supernatural elements start creeping in. By that time, though, you're so involved in the story that the supernatural elements seem plausible...and then they start making sense. As the book quotes, Arthur Conan Doyle (via Sherlock Holmes) said "Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth." King manages to eliminate the impossible, slowly yet surely.
I've started measuring how good I think a mystery/horror book is by how tense I get when I read it. I was extremely tense reading this one, wondering just what the solution was going to be.
I highly recommend this for anyone who enjoyed the Mr. Mercedes trilogy, or 11/22/63.
I loved this story from the first page to the end. The plotline, the in-depth characters, the dialogue he does so well - loved it and didn't want it to end.
A young boy is (beyond) brutally murdered in Flint City, Oklahoma (not Maine - can you believe it?). The police are so sure they know who did this atrocity that they don't even take the man they arrest in for preliminary questioning. Instead they very publicly arrest him and THEN find out he has an ironclad alibi. Really.
This starts out kind of like a "locked door mystery" and then segues into a creepy, scary horror tale.
Highly recommended - this is Stephen King at his best.
In searching my book of quotations, searching for just the right thought, I came up with this nugget of wisdom by the master of horror:
The trust of the innocent is the liar's most useful tool - Stephen King
Demakis, Joseph. The Ultimate Book of Quotations (p. 490). Unknown. Kindle Edition.
BLUSH FACTOR: This is Stephen King, so, of course, there are ample profanities. As for me, I wouldn’t change a word, but that’s just me.
Reviewers and readers of Stephen King fall into three categories. My target audience is that segment that wants to know if this novel is little more than a re-hash of one of his other novels, or something fresh and titillating.
As for myself, I am close to being a dedicated fan, so keep that in mind as you proceed.
The Outsider blends typical King with the same sort of plot as his Bill Hodges series and some of that exhibited in the book 11-23-63. Where it differs markedly from both is the King gets us inside the head
NOTE: I took the below excerpt from about the 15% mark, so don’t get the impression that this is a spoiler. What you’re reading here may, or may not shed light on the direction of the story. It is provided only so readers can get a feel for the language utilized with great effect to set the scene and establish the mood, as I call it, or to foretell the direction of the tale.
‘…deliberate. What possessed you? What on God’s green earth possessed you?”
Ralph felt his face heating up again. “You really want to know, counselor?”
“Ralph,” Samuels said warningly. He put a restraining hand on Ralph’s arm.
Ralph shook it off. “I wasn’t the one who arrested him. I had a couple of officers do that, because I was afraid I might put my hands around his throat and choke him blue. Which would give a smart lawyer like you a little too much to work with.” He stepped forward, getting into Gold’s space to make him stop the back and forth rocking. “He grabbed Frank Peterson and took him to Figgis Park. There he raped the kid with a tree branch, and there he killed him. Do you want to know how he killed him?”
“Ralph, that’s privileged!” Samuels squawked.
Ralph paid no attention. “Preliminary forensics suggests he tore the kid’s throat open with his teeth. He may even have swallowed some of the flesh, okay? All that got him so excited that he dropped trou and spilled his spunk all over the back of the kid’s thighs. Nastiest, vilest, most unspeakable unspeakable murder any of us will ever see, God willing. He must have been building up to it for a long time. None of us who were at the scene will ever get it out of our minds. And…’
King, Stephen. The Outsider: A Novel (Kindle Locations 961-971). Scribner. Kindle Edition.
I’ve tried to provide sufficient insight into “The Outsider” without spoiling the tale and without slipping any expletives into the review. If you have enjoyed King’s recent stories, I think this is even better than those. Mind you, my favorite of his remains “The Stand,” but this story is a very close second, or, perhaps, third.
Five stars out of five.
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This may not become one of Stephen King's classics, but it certainly shows that he is still the master of the genre, and a skilled artisan at writing compelling fiction.
As an aside, my copy arrived in good shape (see pictures) despite being in an oversized box without any packaging material.