The Outsider  Stephen King 5/5 stars

      To be fair I should point out that I am no longer one of Stephen King's constant readers. I consider King to be an old friend I check in on from time to time to see how he's doing. Sometimes he's doing well, and others not so much. The Outsider is a monumental release. This is King's 60th book which makes me feel a bit old. What this means is that there are fans of his that started reading his books from the beginning, and there are newer fans who discovered him from his recent output which has been hit or miss. Sixty books is no small feat especially when you factor in just how fickle the business is. King has evolved with the times, and has proven to be a writer that deserves the success that has come his way.

      The Outsider is a book that feels like a standard thriller, but the crime here is so heinous, sensitive readers will no doubt feel outraged by it. The crime itself isn't really the important thing. It's the fact that its perpetrator is a man who claims he's innocent and there's proof of this, but of course this is a King novel so nothing is what it seems. For fans of the Bill Hodges trilogy Holly Gibney makes a return here which isn't surprising given the oddness of the story. The story does get weird which is a King trademark. It's a fine story even when the supernatural element begin to take shape and really give the story its curve ball. Who or what is an Outsider, and how can a man be at two places at once?

       When King is good, he's damn good, and The Outsider is a novel that fans of the old King will love. There are pieces of other novels woven throughout the plot making you feel a bit of deja vu. It should make you pissed off that he's recycling, but it works. This is a compulsive page turner that gets its hook in you and refuses to let go. Each character here is likeable even when they do bad things. King has the ability to make his characters human even when you know they aren't, and the crime here of course is the catalyst. You feel the outrage, even the shock of the crime just like they do and you want to believe that Terry is guilty, but the evidence is hard to ignore.

        The Outsider is a decent King novel that we know he's capable of writing. Sure there's been a few stinkers here and there, but this isn't one of them. This is the King book that will accompany everyone on vacation this summer and will rule the best sellers list for quite some time. It's a damn good novel full of the creepiness that King excels at while giving us a story that we can't stop reading. Is it the best novel King's ever written? Depends on who you ask, but for me, it's a decent book. Almost a King classic and reminds me why I became a fan of his in the first place.


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