BOOK REVIEW: The Outsider by Stephen King

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Title: The Outsider

Author: Stephen King

Book Length (Audiobook): 18 hours 49 mins

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Genre: Horror, Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Crime

Link: Goodreads

Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads: “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.”

My Review: I have very mixed feelings about this book, and I have really struggled with this review. On the one hand I liked it, but on the other hand I was not that impressed. I have some spoilers in this review, but i cannot give my full opinion without giving away some of the story. The beginning of the book starts out like any other murder mystery / crime novel. As with all of his books, King’s writing is impeccable, and the characters are well-developed.

The issue I have is with the supernatural monster, who turned out to be the real killer. In a nutshell, this monster was a shape shifter that was capable of becoming other people, even down to the DNA level. This is how he would perpetrate the crimes, and the humans from whom the monster had stolen the DNA (like Terry Maitland) would get the blame. The monster fed on children and thrived on the grief the killings caused the family members. It had white blood filled with worms, and it would use the worms to infect humans so that it could control them to do its bidding.

After Detective Anderson (and his team) figure out that the real killer is some sort of monster, they track it down to a cave system and ultimately destroy it.

Elements of this story heavily reminded me of It (also by Stephen King) and the Strain series by Guillermo Del Toro — which is why, for me, the story did not really feel all that original. It reminded me of It because the monster went after children, hibernated after feedings, and lived underground in an abandoned mine. It reminded me of The Strain series because of the worms and the white blood (in The Strain, the vampires made new vampires by infecting humans with worms, and said vampires had white blood).

I was on a business trip in Japan while reading this book, and was severely jet lagged for most of the week. Since this book received very high reviews in general, maybe the jet lag prevented me from really appreciating the story, as every time I read the book, I was very tired. In any event, since Stephen King is one of my favorite authors, I would still recommend to read this book.

 

BOOK REVIEW: The Dark Tower III: The Wastelands

34084Title: The Dark Tower III: The Wastelands

Author: Stephen King

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Audiobook Length: 17 hours and 54 minutes

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction

LinkGoodreads

Brief Summary of the Plot: If you are interested to see my reviews of the first two books, you can click the links below. In this third book, which takes place five weeks after the second book ends, Eddie, Susannah (formerly Odetta) are being trained by Roland to become gunslingers. All the while, the three are continuing their quest to the Dark Tower by following magical “beams” (which I guess are like ley lines?). They encounter strange (ancient) beings along the way who are becoming sick and dying, as Midworld is “moving on” (onto the next age?)

Meanwhile, due to the fact that he saved Jake from being killed in the 2nd book, Roland’s mind has become fractured into 2 pieces. The first piece remembers Jake (from the timeline where he died and came to Midworld), and the second piece where Jake lived, and therefore never met Roland. This juxtaposition is tearing Roland apart and slowly making him insane.

Back on “Earth” in NYC, Jake’s mind has also become fractured. He remembers both the life in Midworld, and the one where he never went there. Strange things are happening to him in NYC, and its like he is living a double life. Eventually he is able to find his way to a portal to Midworld. Once Roland and Jake are together again, the insanity ends for both of them.

The rest of the book is about the adventures they have while on their quest, which I won’t tell you about so as not to ruin it for you.

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BOOK REVIEW: Elevation by Stephen King

Elevation

Elevation is a novella with two separate stories which take place in Castle Rock. The first story is called “Elevation”, and is basically about a man who keeps losing weight, although he doesn’t change in appearance. Additionally, anything that he holds or touches has no weight while he is in contact with them. This story reminded me a little bit of “Thinner” by Stephen King.The second story is called “Laurie” and is about a widower who gets a new puppy from his sister. At first he doesn’t want the dog, but as most dogs do, she worms her way into his heart. “Laure” is a bonus story which is only available on the Audiobook and is not included with the written book.

Although I liked this novella, I think that it lacked in the scary or eerie elements that usually are Stephen King’s trademarks. Since the stories were so short, you also do not really get so invested in the characters.

However, since Stephen King is one of my favorite authors, I would always recommend to read his books. If you are looking for a quick holiday read (the Audiobook took about 4-5 hours), this would be a good one.

Check out this book on Goodreads: Elevation http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38355410-elevation

BOOK REVIEW: It by Stephen King

830502This great book has all the elements of a classic Stephen King novel: 1) good vs. evil; 2) something supernatural; and 3) both weird and oddly believable.  Stephen King who is one of my favorite authors began this book in 1981, and finished it in 1985. It is over 1,000 pages long (on audio book it is about 44 hours of listening)! It took me about a month to read, but it is well worth the time!

The first time I read this book was in 1998, when I was 15 years old.  Actually, I believe that this book was my introduction to the world of Stephen King — and I can honestly say, that I have loved everything I have read from this story weaving genius.  I have not had the opportunity to read all of his books (there are so many!), but It stands out there on a golden limb, together with other classic Stephen King books like Carrie and the Shining.

Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: It by Stephen King”