Book Reviews

The Outsider by Stephen King Book Review. #BookBlogger #BookBloggers #BookReview #BookReviews #Review #TheOutsider #StephenKing

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  • The Outsider.
  • Stephen King.
  • 496 pages.
  • Thriller / Supernatural Thriller / Horror / Fiction.
  • My Rating: Hell Yeah Book Review.

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Book Blurb.

When an eleven-year-old boy is found murdered in a town park, reliable eyewitnesses undeniably point to the town’s popular Little League coach, Terry Maitland, as the culprit. DNA evidence and fingerprints confirm the crime was committed by this well-loved family man.

Horrified by the brutal killing, Detective Ralph Anderson, whose own son was once coached by Maitland, orders the suspect to be arrested in a public spectacle. But Maitland has an alibi. And further research confirms he was indeed out of town that day.

As Anderson and the District Attorney trace the clues, the investigation expands from Ohio to Texas. And as horrifying answers begin to emerge, so King’s propulsive story of almost unbearable suspense kicks into high gear.

Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy but there is one rock-hard fact, as unassailable as gravity: a man cannot be in two places at the same time. Can he?


Book Review.

Terry Maitland is well liked and respected within the community of Flint City. He is married with two young daughters, an English teacher and also a Little League and City League baseball coach. Terry is accused of the horrific and unspeakable murder of eleven-year-old Frank Peterson.

Everything points to Terry Maitland, everything. The police don’t even question him before arresting him, they are that sure that he is guilty and with the horror of the crime scene still haunting them, to make sure that it doesn’t happen again and to make an example that atrocious crimes like that won’t be tolerated they make a very public arrest of Terry, arresting him whilst he is coaching a City League baseball game in front of a packed stadium.

The case comes unglued, even with all the evidence against him, the irrefutable proof that he is guilty, Terry has an airtight alibi. Terry has his own irrefutable proof that he is innocent, that he can’t possibly be responsible for the death of Frank Peterson. It is an impossible crime that Detective Ralph Anderson must solve. One in which he must attempt to uncover the mystery and fit the pieces of the puzzle together as he tries to figure out the plausible answers to the conundrum that has presented itself, how can one man possibly have been in two places at once?

The first half of The Outsider is a top quality thriller and then, about halfway through the story alters course, changes direction and King imbues the story that has been unfolding with a supernatural twist. At first, it is akin to a glimpse, something that is seen out of the corner of your eye before later coming to the forefront.

I’ve read a few reviews and I can understand the grievances and why some people didn’t like the abrupt turn into supernatural territory. For me, I really liked the addition of the supernatural, the combination when done right can work extremely well and in The Outsider, I felt like it wasn’t just shoe-horned in for the sake of it and that by way of the folklore, the myth and the legend present that it was implemented really well into the overall story by King. The natural and the supernatural, the worldly and the otherworldly, the two world’s colliding, coming together, not fighting each other or warring but blending, merging and forming the story as a whole. Allowing the seamless transition from a thriller with an impossible mystery to solve into a supernatural thriller with an understated hint of horror.

There are lots of scenes throughout The Outsider that evoke a sense of place and that are powerful (like the devastating fallout and consequences for the Peterson family) and there is one scene that, in particular, I feel deserves a mention. That scene is the arraignment for Terry Maitland and the journey from the county jail to the courthouse, the pack mentality and the vitriol of the baying crowds who are out for Maitland’s blood seeps from off the pages and it is a cauldron waiting to boil over.

King is a master at characterisation. Whether the characters are the main characters, those with a smaller role to play in the overall story or, simply, those who appear for a couple of paragraphs before fading away the characterisation on display in The Outsider by King is stellar and they all feel like real people. Out of those included in the story, I really liked Detective Ralph Anderson, his wife, Jeannie, Lieutenant Yune Sablo, the investigator Holly Gibney and Lovie Bolton who is only a minor character but there was just something endearing about the dear old gal. For some of the characters, they will have to open their eyes and their minds to the possibility that, start believing that there is more out there than they realise, that there are evil and malevolent things not of this world and that the things that go bump in the night, the Boogeyman might really exist. In his search for answers, the investigation into the mystery of Terry Maitland seemingly being in two places at once will take Anderson from Flint City, Oklahoma to Dayton, Ohio culminating in the dusty bowl of Marysville, a small town in Texas.

The Outsider, for me, was a book that had a sense of alluring darkness to it, an unsettling feeling throughout, a tale of dark deeds and of a dark being. It was a book to savour, not a book to rush through but one to take my time with and to digest every page that I read. I found myself gripped to the story from the opening pages all the way through to the culmination of the tale and the satisfying ending.

With The Outsider, King has effortlessly woven together and combined the supernatural with a premier thriller to create an impressive tale.


Purchase The Outsider.

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45 thoughts on “The Outsider by Stephen King Book Review. #BookBlogger #BookBloggers #BookReview #BookReviews #Review #TheOutsider #StephenKing

  1. I really liked this one as well 🙂
    Whenever i read a Stephen King book, i pretty much expect that there will be some supernatural stuff.
    I love how he writes characters and as you said as well, even the smaller characters are properly done, and feel like real people.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I know a ton of “seasoned” readers of his didn’t like the series because it ventured away from his older stuff. Honestly, I think it is one of the best trilogies I have ever been through.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent review! I love The Outsider. I also never understand people who complain when a King book takes a supernatural turn… I mean how many books has he written really that don’t? Off the top of my head I can think of exactly two that don’t. (Three, maybe four if you count the beginnings of the Bill Hodges trilogy.) out of the 60+ something that he’s written.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks.

      Ha, yeah that is very true. I can understand people not liking the supernatural being included. Personally, I really like it in thrillers but when the book is by King you expect it so…who knows!😂 If it was another author, a new author, etc then I could understand it as they perhaps didn’t expect it but everyone knows Stephen King and the type of stuff that he writes. Probably best just to put it down to you can’t please everyone and someone will always complain. Grimdark being dark, King containing the supernatural.😂

      Like

  3. Cracking review Drew. I felt that the story was always going to have a supernatural denouement, and it fitted the story beautifully. Also, knowing that Holly Gibney was in it my suspicions were raised anyway 😅 As others have said, if you read King you usually have to expect something spooky and otherworldly to happen sooner or later. 😆 A great book from the Master.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Someone bought me this book as a gift, it’s on my to read list, which continues to grow at an alarming rate (note to self, stop putting so many damn books, in that shopping basket)🙂 Lyndsey.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. It is good that I didn’t buy it, but it’s still at the bottom of a massive pile I did buy, lol!😁

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve seen the film but not read the series.😂 I’ve heard nothing but great things about the first book in the series, books two and three too but then I’ve heard poor things about the later books in the series. I might well pick up the first book to try though.

      It’s not that dark but it is a dark story. The murder is referenced quite a lot and it is dark, really horrendous but overall the book for the content isn’t too dark.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hot Take from me , I am not a huge King fan , his stories are good but his writing and pacing bothers me big time , I want to invest in his plot but every book of his I’ve read , I find a huge number of pages that leave me bored.

    This book here already feels too much for me , I gotta admit , I feel like those readers who have issues with the sudden butting in of the supernatural element. That said , another super review , I’m already taking notes from your review to improve mine .

    Liked by 1 person

      1. There’s absolutely no need for doubts man , I absolutely try to learn from your blogging style , I fail but I try

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for this review. I have to say i’m ambivalent about this book – I am part way through and really finding it hard going. I mean things seem SO stacked against Terry but I can see the twist coming, and I’m getting a bit sick of the repeated “you’re guilty, you ****, aren’t you?” moments. May give it another chance.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The appearance of the uncanny element did not bother me – after all, why pick up a King book if not because one expects the supernatural to make an appearance? – and like you I loved the “pack mentality” described in the chapter about the arraignment, the way normal people can turn into a blood-thirsty mob. What left me slightly dissatisfied were some of the characterizations, but all things considered this was my first King book after a long hiatus, and it was a good read, so I could not ask for more. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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