The Outsider

Stephen King

Shelfie Score: 47%

Likeminded Reader Score: Login

Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Pages: 576


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, o...

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Mark Housley

Title: The Outsider

Author: Stephen King

Publication Date: May 2018

Genre: Horror

Score: 4/5

The Outsider is a crime fiction horror mashup that works well. In it, in a tragic miscarriage of justice, Terry Maitland is accused of a crime he didn’t commit despite all evidence to the contrary. The lead detective struggles to understand the related events surrounding the crime and its aftermath. There is a hard turn in the middle and the more traditional King style narrative comes out. There is a resolution but at great cost, again as traditional King plot structure. King is often derided for having no real endings to his novels and this one avoids that with a satisfying ending.

The main character is the lead detective, Ralph Anderson. I want to describe characters on a scale of development, so I’ll give him a 3.5/5. His motivations are well described in reference to the crime and aftermath but less so with regard to his background. Most of the secondary characters are about a 2.5/5 for development. This is mostly plot driven.

There’s some symbolism of Trump and the current administration which King often does. King’s politics are well known, and he throws several jabs at current events. This is an explicit novel, maybe more so than his other works. The description of the child who is killed is detailed and horrific. Stomach turning really. The novel turns from a police procedural to a horror novel in a dramatic fashion with a mid-novel climax that is both epic and scary.

This book’s style is in keeping with King’s recent works. It’s his best since 11/22/63, although that might have something to do with the format in which I consumed this novel- audiobook. Listening to a book adds one other layer of review and that is for the narrator and style. I’ll give the audiobook a 3/5. Maybe it’s me, but I don’t care for a narrator giving accents to the characters. Particularly for Holly, the narrator missed the mark although I never felt like quitting listening. Still, the book was very good. Recommended.


The Outsider is a high suspense, highly original return to form for King after a few sub-par offerings in recent years. I wasn't exactly afraid but I was totally riveted as the story developed from a more traditional crime/suspense novel into the supernatural with a bit of horror thrown in, in really unexpected ways. Fantastic climax to the novel and a cast of really exciting, varied and believable characters. I especially enjoyed the shared universe element of this novel that King always does so well (and did it before it was cool) as Holly Gibney from the Mr Mercedes books makes an appearance. Note that if you haven't read the Mr Mercedes trilogy yet there are spoilers for it in this book.


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