Well, we’ve finished another book in book club, ‘The Outsider’ by Stephen King. I’m not super excited about this one but just because I didn’t like it, doesn’t mean that you won’t. After all, that’s what a review is for. To help you make a decision on whether you want to read it. So although it may not be my cup of tea, I’ll try not to ruin it for you.
When reading the synopsis of what ‘The Outsider’ is about, we were super excited because it was a murder mystery. We weren’t thrilled about the fact that it’s over 500 pages but it’s a sacrifice that we were willing to make because it sounded so good. It’s also my first Stephen King book so I’m not familiar with his style of writing which is overly developing characters.
The story starts when Terry Maitland is publicly arrested for the brutal murder of a little boy in town. They arrest Maitland during a little league game where he is the coach and everyone is there to witness this humiliating encounter. All signs point to Terry Maitland as the murderer. From DNA forensics as well multiple witnesses saying they saw him on the day. Because it seemed like a clear open shut case, Detective Ralph Anderson didn’t bother to do any additional investigation. Instead, he decides to make the call to arrest Maitland. A decision that will haunt him for the rest of his life.
The first part of ‘The Outsider’ is captivating. It’s like being a detective, reading each of the witnesses testimonies and trying to piece together the possibilities. Now, once we jump to the second half, it slows down a bit. The thing that truly ruined it for me was the paranormal aspect. We are now not dealing with an actual person who committed this murder but rather some sort of spirit. We are introduced to this idea when Maitland’s daughter see’s something that resembles her father but isn’t him. Then, Jeannie, Ralph’s wife, also encounters something similar in the middle of the night with an “intruder.” So who is this?
Holly now joins the novel when they hire her to help try to do some real digging and understand what is going on here. This is where King completely lost me. She brings up the idea to the group that there is this paranormal monster or “el cuco” as she calls it, which is doing all of this. It sounds outrageous but a part of them actually believes her which is so strange and unreal in my opinion.
Things start to really drag when they all take a trip to Texas to investigate further and meet with Claude and his Mom, Lovie. Not that she isn’t a lovely old lady, but she talks so much it’s hard to follow. I caught myself two pages deep and forgetting what I even read because she went on for so long about the history of the Marysville hole. Again, not that it isn’t important detail, but sometimes it’s just too much.
Now, you’ll have to read the book yourself to know how it ends. But, I will say that it had resemblances of “It” for me and that’s all that I’ll give away. This super lengthy novel could have been done in probably about 300 pages without all of the excess detail. Detail is good, but too much is just boring and redundant. The character development was also a little overdone as well as the introduction of too many characters.
One thing that King did which made it more confusing was go back and forth between using their first and last names. One minute he’s saying Ralph, then he’s saying Detective Anderson. In an already long book, these small things matter to help with comprehension. So because of this, I give it a 3 out of 5 but I highly recommend that you read it yourself to be your own judge. You may love it!