The Outsider by Stephen King is a book that almost checks all the boxes – almost. Yes, it is a throwback to his earlier horror style. Yes, it is written in a very readable voice. Yes, it is paced well and keeps you interested. So what’s not to like?

Well, the fact that King feels the need to insert his politics really takes the reader out of the story. Sure, he tries to be subtle about it and an occasional slip would be forgivable, but he can’t resist throwing it in time and again. 

I also take umbrage with the lack of knowledge and seeming hatred he has for Texas. Yes, we know you’re a liberal north-easterner but feel free to mix in a bit of research when you finally use a setting outside of Maine for one of your books.

Politics aside, the book is classic Stephen King. He does a great job of selling creepiness. There is likely more creepiness in his stories because he insists on fantasizing (on paper) about some pretty sick stuff. His writing style uses very realistic dialogue and thus does a good job of building characters – that, combined with an excellent narrator (like Will Patton in this audiobook) completely sells the realism of his characters.

Unfortunately, his payoff is often a bit odd. Much like the big spider-thingy at the end of It, the payoff in The Outsider is again odd. Overlook the politics and you will find this book a quick and entertaining read. FYI, I also just noticed that the book came out as a TV series on HBO. It will be interesting to see if it follows the book.

by Chris Doelle