Book Review: The Outsider by Stephen King
A moving story about heinous murder and its effect on the families of both the victims and those found guilty of the crimes, tinged with King’s signature touch of the supernatural which had me sleeping with the lights on.
I found The Outsider to be a fantastic story. King paints a vivid picture of not only victim and perpetrator, but all the other innocents who are hurt by brutal, unspeakable murders. The novel went beyond the scope of the typical murder investigation of the sodomy and mutilation of young Frankie Peterson by well-respected coach Terry Maitland by addressing guilt, blame, and small-town shunning.
The police investigation was fast-paced enough to keep me interested without being predictable. By the time Ralph, the detective in charge of the case, makes what should be an unforgivable error in judgment, I was already drawn in by his character and accepting of his flaws. I am solidly on his side when he continues his investigation, even after being suspended, and puts his own life at risk to right his misdeed and stop the Outsider from killing again.
In the interest of avoiding spoilers, I’ll say only that some of King’s books are very heavy on the supernatural elements to the point of being outside the realm of what readers would consider “real-life plausibility.” However, The Outsider was written with such careful detail and reason that when King drops in the “out-of-the-norm” elements, I am as suspicious as Detective Ralph, but in the end, buy into it. The ending is perfect for making me reconsider what I think I know about how the universe works. There really is no end to it.