Review: The Outsider

Stephen King is the king of horror. I believe I haven’t talked here much about it, but I’m a bit of a cinephile. I absolutely love watching films, especially thrillers, suspense, or horror. Given that, it’s no surprise that I’ve already seen plenty of movies and TV shows based on books by Stephen King. However, I was always somewhat reluctant to read a book written by him, thinking that seeing a film or a series would be enough. I was so wrong.

For those who don’t know, The Outsider starts when an eleven-year-old boy is brutally murdered in Flint City. All the evidence points at one of the most beloved of Flint City’s citizens: Terry Maitland. He’s a little league coach, school teacher, husband, and father of two daughters. Detective Ralph Anderson orders his detainment during a baseball game, so all neighbors are there to witness it. Maitland has a solid alibi that demonstrated he was elsewhere during the moment of the crime, but the DNA evidence shows the contrary. But Anderson is not satisfied with the outcome, even when the case is closed. Maitland seems like a good man, he even trained Anderson’s son, so how could he have committed such a crime? And the most bizarre of all questions: how can he be at two places at once?

The plot was engaging and well-developed. It was easy to empathize with the main characters, especially Ralph Anderson and Holly Gibney. What I enjoyed most while reading this book was the different points of view. It’s written in third-person, so the reader is also provided with bits of perspectives from a few secondary characters, even an antagonist. All of these fragments add up the puzzle pieces that help understand the whole situation better.

Another aspect I’d like to point out is Stephen King’s style of writing. Certain parts of the prose were so delightful, it didn’t feel like a horror novel. However, *drum roll please* that same delightful prose possessed the precision to describe gruesome scenes in detail. And let’s not forget, this shadow lurking monster ready to suck all happiness away. As much as I love scary films, reading scary books is a whole different experience. The way you’ll visualize things is up to you — and I have quite a vivid imagination. So yes, some chapters were frightening.

Do I recommend this book? Yes
Will it be my last time reading a book by Stephen King? Definitely not

Rating: 4/5

“Dreams are the way we touch the unseen world.”

— Stephen King, The Outsider

P.S. I also watched the show on HBO and is wasn’t as good. The way it was directed felt rather dull, the book has more action. Read the book instead.

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