Anyone who’s avidly read King over the years will know all too well that his novels can be extremely hit and miss. It’s simply just how it is for a lot of us. Having said that, I’m always in an open mindset when entering new SK work; which way will this one swing on the ratings scale?
The Outsider, from the synopsis, had such promise and intrigue. A brutal child murder. An impossible scenario of being in two places simultaneously. I was all set-up for an intense + thrilling read. HOWEVER, I left feeling…deflated.
To begin with, the writing style itself often didn’t even seem like the King I’m so accustomed to. I’ve seen speculation around the possibility of that being due to age, but it doesn’t add up that your signature way with words would change that much? Secondly, the overwhelming amount of character interviews just grated on me, not to mention the waffling between the characters themselves. Was it all relevant? No probably not. But did it add to the reading experience? Also probably not.
*HERE’S WHERE THE SPOILERS COME IN*
The premise: someone being in two places at once.
My reaction: OOOOO how is THIS going to pan out?!
The reality: it was a monster. Bet you didn’t see that one coming.
My new reaction: eye rolling so hard that I can see the back of my own head + the nonexistent monster who’s coming to devour my brains.
Now, I’m well aware that King is all about the paranormal; things that go bump in the night and shit everyone up. But this was really not the right kind of book to add that into. For me, it either had to be all suspense + REALITY or all suspense + PARANORMAL. Many of you may disagree and I welcome that kind of difference in opinion. The depressing dullness of everyone agreeing sends me into such a state of desperate despair. Alas, I am still feeling guilty for having to give this read such a negative review. I appreciate that coming up with entirely new stories for decades upon decades is, at best, a mammoth task. So yes I do admire the work, effort + sweat that must have gone into every paragraph. However, for me, it just didn’t land.
Sorry SK. I still love you 🖤