EXCERPT: When Marcy Maitland was in Junior High ( that was what it was still called when she went there), she sometimes had a nightmare that she turned up in homeroom naked, and everyone laughed. ‘Stupid Marcy Gibson forgot to get dressed this morning! Look, you can see everything!’ By the time she got to high school, this anxiety dream had been replaced by a slightly more sophisticated one where she arrived in class clothed, but realising she was about to take the biggest test of her life and had forgotten to study.
When she turned off Barnum Street and onto Barnum Court, the horror and the helplessness of those dreams returned, and this time there would be no sweet relief and muttered ‘Thank God’ when she woke up. In her driveway was a cop car that could have been the twin of the one which had conveyed Terry to the police station. Parked behind it was a windowless truck with STATE POLICE MOBILE CRIME UNIT printed on the side in big blue letters. Bookending the driveway was a pair of black OHP cruisers, with their lightbars strobing in the day’s growing gloom. Four large troopers, their County Mounty hats making them look at least seven feet tall, stood on the sidewalk, their legs spread (‘as if their balls are too big to keep them together,’ she thought). These things were bad enough, but not the worst. The worst was her neighbours, standing out on their lawns and watching. Did they know why this police presence had suddenly materialised in front of the neat Maitland ranch house? She guessed that most already did – the curse of cell phones – and they would tell the rest.
ABOUT THIS BOOK: When an eleven-year-old boy is found murdered in a town park, reliable eyewitnesses undeniably point to the town’s popular Little League coach, Terry Maitland, as the culprit. DNA evidence and fingerprints confirm the crime was committed by this well-loved family man.
Horrified by the brutal killing, Detective Ralph Anderson, whose own son was once coached by Maitland, orders the suspect to be arrested in a public spectacle. But Maitland has an alibi. And further research confirms he was indeed out of town that day.
As Anderson and the District Attorney trace the clues, the investigation expands from Ohio to Texas. And as horrifying answers begin to emerge, so King’s propulsive story of almost unbearable suspense kicks into high gear.
Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy but there is one rock-hard fact, as unassailable as gravity: a man cannot be in two places at the same time. Can he?
MY THOUGHTS: Well Mr King, it was nice to sit with you a while. I have to admit that I didn’t much care for your last book, Sleeping Beauties, which you wrote in collaboration with your son Owen (it only just scraped into a 😍😍😍 rating). But this? This is classic King.
Yes, it took me a while to read, but only because I rationed it. I wanted to make it last, to draw it out and savour it. Like a bottle of fine French wine, or a box of Belgian chocolates. If you scoff them down, they’re gone. You think, ‘Darn, that was good, but I wish I ‘d saved a bit for later.’ So that’s what I did. I just nibbled away at it. I went back and re-read passages, swirled them around in my mind, appreciated them. And then I would reverently tuck the book away until next time.
It wasn’t easy, Mr King. No sir, don’t think that it was. You have a siren’s call. I would walk past, and my fingers would linger on the cover, caressing, itching to flip to the bookmarked page. Even opened it a couple of times. . . maybe read a word, a line or two. Okay, a page or two. It’s an addiction, you see. And you know all about addiction, don’t you Mr King. But inspired by your own good fight, I (mostly) resisted, kept myself under control.
It was nice to be reunited with Holly again. A pity Jerome couldn’t join us. And Holly is not the only one who misses Bill. No sir. We all miss Bill.
And the Outsider? Well, I have the feeling that he will be back. In one form or another. Feeding on our fears, that little bit of evil that most of us carry buried deep inside us (with some people, not so deep, and occasionally not buried at all). Because there’s always that gap, isn’t there Mr King, that fissure we create through which things not quite of this world find that they can join us. ..
What was that, Mr King? No comment?
Well as I said before Mr King, it has been nice to see you again. But some of us have a job to go to so that we can buy your next book, and I guess you have some writing to get on with. Do call again.
THE AUTHOR: Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father’s family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, Maine, for good. Her parents, Guy and Nellie Pillsbury, had become incapacitated with old age, and Ruth King was persuaded by her sisters to take over the physical care of them. Other family members provided a small house in Durham and financial support. After Stephen’s grandparents passed away, Mrs. King found work in the kitchens of Pineland, a nearby residential facility for the mentally challenged.
Stephen attended the grammar school in Durham and Lisbon Falls High School, graduating in 1966. From his sophomore year at the University of Maine at Orono, he wrote a weekly column for the school newspaper, THE MAINE CAMPUS. He was also active in student politics, serving as a member of the Student Senate. He came to support the anti-war movement on the Orono campus, arriving at his stance from a conservative view that the war in Vietnam was unconstitutional. He graduated in 1970, with a B.A. in English and qualified to teach on the high school level. A draft board examination immediately post-graduation found him 4-F on grounds of high blood pressure, limited vision, flat feet, and punctured eardrums.
He met Tabitha Spruce in the stacks of the Fogler Library at the University, where they both worked as students; they married in January of 1971. As Stephen was unable to find placement as a teacher immediately, the Kings lived on his earnings as a laborer at an industrial laundry, and her student loan and savings, with an occasional boost from a short story sale to men’s magazines.
Stephen made his first professional short story sale (“The Glass Floor”) to Startling Mystery Stories in 1967. Throughout the early years of his marriage, he continued to sell stories to men’s magazines. Many were gathered into the Night Shift collection or appeared in other anthologies.
In the fall of 1971, Stephen began teaching English at Hampden Academy, the public high school in Hampden, Maine. Writing in the evenings and on the weekends, he continued to produce short stories and to work on novels.
DISCLOSURE: I own my copy of The Outsider by Stephen King, just as I own a copy of every book he has ever written.
All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system.
This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2403914111