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  • Writer's pictureClay Anderson

Review of The Outsider by Stephen King

Updated: May 21, 2023

Stephen King has always been celebrated as a master storyteller, and his novel, The Outsider, is no exception. A thrilling and suspenseful narrative full of mystery and supernatural elements, this book will captivate readers from start to finish.

King's skillful storytelling takes the reader on a journey through the case of a brutal murder of an eleven-year-old boy, Frankie Peterson, resulting in the subsequent arrest and arraignment of the town’s respected and well-liked little league coach, Terry Maitland. The evidence is overwhelming, with eye-witnesses placing Maitland at the scene of the crime and forensic evidence connecting him to the murder.

However, as the investigation continues, circumstances become increasingly perplexing, with alibis, impossible locations, and eerie inconsistencies turning the case upside down. Despite all the evidence, the mystery deepens as more questions arise – could Terry Maitland be innocent of the heinous crime he is accused of? King takes the genre of crime thrillers and infuses it with his signature blend of supernatural elements.

The Outsider holds its audience from the first page and never lets up. King has the gift of presenting his characters in a realistic and relatable manner while still managing to keep all of the twists and turns happening all over the small town of Flint City. With his stellar writing, complex characters, and clever plotlines, the author firmly locks in his readers’ attention, never giving them space to breathe before plunging them right back into the twisted story.

King’s narrative is so gripping that it is almost impossible to put the book down once started. The Outsider is a master class in pacing and structure, with each chapter culminating in a cliffhanger that leaves the reader wanting to stay up all night to find out what happens next. King manages to keep his audience guessing until the very end, providing a resolution to the main storyline while still leaving some of the plot’s supernatural events and mysteries unexplained.

While many critics would argue that horror is King’s forte, he proves that a crime-thriller is right up his alley with The Outsider. King expertly weaves in supernatural elements, as well as intimate details of the characters' personal lives and struggles, resulting in a story that feels both grounded and fantastical.

Another aspect of The Outsider worth mentioning is the ensemble cast of characters, each with their individual personalities, thoughts, and perspectives. This is something King has mastered over his illustrious career, creating believable personalities and making them complex through their histories and relationships.

At the core of The Outsider are several interpersonal and societal themes, including the consequences of mob mentality and the potential for individual evil. Through the characters’ handling of these issues, readers can genuinely connect and see for themselves the plausible outcomes of certain decisions and actions. These themes are prevalent throughout the entirety of the book, paralleling real-life scenarios and making the novel much more than a simple crime tale.

In conclusion, The Outsider marks the latest chapter in Stephen King's unwavering career, and this novel is a must-read for fans of crime thrillers and supernatural elements. The narrative is fast-paced, suspense-filled and offers a fascinating and unique twist on the genre of crime novels. The author's remarkable ability to create complex characters and maintain his thrilling, suspenseful plot up until the final pages makes this novel a must-read. King's storytelling gift is undeniable, and once you read The Outsider, it is evident why he is a master of the genre. Overall, this book is a testament to Stephen King's captivating storytelling talent and is undoubtedly one of the best works in his extensive literary catalog.

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