The Outsider by Stephen King ~ Book Review

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TITLE: The Outsider (June 4, 2019)

AUTHOR:     Stephen King

RATING OVERVIEW ★★★★.★ (4.5)
Writing: ★★★★★
Story: ★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Appearance: ★★★★


Soon to be an HBO limited series starring Ben Mendelsohn!

Evil has many faces…maybe even yours in this #1 New York Times bestseller from master storyteller Stephen King.

An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is discovered in a town park (WARNING – IT IS VERY GRAPHIC). Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens—Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon have DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems iron-clad.

As the investigation expands and horrifying details begin to emerge, King’s story kicks into high gear, generating strong tension and almost unbearable suspense. Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face? When the answer comes, it will shock you as only Stephen King can.

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There has been so much talk about and praise giving to this book that I just had to read it and see if it lived up to the hype. In my opinion, yes… YES it does. I’m a huge King fan, but I’ll be the first to admit that some of his recent work, I’m talking in the last few years, hasn’t really been my favorite. This one however, I really loved this book. It is a classic good vs. evil story and yet it is still completely original and has the natural clearly Stephen King feel.

WRITING (★★★★★): Stephen King can weave words together like a spider weaves a web. His words are beautiful, haunting, freakishly terrifying, and they trap the reader like an unsuspecting fly never letting go until the spider is done with him.

The Outsider has an uneasy realness quality about it. It’s the same feeling you get when reading the Mr. Mercedes novels. Its less about the things that go bump in the night and more about the unexplainable murder mystery and wondering just how much of it could really happen. It isn’t until late in the novel that King introduces his signature supernatural twist. I won’t lie, I was waiting for it. I even predicted who the killer really was. I’ve read enough Stephen King to know there is always more to his stories than just the reality we live in and if you’re looking for them, he leaves breadcrumbs – or clues – along the way.

STORY (★★★★): The Outsider is a crime novel with a classic Stephen King supernatural twist. Because it comes in at just 560 pages, this one is rather easy, quick to read. It is well paced and definitely one I would recommend to anyone who loves crime thrillers.

Stephen King is great at making you relate to his stories. In The Outsider, he pulls you in right from the beginning with the introduction of a horrific crime that has been committed against an eleven year old boy. Immediately it activates the readers sense of sympathy and compassion for the family involved and the town in which the boy lived. It makes you biased against the man they have in custody before you even know if he is guilty or innocent. King makes you feel like the world he has created could be your own.

Like most King novels, there were no weak elements in this story.

CHARACTERS (★★★★★): King has put together a great cast of characters in this one. Like other books, many of his characters are just normal people experiencing the horrific crime that has taken place and King allows us to watch through their eyes. There is even a character from the Mr. Mercedes trilogy that makes an appearance, to help with the investigation. That was really cool. I love when he ties his novels together showing us exactly what world or King universe, they are playing in.   

APPEARANCE (★★★★): I love the cover! It is stunning.


“People had the mistaken idea that Poe wrote fantastic stories about the supernatural, when in fact he wrote realistic stories about abnormal psychology.”

“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

“Dreams are the way we touch the unseen world, that’s what I believe. They are a special gift.”


Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His first crime thriller featuring Bill Hodges, MR MERCEDES, won the Edgar Award for best novel and was shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger Award. Both MR MERCEDES and END OF WATCH received the Goodreads Choice Award for the Best Mystery and Thriller of 2014 and 2016 respectively.

King co-wrote the bestselling novel Sleeping Beauties with his son Owen King, and many of King’s books have been turned into celebrated films and television series including The Shawshank Redemption, Gerald’s Game The Shining, It, and the list goes on.

King was the recipient of America’s prestigious 2014 National Medal of Arts and the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for distinguished contribution to American Letters. In 2007 he also won the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America. He lives with his wife Tabitha King in Maine.

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Also by Stephen King…

I can’t list them all, but below are a few of my favorites. Just click on the cover photo to read the description and order your copy!

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My 2 Cents… 11.22.63 Hulu Mini-Series

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11.22.63 mini seriesMini-Series Title: 11.22.63
Creator: Bridget Carpenter
Based on a Novel by: Stephen King
Stars: James Franco (Jake Epping), Sarah Gadon (Sadie Dunhill),
George MacKay (Bill Turcotte), Chris Cooper (Al
Templeton), and Daniel Webber (Lee Harvey Oswald)

Writing: ★★★
Story: ★★★
Acting: ★★★★
Overall: ★★★ (3.333)


A teacher discovers a time portal that leads to October 21st, 1960 and goes on a quest to try and prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy, which is complicated by the presence of Lee Harvey Oswald and the fact that he’s falling in love with the past itself. Written by Anonymous

I was so excited when I finished the novel that I immediately turned on Hulu to find the mini-series. My hope, was to watch the story that Stephen King had created come to live. I wanted to watch as Jake Epping discovered the “rabbit hole”, see how he would handle Harry Dunning’s murderous father, watch him plot and plan how he would save the president, and… I wanted to watch as his relationship with Sadie turned from friendship to love.

Did Hulu give that to me? NO!

If I had watched the Hulu mini-series prior to reading the novel, maybe I would have enjoyed it more. However, having known the characters so well, having known what actually happened in the novel, I was SO DISAPPOINTED by the mini-series.

Although I think James Franco is a fine actor, I don’t feel he was the right choice for Epping. He just isn’t strong enough and he doesn’t feel the part. Chris Cooper was wonderful as Al Templeton as was Sarah Gadon who played Sadie Dunhill.

There were so many deviations… changes that were made when the mini-series was developed, things that just didn’t have to be changed. Some of the minor ones that just irked me a bit where:

  • The book, like so many Stephen King books, connects to other Stephen King books. In particular the mention of the Derry murders… IT! We even get to see two of the young children, Beverly Marsh and Richie Tozier, while Epping is in Derry… However, the mini-series leaves this out… WHY?
  • In the book, we get to see Epping learn about how his actions in the past affect the future when he first goes back to stop Harry Dunning’s father from killing his family. When he returns to the present, he finds out that Harry once alive is not dead. He then goes back to the past to try again… Why the producers decided to take that out, I don’t understand.
  • The relationship between Al Templeton and Jake Epping is beautifully written in the book… We also get a better feel for why Al chose Jake to share his secret and we understand more why Jake decides to go. In the mini-series, the spread the conversation between Al and Jake out across the series, instead of putting it all up front and then letting Al die (LIKE IN THE BOOK). The book gives a finality to the relationship, an urgency to Jake’s decision, and a purpose that the series didn’t do.
  • There is virtually no character development for the students at the school Jake teaches at in the past. We don’t get to know Bobbi Jill Allnut or Mike Coslaw. We don’t watch them grow as people. The book allows these smaller characters to shine… I think the producers forgot they even existed.

That was just 4 of MANY minor differences that bothered me along the way… The thing is, the book was 849 pages, that was more than enough material to make a wonderful 8-episode series. Yet, I found myself saying “That wasn’t in the book,” “That never happened in the novel,” over and over as I watched the series. WHY?


  • In the series Bill Turcotte, played by George MacKay, was a huge part of the story. He became Epping’s side-kick… his brother from another mother… his support system. WHAT? WHY? In the book, King left Epping to carry the responsibility of saving the president on his own. Epping didn’t run around telling everyone he was from the future, that the president was going to die, and soliciting help. In the novel, Bill Turcotte played a small role, important but small, and his role ended when Epping killed Harry’s father. That is where it should have ended in the show as well.
  • Again, with Bill Turcotte… WHY did the series have to make Bill Turcotte fall in love with Lee Harvey Oswald’s wife? That side story was not in the book, did not further the story in any way, and was completely unnecessary!
  • Relationship and character development are one of Stephen King’s strongest talents… he laid out the unconventional (for the early 60s) interracial relationship between Deke Simmons (played by Nick Searcy) and Mia Mimi Corcoran (played by Tonya Pinkins) so beautifully. In the series… well, their relationship didn’t really exist. We never got to see that love affair, and yet we were supposed to just believe Mimi when she told Jake that she was dying and that she loved Deke and he loved her. We didn’t get to see the wedding… but they, at some point, got married. SHOW US, the book did!
  • Mia Mimi Corcoran… She was a pivotal character in the novel and yet, the series all but reduced her role to almost nothing. We didn’t celebrate her wedding to Deke Simmons, we didn’t mourn her when she died… in fact, the viewer has no idea she died… she is just gone one day and eventually there is mention of her death.

I didn’t list everything, I don’t have time. I guess I just wanted to prove a point… the book is often times (99%) better than this show/series/movie. This novel was fantastic and I highly recommend reading it, but the series more than disappointed me. Purchase your copy of 11/22/63 by Stephen King HERE!

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You can watch the official trailers and video clips here:

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Want to know my thoughts on the novel by Stephen King? Check out my blog post HERE

You can also check out my YouTube review of 11/22/63 by Stephen King below: