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Stephen King, 'The Outsider'

Fresh from his Bill Hodges series, Stephen King's latest offering is another crime story, but with a significant dose of horror at its clouded core.

An eleven-year-old boy is killed, and his corpse violated. School teacher and Little league coach Terry Maitland is quickly arrested on the basis of solid DNA and fingerprint evidence, vouchsafed by reliable eyewitness testimony. But there is one significant snag: Maitland can prove that he was miles away at the time the boy died.

A combination of crime and horror - of cold, procedural detail on the one hand, and gruesome, spine-chilling revelations on the other - from the pen of a master of both genres, this is one of King's most memorable psychological thrillers, eerily reminiscent of his '80s award-winner 'It', made all the more satisfying by the maturity and depth which the author now brings to his subject.

An extraordinary tale of guilt, innocence and blame, 'The Outsider' rummages in the darkest corners of our societal soul to furnish an outstanding, if highly unsettling, tale of the first order.

A version of this review first appeared in Issue #563 of The Big Issue Australia, 1 June 2018.

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