Synopses & Reviews
On an island off the coast of Maine, a man is found dead. There's no identification on the body. Only the dogged work of a pair of local newspapermen and a graduate student in forensics turns up any clues, and it's more than a year before the man is identified.
And that's just the beginning of the mystery. Because the more they learn about the man and the baffling circumstances of his death, the less they understand. Was it an impossible crime? Or something stranger still...?
No one but Stephen King could tell this story about the darkness at the heart of the unknown and our compulsion to investigate the unexplained. With echoes of Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon and the work of Graham Greene, one of the world's great storytellers presents a moving and surprising tale whose subject is nothing less than the nature of mystery itself...
"[Signature] Reviewed by Orson Scott Card The Hard Case Crime series is a wonderful idea: a mix of original and reprinted hard-boiled detective novels by some of the best writers in the field, packaged to look like lurid 1940s and 1950s thrillers. And getting Stephen King to write a new novel as part of the series was quite a coup. King is the author of record when it comes to fiction set in America in recent decades, and here he is with a noir detective story. Alas, what he actually turned in was a cozy, a sort of Jan Karon take on the hard-boiled genre. And at the end, it turns out to be rather arty if by 'arty' you mean 'doesn't answer any important questions.' Fresh out of journalism school, Stephanie McCann is an intern at a weekly newspaper in an obscure corner off the coast of Maine. She is writing homey features and reporting on trivial stories, but she rather enjoys it. Then a big-city reporter comes to town to gather stories about 'unsolved mysteries.' The paper's owner and the managing editor send him away unsatisfied, and then tell Stephanie the only real unsolved mystery on the island.The banter between the two old men provides all kinds of local color, but it also means the pace of the storytelling is glacial. It takes most of chapter one to explain why they filch the cash the big-city reporter left to pay for a meal. We're in chapter five before they start telling the story that gives the book its title. Years earlier, two high school sweethearts found a dead body on the beach. There was no identification, and only a few items found with the body gave any hope of telling where he was from. It isn't until too many chapters later, after much meandering, that the old men tell Stephanie (and us) how they found out the man was from Colorado, which led to the identification of the body. By the end we have learned little more than this: the man may or may not have been murdered; he could only just barely have made it to Maine from Colorado in time to die on that beach; and he had no known reason to make such a frantic trip in the first place. Nor do we actually care, since none of the characters do. They're only telling the story in order to explain that it's not a story at all a conclusion with which readers will heartily agree. The real mystery: why would the editors publish a story that will only frustrate anyone looking for the kind of hard-boiled detective novel they're promised on the cover? Stephen King is a very good writer, so even when telling a nonstory at elaborate length he is quite readable. I would have enjoyed this piece in a magazine. It's the misleading presentation that will rankle. Card's most recent novel is Magic Street (Del Rey)." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[P]owerful storytelling. King appears to be fumbling in his tackle box when, in fact, he's already slipped the hook into our cheeks and is pulling us inexorably toward the bemusing, maddening...final page." Booklist
"Although the book may not wholly satisfy horror fans or follow the beaten path of pulp crime novels...[it] will speak to those who appreciate good storytelling....Quintessential King." Library Journal
"The Colorado Kid is an odd book. It has only three characters who matter, or four if you count the dead man....King rejects convention. He stretches the mystery out to novel-length, by endless padding, and offers no solution." Patrick Anderson, The Washington Post
"Like Christine, the deranged car from one of his best-known novels, King seems incapable of slowing down. The latest evidence? The Colorado Kid, a taut tale filled with engaging characters and old-school suspense. It eschews trademark gore in favor of enchanting meditations on unsolved crimes and unresolved stories. (Grade: B+)" Christian Science Monitor
The world's most popular author turns from horror to noir with this novel. A novice newspaperwoman gains insight into the nature of mystery itself when her journalism mentors tell her about a 25-year-old unsolved investigation involving a man found dead on an island off the coast of Maine. Original.
About the Author
Stephen King was born in Portland, Maine, in 1947, the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. He made his first professional short story sale in 1967 to Startling Mystery Stories. In the fall of 1973, he began teaching high school English classes 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. In the spring of 1973, Doubleday & Co., accepted the novel Carrie
for publication, providing him the means to leave teaching and write full-time. He has since published over 40 books and has become one of the world's most successful writers.
Stephen lives in Maine and Florida with his wife, novelist Tabitha King. They are regular contributors to a number of charities, including many libraries, and have been honored locally for their philanthropic activities.