Stephen King’s new novel eschews his usual ‘go to’ supernatural/horror plot lines, and instead provides an action thriller set firmly in the real world. The title character is a contract killer, a gun for hire, who is persuaded to take on one last assignment – and as everyone knows, it’s always the last job before retirement where things go horribly wrong. Without giving too much away, what you might initially think will be the story’s climax comes only half way through, but there’s still a whole lot more twists and turns to come. As the main plot gradually unfolds, the hit man writes his life story from growing up in a children’s home to fighting in Iraq with the Marines – those days ‘in the sand’ are particularly vividly told, the comradeship, the fear as to what lies behind every door and window as they clear houses of insurgents in what they name Lalafallujah in homage to Lollapalooza, with some startling imagery such as a stray dog trotting through the rubble with a human hand in its mouth. The main storyline, although initially something of a slow burner, plays to one of King’s strengths in depicting life in small town America and the people who live there. The book deals with love, luck, redemption and fate in a world where nothing is black and white, but it’s also about the art of writing and the ability to create believable alternate fictional realities – and on that note King cleverly throws in a few references to one of his earliest classics along the way too. A very good read, one that’s slightly different to his usual work, that will of course appeal to his army of fans, but which is also very accessible and should therefore reach out to newcomers to his work.
Length of Read:Long
Might appeal to people who enjoyed…
Other King novels, crime thrillers.
One thing you’ve learned
If you prefer King in supernatural mode, you could do worse than check out the novella ‘Later’ published earlier this year.