Stephen King — proclaimed King of Horror hailing from Maine — has penned more than 60 novels in his lifetime. I first began reading King as a teenager. Always drawn more to his mysteries than horror, “The Outsider” appealed to me. 

The novel begins with the revelation of an unspeakable and unsettling crime: The body of a boy, just 11, is found at a town park in town of Flint City. 

Evidence and eyewitness reports point to a well-known and respected local citizen, Terry Maitland. He’s not only known as the local nice guy and an all-around popular citizen, but he’s a respected English teacher, a coach of little league, doting husband and father of two daughters. 

Detective Ralph Anderson is set to the case. He’s quick to make a public and attention-grabbing arrest of Maitland. 

Maitland carries an alibi, which is quickly quashed as evidence builds up with fingerprints and supporting DNA at the scene of the murder. It looks like an open and shut, solid case. 

It is anything but.

The perplexing story unfolds further as the investigation digs deeper still and new evidence is uncovered. New corners are turned and other questions arise. Suspense builds, tensions are pulled taunt and the mystery becomes thicker. 

There are supernatural elements tied into this novel, as with so many other King novels. They are so well written and drawn out, however, they feel perfectly plausible, and even make sense.

“The Outsider” is King at his best — his usually long-drawn prose drawn tight and impactful in this anything but average murder mystery novel. 

“The Outsider” is a soon-to-be limited series on HBO.

“Reality is thin ice, but most people skate on it their whole lives and never fall through until the very end.”