TITLE: The Colorado Kid
AUTHOR: Stephen King
PUBLISHER: Dorchester Publishing Company, Inc.
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RATING: 4 out of 5 stars
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…
Stephen King is my number one, all time, favorite author. Of course, every now and then he announces that he’s no longer writing, or no longer publishing novels, and less than a year later, something else by him appears in print. I haven’t yet figured out if that’s a publicity stint or if he thinks he’s really serious each time he says it. How can a writer retire? It’s not like acting; you write for the same reason you get up in the morning, the same reason you breathe ~ because you have to. Whether or not you publish it is an entirely different beast.
That said, this book was released as one in an imprint of republished pulp mysteries intermingled with new books by contemporary authors (given pulp covers to blend in with the rest of the line). Stephen King doesn’t really do mystery, as you’ll find when you read the book ~ there is no solution to the death.
The story of the Colorado Kid ~ a man from Colorado (natch) found dead on the Maine coast one morning with no signs of foul play ~ is told to the reader as a story told from two grizzled newsmen to an intern. This “story within a story” device is a favorite of King’s ~ it distances the reader from the action of the plot while allowing characters not directly impacted by the tale postulate on it.
I’m not a fan of the device, but King can weave a good tale and I enjoyed this one, even if it left me hanging. The mystery is unsolved and, as the reader discovers, unsolvable ~ King doesn’t wrap it up in a tidy bow at the end of the book. But the story is more than a dead man on a beach; it’s about the intern from Ohio becoming inexplicably entwined in the rustic island life of Maine and perhaps choosing to stay there after the internship is over.
This is a very quick read ~ I got through it in a few hours.