Terry Maitland is a pillar of the community in Flint City, Oklahoma, and a very popular Little League coach. His DNA is found at the scene of a brutal murder and eyewitness identify him at the scene. He is also documented being in another town at the exact same time of the murder.
Detective Ralph Anderson feels the case against Maitland is solid, based on the local witnesses and physical evidence, and he is ready to send Maitland to death row for his crimes. His wife Jeannie helps him see why his case may have problems and that he needs to look deeper. It’s Jeannie who first sees the truth lying at the center of this seemingly unsolvable mystery, and her questions eventually help Ralph to believe in the one woman, Holly Gibney, who can help him catch a child killer.
Much of the first half of this book deals with looking close at the forensics evidence. Some of that evidence leads to another town earlier that same year where a very similar crime takes place. Holly Gibney is a very qualified investigator who lives in Ohio near the other town and Anderson hires her to help find what might connect the two crimes. King has brought Holly’s character to this plot from the Bill Hodges Mr. Mercedes trilogy, and she drives much of the movement of the plot in the last half of this book.
It becomes clear that an Outsider is involved in both murders. As brutal as the murders were, the mystery of the Outsider becomes scarier than the murders and is the strongest presence of evil in the story.
Holly Gibney’s insight brings the twist that makes the second half of this book come together with supernatural elements worthy of King. Both halves work well together.
As with many of King’s novels it becomes clear that “there were monsters in the world, and their greatest advantage was the unwillingness of rational people to believe” in them. Once the supernatural is acceptance King makes that knowledge have its own terror. The first half of the book puts all the pieces in order and lead quickly to a confrontation with evil and to conclusion.
“Doesn’t look like a monster, does he?” “They rarely do.”
"Adults are the real Monsters"
“People had the mistaken idea that Poe wrote fantastic stories about the supernatural, when in fact he wrote realistic stories about abnormal psychology.”
“Strange, the things you noticed when your day—your life—suddenly went over a cliff you hadn’t even known was there.”
Stephen King has written over 50 Novels and 200 short stories. His books have sold more than 350 million copies. King was born September 21, 1947
In an article in Rolling Stone King said, "Hemingway sucks. If I set out to write that way, it would have been been hollow and lifeless because it wasn't me." (Good for you Stephen King. Hemingway was certainly self absorbed)
In the same article he was asked: "Do you see yourself doing this into your eighties and maybe even beyond?" (Loved his answer)He said,"Yeah. What else am I going to do? I mean, shit, you've got to do something to fill up your day. And I can only play so much guitar and watch so many TV shows. It fulfills me. There are two things about it I like: It makes me happy, and it makes other people happy."