After finishing The Outsider, I went on a complaining rant to my sister on how overrated Stephen King is and how his books are almost childishly written. However, a few days after finishing it and mulling it over, I have decided that The Outsider is actually one of his better books as of late – don’t get me started on the trainwreck that was Under the Dome.
The thing that King does well is build characters and community. He fleshes each person out delightfully (and probably refers to their idiosyncrasies a little more often than he needs to eg Samuels constantly smoothing down his Alfalfa cow-lick, yeah we get it) and the reader becomes very familiar and even fond of certain characters. I have to applaud this gift of King’s, as I find that some authors fail to create well-rounded fleshed out characters.
However, that being said, I am not sure whether it’s because every horror or supernatural concept has been written about to death, or if there’s simply no new way to present supernatural characters but…the tension leading up to the inevitable face-off of The Outsider was palpable, but the actual moment was…meh.
When the mysterious circumstances surrounding a creature are more horrifying and creepy than the creature itself, we have to ask ourselves, has the writing failed? Or is it just unavoidable in a day and age with gratuitously violent horror and slasher flicks?
Regardless, I linger between giving The Outsider a 3.5 – 4 star rating. I think it settles somewhere solidly in between at 3.75. As far as King novels go, this one was much better than Under the Dome, but not as solid as his greatest hits.