Rating: 4 out of 5 ⭐️
Author: Stephen King
Published: 2021 (Hard Case Crime, Titan Books, London)
Pages: 248 (Paperback)
Genres: Fiction, Horror, Paranormal, Thriller
CW: Paranormal Horror, Strong Language, Adult Situations, Assault, Sexual References
Hello all! I’m here to talk about a book that I’ve picked up on-and-off since one of my friends gifted it to me for my birthday in April. It was definitely an unexpected gift, but not unwanted by any means! Let me be honest by starting with the fact that I am not the biggest Stephen King fan. It is not the genre or the stories themselves, but it’s his way of writing that gets me. Sometimes I feel like I’m reading a Victor Hugo novel with all the backstory and the drowning details when I read some of his books. Not that I don’t understand him, but it feels very verbose and unnecessary. But I do enjoy the dialogue between characters and vernacular in the narrative is smooth and understandable. And that’s a big reason why I really liked his newest book, Later.
“Looking back on it, I sometimes think my life was like a Dickens novel, only with swearing” Stephen King, Later
Later is part of the Hard Case Crime series by Titan Books. This is one of three by Stephen King (no relation in story, I believe), and is the latest installment with the previous being Joyland and The Colorado Kid. I haven’t read either of these yet. Later is the fast-paced story of young upper east side New Yorker Jamie Conklin and his single-mother and tough literary agent, Tia Conklin. Jamie narrates his experiences as a child/teenager as an adult in the future, looking back at the time he discovered his unusual gift and the consequences it brought him. Jamie can see the dead (not like The Sixth Sense ‘I see dead people’ sort of dead), specifically he can see the dead right after they die in a meaningful place for them for a few days before they go into a non-described after life. He can also talk to and ask them questions, and they have to tell him the truth. Jamie only wants a normal childhood, but his gift draws in human enemies and after an unfortunate event, a hateful spirit that isn’t like the others and shocks Jamie to his core.
“You get used to marvelous things. You take them for granted. You can try not to, but you do. There’s too much wonder, that’s all. It’s everywhere” – Stephen King, Later
This book is a horror novel, the narrator Jamie often describes it as such breaking the fourth wall, but it had the fast-paced story like a suspense and thriller. I was really impressed by and definitely had a great time reading this book. My friend who gifted this book told me that Stephen King has a formula for his storytelling. While I’m not sure what that is, I can say I loved the layout and how King told the story right up until the ending. Maybe I’m not a fan of all King’s books, but I definitely liked this one. This was also an easy read, and it didn’t take me very long to finish once I got into it.
“Belief is a high hurdle to get over and I think it’s even higher for smart people. Smart people know a lot, and maybe that makes them think they know everything” – Stephen King, Later
Why should you read this book? If you like Stephen King’s books, or enjoy thriller and supernatural crime thrillers with coming-of-age themes, this is the book for you. I’m not turned completely, but I definitely do not have a lot of bad things to say about this novel. Maybe I’ll have to give his books a chance again.
What’s your favorite Stephen King book? Comment below for recommendations if you’re a fan of his.
I give this one a 4 out of 5!
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