The Colorado Kid – Stephen King (2005)

Reading a Stephen King novel that isn’t horror already qualifies as straying from the norm, but right from the start, I knew this was not going to be a regular reading exercise in other ways as well. In fact the reader is fairly warned in advance. The story is about something that is in fact ‘not a story’. And I don’t mean like in a Seinfeld ‘show about nothing’ way. Okay, some explanation is required.

Two elderly small island town newspaper men are accompanied by their young intern as they are sitting in a outdoor restaurant patio. They are there to talk with a big city newspaper reporter seeing if he can drum up a story about any unsolved mysteries to small town folk may know about. The old men rail off a few old well known unsolved mysteries, but nothing they know the city reporter hasn’t already heard about. After he departs the intern digs into her bosses a bit more and they begin telling her the ‘non-story’ of the Colorado Kid. Essentially a man found dead on the island beach years ago. They then dish out tidbits and some meager facts to the intern and let her ask the questions to see how she perceives the data and her own inferences.

The facts in the case are quite clear, and indisputable. The problem is, is that they make no sense. The origins of the man are known, (Colorado if you haven’t figured that out), but exactly how he got to his resting place in the short time he had to have made his journey is a mystery. The reason as to why he got there and the exact nature of his death are also a complete mystery. Even the few clues that are indisputable are perplexing.

As in any mystery story the piecing together of information is part of the fun but in this case as the two old timers dispense a little at a time they are also coaxing their acolyte intern to she if she is asking the right questions as well. They are testing her as much as anything else to see if she’s got the newspaper mettle.

It’s a good old fashioned mystery novel which was the goal of the “Hard Case” imprint under which this was published. Some are going to like it as I did, but some are going to hate it because of the dangling ending. If there was any doubt about that, the ‘dangling ending’ is even discussed further in a prologue in which King acknowledges the unorthodox story telling. I liked it, but I can clearly see other readers not being content. If nothing else, it certainly qualifies as something different.

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One Response to “The Colorado Kid – Stephen King (2005)”

  1. The Stand (The Complete & Uncut Edition) – Stephen King (1990) | Lazarus' Lair Says:

    […] in prior reviews of King books in the last few years (see my reviews for Different Seasons, and The Colorado Kid), I’ve only joined the Stephen King bandwagon recently after not being all that enthralled with […]

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