STEPHEN KING. The Colorado Kid (2005).

22 Aug

This entry in the Hard Case Crime line of paperback originals honors its 1950s precursors in at least one respect: Its racy cover has almost nothing to do with the story inside. The retro-look painting shows a luscious brunette in a wee black dress; her only other accoutrement is a handheld tape-recorder. ColoradoKid.jpg Presumably, she is meant to be Stephanie McCann, a 22-year-old journalism intern who, over the course of the book’s 170-odd pages, sits and listens to a pair of old Maine newspapermen as they recount a local unexplained mystery. But McCann, though pretty, bears little resemblance to the cover model. Nor does she tape the proceedings. And the mysterious tale told by Dave Bowie and Vince Teague, the scribes who produce The Weekly Islander, contains no sex, no mayhem, no excursions into the trailer-park tawdriness of American life—in short, none of the classic narrative trappings of the pulp paperpack. As King notes in an afterword, Dave and Vince’s tale is a “hard case” in that it has no easy resolution. How did an ordinary, happy family man from Colorado end up dead, a piece of steak lodged in his throat, on a lonely beach off the coast of New England? How did he even get there, after leaving a Denver office building less than six hours before someone spotted him in that remote stretch of the Eastern Seaboard? The quest for answers produces little more than a shaggy-dog story. Indeed, it’s less a fully realized novel than a novelet that King has ably but not quite sufficiently tricked out with Downeast humor, coming-of-age moralizing, and musings on the nature of mystery itself.


Posted by on August 22, 2013 in American, Novel


7 responses to “STEPHEN KING. The Colorado Kid (2005).

  1. prettysinister

    August 23, 2013 at 9:41 AM

    This has been the most consistently panned entry in the Hard Case Crime series. It still remains the dud of the imprint. I think it’s an embarrassment of a book. It commits the worst mortal sin of a PBO crime novel: Hardly any action at all! And its mired in the past, no immediacy tied to the present. It’s like a failed screenplay by a journeyman script writer who watched too many flashback laden old movies. I hope Joyland, King’s second offering for Hard Case Crime, is an improvement. It certainly was hyped to death earlier this year.

  2. Kelly

    August 23, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    I haven’t read Colorado Kid yet, but I’m partway through Joyland, and I like it fine. I plan to get through all the Hard Case books, eventually, but I’m not partial to order.

  3. Mike

    August 23, 2013 at 6:00 PM

    This book really is a lame bit of work, as John says. So, Kelly, if you can avoid reading, you should do that. My review, in fact, was too kind. I remember that when I read the novel,, I kept expecting that there would a payoff of some kind–some surprise, some revelation. And there wasn’t. The story sputters, and then it fizzles.

  4. Colin

    August 28, 2013 at 11:47 AM

    Sorry to put this in here, bit I couldn’t see where else to go. I’ve just passed on a WordPress Family award to your site –

    • Mike

      August 28, 2013 at 10:12 PM

      Thanks, Colin. Your own site looks intriguing (and eminently award-worthy, too, no doubt).

      • Colin

        August 29, 2013 at 5:10 AM

        You’re very welcome Mike.

  5. detect

    November 12, 2013 at 1:31 AM

    That’s a beauty.


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