I am a new fan of the Hard Case Crime series. I stumbled upon the book “Branded Woman” by Wade Miller one day and was astonished. Hard Case Crime is bringing back all the old pulp novels of yesteryear and publishing new pulp novels by some of today’s most amazing writers. I thought, what a great idea! I had never had a chance to read an old pulp novel but now I was being given my chance!
So I was equally amazed when I head that one of my favorite authors was going to be writing a novel for the series: Stephen King! Yes, that’s right, the master of horror would be writing a hard-boiled pulp crime novel. I was excited to see what King would write for the series; in fact I was excited to read what he would write at all.
King had hinted that, with the end of the Dark Tower series now published, he might be retiring from writing. King wasn’t sure that there were any more stories in him with the series finished. What with the Dark Tower flowing in and out of his different works through out his career, with the ending finished he wasn’t sure there would be anymore stories.
Thankfully, he was wrong. I waited with bated breath for close to a year to get my hands on “The Colorado Kid” and, needless to say, I wasn’t disappointed. Though I had never read a mystery by King, I was taken on a roller coaster ride through the world of mystery.
Our story starts with Stephanie McCann. Working for The Weekly Islander before she starts out into the big world of newspaper reporting, Stephanie is astounded to learn that Vince Teague and Dave Bowie, the two old cronies who run The Weekly Islander, are hiding a real unsolved mystery inside their gray haired heads. The two old men decide to let Stephanie in on the unsolved mystery, hoping that it will make her one of them, an Islander.
The mystery revolves around The Colorado Kid, a man who was found on the beach one morning by two teenagers. He had been found with grease on his hand, a piece of steak lodged in his throat and a pack of cigarettes with one cigarette missing. No one knew who he was or how he had come to be on the island. He was wearing clothes unsuitable for cold island weather: A white shirt with no jacket, slacks and loafers with no socks.
Who was the Colorado Kid? How did he come to be on the island? Did he meet with fowl play? As Dave Bowie and Vince Teague take Stephanie through all the mysteries surrounding the Colorado Kid, Stephanie will learn that not everything is what it seems at first and that answers can be a long time in coming. Will she find the answers she is seeking or will she remain shrouded in the shadows of mystery? Only the Colorado Kid knows for sure…
Having never read a pulp novel by Stephen King, I wasn’t sure what to expect from “The Colorado Kid.” Reviews of the novel were split right down the middle; King even says in his afterward to the novel that you will either love “The Colorado Kid” or hate it. There will be no ground in between. Thankfully, I am one of the people who love it.
Not simply because the story is written by King, however. There have been many times that King has let me down and one of his books has either fallen short of my expectations or the story just didn’t grab me. Nope, “The Colorado Kid” wowed me because of what King was trying to say with the pulpy little novel.
While some would complain that “The Colorado Kid” isn’t a hard crime pulp novel, like it should be, I would have to agree. This is what makes “The Colorado Kid” such a treat. Instead of another potboiler like it’s predecessors, King presents a novel about the mystery of mystery. You will understand what I mean when you read the novel and it will be well worth the read.
King has done something beyond average here. It left me breathless. The novel reads like the hardest of crime novels but is something more: a commentary on the mystery that runs in our lives. “The Colorado Kid” was one hell of a read and I, for one, am glad that I went along for the ride.
Pick up “The Colorado Kid.” It’ll take you an afternoon to read it and your life will be much the richer for it.