Another beautiful Hard Case Crime is here from Stephen King!
LATER – Stephen King (Released March 2nd, 2021)
#1 bestselling author Stephen King returns with a brand-new novel about the secrets we keep buried and the cost of unearthing them.
The son of a struggling single mother, Jamie Conklin just wants an ordinary childhood. But Jamie is no ordinary child. Born with an unnatural ability his mom urges him to keep secret, Jamie can see what no one else can see and learn what no one else can learn. But the cost of using this ability is higher than Jamie can imagine – as he discovers when an NYPD detective draws him into the pursuit of a killer who has threatened to strike from beyond the grave.
Later is Stephen King at his finest, a terrifying and touching story of innocence lost and the trials that test our sense of right and wrong. With echoes of King’s classic novel IT, Later is a powerful, haunting, unforgettable exploration of what it takes to stand up to evil in all the faces it wears.
Chandra’s Thoughts: 5/5 stars
At 248 glorious pages, this is basically a short story from the horror King. 😏 I’ll be the first to tell you how much King has shaped my reading from a very young age but how OMG could he BE any more overly detailed? 🤣 And then here’s Later… a wonderfully told tale of Jamie that is NOT overly detailed but exactly what I didn’t know I needed.
I do believe that Jamie Conklin has over taken the role of my favorite kid to see dead people. That’s right. Move over Danny Torrance and Cole Sear… there’s a new kid in town. I loved this journey from his childhood to when he became a bit older.. more aware… and less innocent. For a moment, I thought this was going to be extremely light horror… and to an extent it is. But after the first half, there are some “eep” moments. Are they scary? Not in the skin crawling way but I weirdly imagined one of the characters as the Jackal from Thirteen Ghosts. I shouldn’t have.. but I did. 🤷 And definitely found myself making a few faces towards the end with a couple reveals.
I became very endeared with Jamie and his relationship with his Mom. I found myself getting really angry with one particular character but I’ll stop here as I certainly don’t want to spoil anything. I just thoroughly loved this story through and through. For anyone who didn’t want to try a chonker of a story from King or one that I would say is an easier read than some of his past work, this is a good way to go. Happy reading!
My Thoughts: 4/5 stars
It’s no secret that I love the Hard Case Crime series, and as a big King fan, it was really exciting to see a new one releasing with HCC. LATER is a quick little crime fiction read with a hint of supernatural elements to it that only King can bring us. Part coming of age, part mystery, and a dash of horror come together seamlessly for a memorable story.
I don’t want to give away anything, especially with it being around only 250 pages. Our narrator and main character, Jamie, is a young boy that can see the dead. This is a gift his mother has told him to keep to himself, the less people that know the better, right? When his mom’s ex-friend, a not-so-clean cop, picks him up to use his power to help her benefit, his life changes forever.
I think that this would be perfect for those that want to start reading Stephen King but don’t want anything too scary. This is more crime fiction than horror, but of course there are some moments when it comes to Jamie’s abilities. For such a short book, King was able to give us such fully formed characters that you could connect with almost instantly. Definitely a fun little read from King that I highly recommend!