Stephen King

The Outsider by Stephen King

The Outsider by Stephen King: A Book Review by Marc D. Goldfinger. Published by Simon and Schuster in the year of 2018, by Stephen King, all rights reserved. On the internet go to to meet the authors.

A confluence of events take place when a murder takes place and Detective Ralph Anderson is convinced that he knows who the culprit is. The unlikely suspect, convicted in the minds of the Detective and the Prosecutor Bill Samuels, is Terry Maitland who is an English teacher and the Little League coach in Flint City.

Terry Maitland is liked by all and would be the last person to be suspect of this horrible crime perpetrated upon a high school boy named Frank Peterson, yet the DNA leads the law enforcement community to the Coach, not to mention a few witnesses who saw Terry Maitland in places he shouldn’t have been with blood on his clothes.

The City League tournament game is running hot and Terry Maitland, who really cares for his team is coaching away as the unmarked detective car with Ralph Anderson and Troy Ramage, another police officer with twenty years of service under his belt, drives in and parks in a handicapped spot, the only one left, so they can walk across the field and make an extremely public arrest of Terry Maitland.

The whole town of Flint City is watching. Troy Ramage and Tom Yates, two city cops in suits, walk down the third base line and the umpire is yelling at them to get off the field and the game is tied 2 to 2. The excitement can be felt but now there is an element of confusion as the two police officers in suits ignore the umpire and walk directly towards Tom Maitland. His wife Marcy and their two children watch in confusion. “Off the Field” yells the umpire but they keep walking down the base line directly towards Tom Maitland. “Hey, you guys” the umpire says as he walks toward the two cops, “We’ve got a game to finish here.” It’s the top of the ninth inning and the score is tied, two to two. Yates, the cop, pushes the umpire back and they keep walking in lockstep towards Terry Maitland. Terry says, “Hey Troy, what is this? What’s the deal? Suddenly the crowd is hushed and people realize something is about to happen.

Troy Ramage raises his voice as he gets to Maitland and says, loudspeaker not necessary because everyone is so quiet, “Terence Maitland, I am arresting you for the murder of Frank Peterson!”

There is a sound from the bleachers, an oooo like a rising wind.

All Terry could say was “What? Are you kidding me? and just then the sports photographer from the Flint City Call snaps the picture, the one that will be on the front page of the newspaper the next day. Terry’s mouth was open, wide-eyed with his hair sticking out the edges of his Golden Dragons cap. The picture made him look feeble and guilty.

“What did you say?”

“Hold out your wrists, please.”

Terry locked eyes with his wife Marcy and his two daughters, sitting just behind the bullpen, staring at him with identical expressions of shock and surprise. Ramage snapped on the cuffs, the big metal ones, not the plastic strips, big, visible and heavy, shining in the hot sun. In the same loudspeaker voice, Ramages says the familiar but strange to Terry, “You have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer questions, but if you choose to speak, anything you say can be held against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney during questioning now or in the future. Do you understand?”

Terry is stunned. “Troy,” he says, “What in God’s name is this?

Ramage looked at Terrry and repeated, “DO YOU UNDERSTAND?”

What Terry Maitland did understand was that his life, as he knew it, was over for a long time and maybe beyond that.

So Stephen King, master of suspense and horror begins his new novel called The Outsider. His magic continues throughout the book and twists and turns in a way that only an expert in
his art can do!

Later in the book, the appearance of Holly Gibney, the woman who worked with Detective Hodges, in King’s book called End Of Watch is no surprise. This is her speciality.

If you are looking for a beach book or just a book to read under the lamp while you lay in bed, The Outsider is that book. I bought it at The Harvard Bookstore and finished it in three days.

The King family are miracle workers with words, even if the miracles are dark and possible make you look under the bed to see it the Outsider is hiding there.

There are jail tattoos that play a part in this book, one on each hand. One hand says MUST and the other says CANT. If you are a drug addict, these words will filter into your mind because the fact is, with the illness of addiction, you are trapped in this quandary that says you CANT use drugs, but you MUST use drugs.

What does this have to do with the story? Well, you’ll have to read it to find out. And speaking again of the King family, don’t forget Joe Hill and Owen King, Stephen’s sons, and his wife Tabitha, who also spins the webs of words.

This book is a great book. It’s a horrifying book, but what else does Stephen King do. Would you like to take a walk in his mind, eh?

It by Stephen King

It by Stephen King: “Pocket Books, an Imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.; 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020; Published in 1986 and Republished in 2016.”

It, a book by Stephen King, demanded to be republished because of its powerful horror, which is personified by a supernatural that becomes Pennywise the Clown. It, the creature, reappears every 28 years and feeds on the children of Derry, New Hampshire.

A group of children band together to defeat this creature. Their power lies in the fact that they let their fear be wiped out and overcome. What does the creature really look like? There can something frightening about a clown, but It is more frightening than that.

Circus clowns make people laugh but underneath the laughter lays fear of the unknown. This book is one of the favorites of the Stephen King’s fan club; it is so popular that it has been made into a show for television. The author, King, was not satisfied with the show, but Pennywise The Clown has a dynamic role.

It has just been made into a movie again this year and Pennywise is much more frightening in the remake. One of the main characters is Bill Denbrough, a young man of 10 who stutters so much that behind his back he is known as “Stuttering Bill”, but no one uses the nickname to his face.

He is the leader of a group of children called “the Losers Club” and they hang out in a forested valley with a stream running through it. This area is called the Barrens and is also the lair of the creature known as Pennywise The Clown.

Pennywise morphs into your worst fear. If you are afraid of spiders, it will appear as a spider. Bill Denbrough has a younger brother known as “Georgie” who was the family favorite. One rainy day Bill builds Georgie a newspaper boat and waxes it so it can run down the streams in the gutters that build up when it rains heavily.

The boat is Georgie’s downfall. In the beginning of the story he is chasing the boat down the ripple of water by the curb and it flows into a sewer. The sewer system connects like a labyrenth under Derry and is the lair of “It.”

Georgie peeks into the sewer in a vain search for the boat and all of a sudden Pennywise the Clown, with a hysterical laugh, holds the boat up and says, “Here’s the boat Georgie; don’t you want it?”

Torn between fear and the desire to have the boat back, Georgie is coerced into reaching into the sewer to take the boat from Pennywise’s hand. Quicker than you can say “rip”, Georgie’s arm is torn from his body. Pennywise disappears into the sewer leaving Georgie dead and bleeding in the street.

The loss of Bill’s brother causes his stutter to get much worse. The Loser’s Club is composed of Richie Tozier, who sees Pennywise as a werewolf, Ben Hanscom, who sees Pennywise as his dad who died in World War II, Eddie Kaspbrak, who is a hypochondriac and his most feared illness is asthma, Stanley Uris, a young Jewish boy who does not believe in the unknown, Mike Hanlon, a young Black boy who grows up to be the Derry Librarian, and Beverly Marsh, a young and the only girl of the group. Her greatest fear is her father, who is not a nice guy.

Beverly’s father always says, “I worry about you and those boys; I worry about you a lot.” But the way he looks at her is not quite right.

It by Stephen King is really divided into two stories. In the first half, the children known as the Loser’s Club confront Pennywise in his lair and make silver slugs to shoot him down. Beverly Marsh is the best shot with a slingshot.

Down in the sewers, three school hoodlums, Henry Bowers, Belch, and Huggins, chase the Losers Club down into the sewers, only to become victims of Pennywise themselves. They get caught in what Pennywise calls his “Deadlights” which hypnotize them and make them unable to fight their fear.

I can’t tell you the story of the children’s confrontation with Pennywise because that could ruin the book but afterwards the children clasp hands and make a vow that if the children of Derry begin to be taken by Pennywise again, they will all return to finish him off for good. If they can, that is.

Mike Hanlon, who becomes the town librarian, is the only one of them who remains in Derry. The others leave town and become very successful.

Bill Denbrough becomes a famous horror writer. Ben Hanscom becomes an architect and Beverly Marsh becomes a decorator and winds up living with a man who is very abusive, just like her father.

Richie Tozier becomes a comedian and man of many voices and Eddie Kaspbrak still lives with his overpowering mother but gets rich as the owner of a giant limo service driving famous actors like Al Pacino around Hollywood.

Then there is Stanley Uris, the realist, who becomes a professor. It’s Mike Hanlon’s job, because he remains in Derry, to call the Loser’s Club together again if Pennywise reappears.

By the time the Losers Club starts their entry to middle age, the children of Derry begin to disappear again. It is 28 years later and Mike has to make the calls. No one is happy to hear his voice because of what it means. But they all pack up and leave for Derry, with the exception of Stanley Uris.

Stanley Uris goes upstairs to the bathroom, carefully lays his clothes on the closed toilet as the water in the bathtub fills steaming. Stanley lies in the water, a razor in his hand, and slits his wrists writing as he dies, on the wall in his own blood one word—IT.

Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King & Owen King

“Sleeping Beauties; Scribner; An Imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.; 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020”

This book is an insane thriller and it is also a father and son re-union.  Owen King has written a few books by himself but this time he teamed up with his dad, Stephen King, to write a book about a disease that affects women when they go to sleep.

They sleep and a soft growth like the cocoon of a moth grows out of their mouths and covers their heads and the rest of their bodies.  But if you peel the cocoon off of their faces to get to them, the women go wild and become berserk killers.

In Dooling County, a relatively small women’s prison in the Appalachian Mountains, people are frightened because what you don’t know is more threatening than what you think you know.

The book begins when a meth lab blows up and a woman they refer to as the ‘Avon Lady’ kills the chemist by putting his head through the trailer wall.  Linny Mars, the desk dispatcher, takes the 911 call from Tiffany Jones, who is freaking out.

At first Linny Mars doesn’t believe Tiffany Jones but then she hears a boom in the background.  Linny asks Tiffany how they will be able to identify the ‘Avon Lady’ and Tiffany tells her that she’ll be the woman covered with the chemist’s , Truman Mayweather’s, blood.

Linny calls Lila Norcross, the deputy on duty, who doubts everything until she sees the smoke rising up near Adam’s lumberyard.  Then Lila sets out for the scene of the crime.

This book is full of twists and turns and women who are desperately trying to stay awake.  If you can imagine a women’s prison, staffed 50 per cent by women, where the male staff are always trying to get a little piece of sex from dissatisfied women who don’t want any part of it.

Dooling Correctional is a prison that has never won any awards for excellence.  There is too much going on there for that to happen.  Stephen King and Owen King work like madmen creating an insane world with a bizarre disease called the Aurora Sickness.

How is the disease spread? Does a moth carry it?  Does the Aurora Sickness affect animals?  There is a woman named Evie who can talk to animals.  She is locked up in the Dooling Correctional Center.  She sleeps but does not seem to be affected by the Aurora Sickness.  The cocoon never covers her.

Evie was arrested under the name of Eve Black after she blew up the meth lab where she killed Truman Mayweather and another gentleman.  I’ll use the word loosely here.

Stephen King and Owen King have been working together since Owen was a child.  Their first collaboration was not for public consumption.  Growing up in a house full of writers, Stephen, Tabitha, Joe and Owen were all full of word soul.

On the kitchen table there was an ongoing story where everyone took part.  Each person tried to leave the story in a place where it would take some verbal maneuvering to get the hero/heroine out of a seemingly impossible jam.

This ongoing game kept everyone in the house on their toes and helped them learn to build thrilling narratives.  The story drives the writer and the writer steers the story.  Nothing is impossible.  The webbing in Sleeping Beauties keeps all the characters in Sleeping Beauties dealing with all sorts of twists and turns.

There is a talking fox, a Mother Tree, and what does Eve Black have to do with the Aurora Sickness that covers women with something like webbing or while they appear to be asleep? Do the women who are sleeping in the cocoon communicate with each other in another psychic world?

While the men in the story think of the webbing and sleeping women as sick in the grips of a strange disease, it could it be just the opposite.  Why is it that when a person tries to strip the webbing from a woman’s face to wake her up, the woman reacts violently and slays the intruder as if they are invading a world where they are resting peacefully?

Owen King and Stephen King have come up with a story that is a dark fairy tale and very different than the fairy tale of the Sleeping Beauty where a kiss can bring the princess back to life.  It is quite possible that the women are enjoying being where they are in dreamland.

This book, Sleeping Beauties, is an evil tale and it is another King Conspiracy.  You can find it at the Harvard Book Store, where I bought mine, or on the Internet.  This appears to be Owen King’s breakthrough novel and I am sure that Joe Hill, Owen’s brother, is excited that another member of his family has reached out to twist the mind of the American and European public.

Don’t miss this twisted tale by Owen and Stephen King.

Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King & Richard Chizmar

Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King & Richard Chizmar.  Published by Cemetery Dance Publications, 132B Industry Lane, Unit #7, Forest Hill, MD 21050,

When Stephen King partners up with another writer who shares the same darkness dancing on the buttons (keys) of his computer, magic happens. That is exactly what takes place when Richard Chizmar and King told a tale out of school and decided to name it Gwendy’s Button Box.

It is a story about a young girl named Gwendy Peterson who came to possess a beautiful wooden box that came with magic buttons and a great responsibility. There are many countries in our world where people in charge have buttons at their disposal, which would make horrible things happen, if they were to be pressed.

Those buttons are a great responsibility and the people of our world can only pray that the rulers of the countries that possess these buttons are of stable mind. Here in the United States, one of the most powerful countries in the world, the situation is debatable.

Nevertheless, we’re here to talk about a thrilling book called Gwendy’s Button Box, about a young girl who possesses that box and the changes it brings to her life.

The box doesn’t hold buttons; it has buttons attached to it, like keys on a computer, and each button is a different color. If a button is pressed it has an effect on a specific part of the world. Then there is the red button, which will give you whatever you ask for, when it is pressed.

There is also the black button, which should never be pressed; it is similar to the button that launches nuclear missiles all over the world. Similar but much more hazardous; it is a great responsibility to be in charge of that button, let alone the whole box.

There are also two levers, one on each side of the box. One dispenses the best chocolate Gwendy ever tasted, shaped like animals. The other lever doesn’t always work, but gives a pleasant surprise when it does.

When Gwendy presses the button for the chocolate animal, it comes out perfectly shaped; let’s say a small turtle this time. She pops it into her mouth and enjoys it immensely; afterwards, she has no desire for another chocolate that day.

As a matter of fact, after eating that chocolate, her desire for all unhealthy foods goes away. Gradually Gwendy finds herself losing weight. She had been overweight and even started running the Suicide Stairs to lose weight because Frankie Stone, not a nice guy in school, called her the Goodyear Blimp.

The exercise and the diet are effective, and now, when she looks down, Gwendy can see her feet. That wasn’t always the case.

Gwendy met Richard Farris, the man who gave her the button box, at the top of the Suicide Stairs. He had been sitting on the bench at the top of the stairs for about a week and seemed to have his eye on her.

He introduced himself, friendly-like, and gave her the box, explaining all of its ramifications. Mr. Farris appeared to be a nice guy and, despite warnings about talking to strangers, he allayed Gwendy’s fears. Mr. Farris wore a black bowler hat that suited him well. He gave her possession of the box with various warnings and cautions. Then he left and his hat blew off, resting on the grass next to the stairs.

But enough about Mr. Farris and the box. Let’s talk about the Suicide Stairs, so-called because it happened that a few people leapt to their death from the top of the stairway. For Gwendy, however, the Suicide Stairs changed her life for the better.

This book, written by both Stephen King and Richard Chizmar, is a thriller and had me on the edge of my seat. Richard Chizmar is not as well known as Mr. King but he has a twist in his mind that he can share on paper. Both writers are masters of their craft.

Cemetery Dance Publications has been putting out excellent books for a while now, many of them beautiful limited editions, signed and numbered by authors who can send chills up and down your spine. You’ll find Cemetery Dance Publications on the Internet where you can see the books they produce, giving great authors the opportunity to offer beautiful limited editions to the public.

Gwendy’s Button Box is one of the special books put out by Cemetery Dance Publications. Gwendy is one of those special people given a chance to deal with a great responsibility. I highly recommend this book. You can find it in bookstores and on the Cemetery Dance website.

The Turning Point: Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

“We stood at the turning point. Half-measures availed us nothing.” The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

I’ve been reading Stephen King since I was young. Let me make this clear: young is a variable for me. The first book I ever read by Stephen King was The Stand, a book of about 800 pages. It was supposed to be longer but King’s publisher didn’t think a book that ran over 1100 pages would sell, so they asked King to cut, cut, cut, but no pasting, until they felt it was marketable.

The ravaged version, which, by the way, was great, came out in 1978. Years later, when King’s popularity was peaking, they released the full version. This was in 1990. It is now 2013 and Stephen King, after completing his magnum opus called The Dark Tower, is at his best.

King’s newest book, Doctor Sleep, was just released (528 pages). Way back when King was starting out, he wrote a book called The Shining, which was later made into movie starring Jack Nicholson. My guess would be that more people saw the movie than read the book, although the book sold quite well. The Shining has 447 pages, which makes it one of King’s shorter novels.

To appreciate Doctor Sleep, one does not need to go back and read The Shining, however, it might add some flavor to the experience. Loosely speaking, they are sequential.

The main character in Doctor Sleep is Dan Torrance. He is in his early 30’s in Doctor Sleep; in The Shining Dan Torrance is a little boy who sees more than the normal person. To be hyper-aware is not always a gift. If you can shake someone’s hand and see their imminent death, it’s hard to smile and say, “Have a good day and it was nice to meet you.”

As an avid reader, I hate book reviews that spoil the fun, if that would be the proper word to use for one of Stephen King’s books. I find myself faced with a conundrum. I don’t want to spoil Doctor Sleep. But I do want to tell you why I think it is Stephen King’s best book.

It’s quite different than his 7 book Dark Tower series- which is the modern Lord of the Rings. But Doctor Sleep touched me in a very special way.

If you happen to be an alcoholic in recovery, you will love Doctor Sleep. Boy, I put myself out on a limb there, didn’t I? But really, I mean it. Even if you’ve never read a King book before, if you are in recovery, just pick it up and read the first ten pages, including the quotes at the beginning of the book.

I’ll go one step further. If you’re an alcoholic or a drug addict who is still using but doesn’t want to use anymore, pick up Doctor Sleep and read it. Then go to an AA meeting or an NA meeting. You don’t have to wait until you finish the book. After all, you’ll want to be sober enough to remember the damn thing, right?

Just like Dan Torrance had the Shining when he was a child, in Doctor Sleep there is a little girl named Abra Stone who Shines like the sun. She’s got some power, all to the good.

There are other folks cruising down the highways and byways of America. You’ve probably seen them in their big RV’s, mostly retired people who are past their mid-sixties. Looks are deceiving my friend. Just like there are motorcycle clubs called The Devil’s Disciples, it could be that not all of these old folks have warmth in their hearts.

There is a gang of them that calls themselves The True Knot and they hunger to live. What they need is children who Shine and, just like vampires drink blood, these folks drink the Essence of the children. No, no, the children don’t survive. The True Knot has been around a long time. They traveled in covered wagons back in the day.

And, just like true Bikers, these folks have names like Steamhead Steve, Black-eyed Susie, Diesel Doug, & Steve the Chink, who is not Chinese. Their leader is a big woman who wears a sinister top hat and they call her Rosie the Hat.

They don’t like dogs and dogs don’t like them but they love children. Children who Shine. You know that statement from the old rock songs, “you always hurt the one you love”. The True Knot does just that.

Abra Stone picked up on The True Knot when they were draining the Steam from this young man, about 12 years old and never to see another birthday—she hooked in on what they were doing with her Shining and began to scream as she pulled away.

Not quick enough. Rosie the Hat sensed her and knew that, whoever that young girl was, she was definitely a large store of food for The True Knot. And that’s all I can say about that because I don’t want to ruin the story for you.

Dan Torrance, who we talked about before, has a job to do. When the teacher is ready, the student will appear. That’s an old saying. I don’t even know where it came from but it definitely applies here. But this is enough about Doctor Sleep. I’ve probably told you more than you want to know. This is Stephen King at his best and his heart is really in this book.

All of us, one way or another, reach a turning point in our lives and we either take the path we were meant to take—or we slip down the dark road. I’ll have to say that I was lucky and took the right path after 30 years of dark road. But it’s never too late for anyone as long as they are alive.

Now I get to read and collect these books, of which Doctor Sleep is one. Even if you don’t like to read Stephen King, this is the book to jump on. If you like it, pass it on. If you don’t like it, well write to me and complain. I’ll hear you out.

But watch out for caravans of RV’s with those bumper stickers that say “Old but not dead, save Medicare, I’m a conservative and I vote.” You never know whether they’re out hunting or Sight-seeing.

Oh, Doctor Sleep works in a Hospice. We come to find that the ties that bind a family together are stronger than we believe. The truth is always just one stranger away.

Whether you are a friend of Bill’s or just a close cousin, this is not a book to miss.