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One of these years I’m going to set a goal to read all of the Stephen King books but I am pleased to say that I have been keeping up fairly well with his new releases the past couple of years. Everyone was screaming about this newest one and so I added it to my Independent Bookstore Buying Extravaganza list. For the month of March I am patronizing Gulf of Maine Books in Brunswick, Maine. My grandmother goes there to buy for her small island library, and so I wanted to help support them a bit too. I also dealt directly with them, since they keep more money if I pay them directly as opposed to buying through

Anyways, Later by Stephen King was…underwhelming. A kid can see and talk to dead people, and dead people apparently have to answer any question posed to them truthfully. His mom is a literary agent whose biggest client dies before he publishes the last novel in the series. She and her cop girlfriend drive him to the author’s estate, find his ghost, and Jamie (the MC son) basically dictates the novel to his mom so she can write it and they can survive through the 2008 financial collapse. They survive, but his mom’s relationship doesn’t when she discovers her girlfriend is a dirty cop who is distributing drugs.

In an attempt to save her job, the cop girlfriend (Liz) basically kidnaps Jamie from his elementary school and takes him to find a serial bomber, so she can take credit for finding the final bomb that he left before committing suicide. He does this, but ends up being haunted by the bomber (Therriault). This haunting drives him to take action with the help of a family friend, and this sets the second half of the book in motion.

I have never read such a predictable King novel. I was expecting a fireworks finish but all I got was exactly what I expected was going to happen. The narrator (Jamie) keeps telling us that this is a horror story but the worst we get is a vengeful ghost/possessed ghost who is out for revenge but has to come when it is called by Jamie. Everyone gets what is coming to them. In fact, the only person who doesn’t seem to have to come to terms with his choices is Jamie himself, which leads me to believe that perhaps there is a sequel in the works that we will get…later? Ugh. I know you know I just rolled my eyes.

It’s a short, fast read but don’t expect to be terrified. It’s a horror story sure, but it’s one you’ve heard before. If you’re a King enthusiast read it, for sure, but if you’re not go read The Institute instead and skip this one.

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