Hard Case Crime 10/05: The Colorado Kid by Stephen King (#13)

13 - Colorado Kid by Stephen King

The World’s Best-Selling Novelist is Back…

With an All-New Investigation into the Unkown.

On an island off the coast of Maine, a man is found dead. There’s no identification on the body. Only the dogged work of a pair of local newspapermen and a graduate student in forensics turns up any clues, and it’s more than a year before the man is identified.

And that’s just the beginning of the mystery. Because the more they learn about the man and the baffling circumstances of his death, the less they understand. Was it an impossible crime? Or something stranger still…?

No one but Stephen King could tell this story about the darkness at the heart of the unknown and our compulsion to investigate the unexplained. With echoes of Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon and the work of Graham Greene, one of the world’s great storytellers presents a moving and surprising tale whose subject is nothing less than the nature of mystery itself…

I read The Colorado Kid when it was first released and have not revisited it.

So why am I reviewing it now? Well, some months ago I started reviewing Hard Case Crime’s publications for the site. At that time, I had already read over twenty of their books. I may eventually review them all, which would require quite a bit of re-reading. The Colorado Kid is the only one that I can (almost) guarantee that I will never read again.

It’s great that Stephen King helped put a young publishing company on the map by giving them a paperback original–the publication of The Colorado Kid generated a lot of press for Hard Case Crime.

It’s also understandable why King went this route with the novel–his fans expect seven-hundred-page epics for their $30. Writing for Hard Case Crime allowed King to work in a different form. For Stephen King, a $5.99 two-hundred-page paperback is the equivalent of a B-side or a non-LP single.

King is nearly always a compelling read, and many readers will find themselves as engrossed in the tale of the Colorado Kid as Stephanie, the main character, does. The pages certainly flew by for me.

However, that is not enough. The Colorado Kid is an experiment, and experiments sometimes fail. The Colorado Kid is a failure. King went for ambiguous but instead got unsatisfying.

A valiant effort, though. Give it another shot, Steve?