I continue to have no regrets about reading through my endless Stephen King backlog. In October I finished both Wizard and Glass (The Gunslinger #4) and Later, which is his third surprisingly deep horror & crime novel for the Hard Case Crime publisher.
What I like most about King as a person, and an author, is that it’s 2022 and he’s still writing amazing shit like “he kept moving further west like some fucked up braindead pioneer” to describe the main characters uncle, who kept moving to cheaper nursing homes as the family’s finances got worse. It’s equal parts fucked up and hilarious – King is my go to author when I need a break from the politically correct world.
As an aside, I started and now love following King on Twitter. His comments are like a little morale boost in the middle of a crazy world.
Anyway, ok let’s talk about Later
BOOKISH QUICK FACTS:
- Title: Later
- Series: N/A
- Author: Stephen King
- Publisher & Release: Hard Case Crime, 2021
- Length: 272 pages
- Rate & Recommend: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ for classic King & horror/paranormal fans
A note on the audio: Later is narrated by Seth Numrich, who has narrated many King novels and is absolutely phenomenal. Solely rating Numrich’s narration, an easy 5 stars. 6h32m long for Simon & Shuster Audio
Here’s the synopsis off Am*zon:
SOMETIMES GROWING UP
MEANS FACING YOUR DEMONS
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.
Later is a short little novel that has an incredible amount packed into it. It’s a coming of age story for Jamie, it’s a touching-at-times story of different ghosts, there’s a crime aspect, and it’s a horror story.
Like I said, this is a horror story
It’s so much more than that though. I love the characters too, from Jamie to his mom to the old professor that the family stays friends with and eventually guides Jamie through his murdery ghost problem. Nothing like an eccentric old man that likes to make fairy tales sound academic and terrible, right?
Oh, right. I was absolutely never bored, and thankfully never that scared either. Some King books are downright horrifying but Later never quite fit that mold even when it was in it’s horror element. I think he meant to keep a slightly lighter tone and focus more on the people than the scares in this one.
Another of my favorite King aspects is that he loves to shout out his prior novels and other authors too. The Ritual of Chud is back. Jamie’s mom runs a literary agency and mentions many, many books & authors including Sue Grafton.
I was so ready to smash that 5 star button until that very last reveal! It wouldn’t be a King book if someone didn’t have a mommy problem, but, it didn’t work for me at all. I’m glad to see others agreeing with this sentiment🤣
I don’t want to ramble forever but I would wholeheartedly recommend this one if you like fast paced stories with a little bit of humanity, horror, action, ghosts, monsters in all their forms, and King’s classically offbeat sense of fucked up humor.
As a note about Stephen King audiobooks – I don’t know if King personally hand picks his narrators or what but I’ve discovered most of my favorite narrators through listening to his books. They are an amazing bunch including Will Patton and Seth Numrich, both of whom bring their stories straight to life and add that little bite that adds something extra to King’s novels!