My Review 5 stars:
At the beginning of last year I barged into a Steven King monthly reading group (Thanks again for the invite and for letting me in BTW ladies, you know who you are!). Every month is a new book. Some I’ve skipped out on, some I’ve cringed at, and a few I’ve loved. Later is officially up there with my favorites so far. It’s a short easy read that packs a bigger punch than several of King’s longer books. Maybe that’s part of the reason I loved it so much. King has a tendency to really drag things out, but in this book it felt like every page mattered. The story line is unique, especially for a somewhat popular trope. The characters are wonderful, and the world building is just right!
Jamie first learns that he can see the dead when he is a small boy. From his view of the car window spots a man who’d been in an accident. The man is standing next to his own body with his face split open. This scares the hell of out Jamie, and his mom struggles to believe him. It isn’t until the two of them come home one day to find their down the hall elderly neighbor standing outside of his door smoking, distraught and clearly mourning. The neighbor tells them that his wife passed away that morning. Only Jamie doesn’t need to be told because the woman is standing right next to her husband. She tells Jamie about where she had placed her lost wedding rings, teases him about his crappy school craft that he was so proud of, and makes a comment about her husband burning Jamie’s mom’s hair with his cigarette. Once Jamie and his mom are home and he tells her these things she is forced to believe him because she later looks in the very spot herself for the rings and finds them. From here things really pick up.
Jamie’s mom has a cop girlfriend, Liz. I hate her. Scratch that, I loathe her. At first I didn’t mind her much, and I figured Jamie’s disdain rooted from a regular ol’ kid picking apart their parent’s fling. Turns out his instincts we’re spot on and she creates quite the web of messes for Jamie and his mother. I really like his mom. She’s a literary agent who’s been passed on a world of financial troubles, mostly by her brother who’s suffering, slowly in a home from dementia. Her main client passes away before he has a chance to send her a big manuscript that would have really rescued them financially. So, naturally, Liz uses her badge to help her get Jamie to the home of the deceased writer where they find his spirit wandering around. Jamie acts as a proper medium and relays the entire story-to-be to his mother so that she can write the book herself and publish under his name later on. This does save them financially, but it also starts a spiral of misuse of Jamie’s gift.
A bit down the road, Jamie’s mom finds drugs in Liz’s coat pocket. She kicks the woman out of her and Jamie’s life, only Liz doesn’t stay kicked out. A few years later, when Jamie has grown to his teen years, she shows up at his school and tells him to get in his cruiser. A very bad man committed suicide, but not before planting a gigantic bomb in an unknown place. Liz uses Jamie to find the man’s spirit and make him confess to the whereabout of this bomb. This particular dead man is scary!!! As if he’s more than just a dead man, and he winds up following Jamie home. He sticks around for some time, and changes the dynamics of Jamie’s gift completely! He’s evil, pure evil… as is Liz! What happens from here is just one shock after another. I was on the edge of my seat! The very ending was the biggest surprise of all, I never saw it coming and when the book was over I stewed on it! Hands down 5 stars. This is King at his best. I highly recommend it.
“Part detective tale, part thriller…touching and genuine.” —The New York Times
#1 bestselling author Stephen King returns with a brand-new novel about the secrets we keep buried and the cost of unearthing them.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
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.