‘Later’ by Stephen King Review & Discussion

Have you ever started a new book and found yourself struggling to soak in what you’re reading? Maybe the change in authors and writing style threw you off? Or you were trying a new genre and the structure wasn’t what you’re accustomed to? Perhaps your brain was in a fog and there were too many distractions? Whatever may have caused it, that’s what happened to me when I first opened Stephen King‘s latest release, Later.

I’ve read the bulk of King’s catalog so I shouldn’t have had an issue, but I wound up re-reading the first two chapters a handful of times. Usually I give up after the first couple attempts, then blame the author for not sucking me in or writing clearly enough, but this is a Stephen King novel! I couldn’t let it sit on my shelf and collect dust! There has not been one entry of his I couldn’t finish!

Luckily, the chapters are short so not much time was wasted trying to get my brain to absorb the text. Once I was able to retain what my eyes glanced over a hundred times and get into the story, I easily got lost in the thrilling fictional world concocted by King’s overstimulated imagination.

Without a doubt, it is one of the better stories he’s published in the last few years.

Short Life Long Road’s Rating: 4/5

‘Later’ Overview (Very Minor Spoilers)

Later is a supernatural crime thriller about a boy named Jamie Conklin. Raised by a single mother in the heart of New York City, Jamie is your typical kid in every way except he harbors a dark secret: Jamie can see dead people. Yes, just like the kid in The Sixth Sense but with a twist I won’t mention here (I don’t want to spoil the fun!).

Despite seeing ghosts with exposed brains or mangled limbs, Jamie becomes accustomed to seeing dead people. He even has the courage to speak with them before they disappear into the great beyond. However, after getting tangled up in an investigation conducted by a rogue NYPD officer, Jamie is forced to face a new kind of evil—nightmare inducing, lie awake all night, type of evil.

In the end, the story is about how secrets we bury haunt us and how easily innocence can be lost.

Some Brief Thoughts

I recently read The Institute by Stephen King and it was a bloated disappointment. Like some of his other recent works, it contained far too many cliches and predictable plot lines. When I finished the first chapter of Later, I almost set the book down because I didn’t want to sit through a re-hashing of The Sixth Sense tropes. I’m very glad I didn’t because much of this story turned out to be the opposite of what I was expecting.

There is a lot of depth to the characters, and the further I got into the story, the more I felt I needed to know how it would conclude. By the halfway mark I was turning pages at record speed. This is partly because King showed flashes of his early brilliance. His prose was smooth and strong, complimented by profound sentence structures depicting detailed scenes and relatable character arcs (I was going to include an example but I cannot due to copyright reasons. You’re just going to have to read it yourself 😜).

Overall, I enjoyed all of Stephen King’s contributions to Hard Case Crime Publishing. Joyland was my favorite, followed by The Colorado Kid, but Later is a welcomed addition. While it wasn’t terrifying or all that original, it was still a solid entry and just spooky enough. It left me wanting more, which I guess is praise in and of itself, but Laters only flaw was leaving this reader with too many lingering questions and holes in the plot that I would like to see filled.

My only hope is that Stephen King is working on a sequel, but I guess we’ll find out…Later.

Before You Go!

Have you read ‘Later?’ What did you think? If you haven’t read it, do you plan on picking it up someday? Let me know your thoughts in the Comment Section below!

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