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The Outsider

Written by: Stephen King
Narrated by: Will Patton
Length: 18 hrs and 41 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,481 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

An unspeakable crime. A confounding investigation. At a time when the King brand has never been stronger, he has delivered one of his most unsettling and compulsively listenable stories. 

An 11-year-old boy's violated corpse is found in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City's most popular citizens. He is Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon add DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad. 

As the investigation expands and horrifying answers begin to emerge, King's propulsive story kicks into high gear, generating strong tension and almost unbearable suspense. Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face? When the answer comes, it will shock you as only Stephen King can. 

©2018 Stephen King (P)2018 Simon & Schuster

What the critics say

"Narrator Will Patton turns this story into an audio blockbuster.... King's usual sprawling cast of characters is also present, and suffice it to say that Patton does them all justice." (AudioFile)

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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Not a Waste of Time

First Stephen King novel I’ve ever read/ listened too. I enjoyed the story- it got a bit predictable in the middle and end.

If you’re looking for horror, this story is not for you. It’s more of a police procedural story with some science fiction elements.

-Kyle

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

King is at it, again!

I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook!

King is a master storyteller, and this is another home run.

A gripping story, that doesn’t let you go. It was well narrated and just sucked me right in.

A future classic, for sure.

Highly recommended!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Horrifying and Creepy!!!

This book is a perfect combination of old school crime drama and supernatural suspense. Stephen King’s writing displays it’s quality here.

The blend of characters, crime and eerie supernatural mystery is presented with the expert mixture that left me feeling uneasy and shocked.

Will Patton did a fantastic job of giving life to the characters and situations.

Truly suspenseful and amazingly creepy. WONDERFUL

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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This was fantastic!

This was my first Stephen King novel and I couldn't put it down. I really enjoyed the suspense, the characters and plot.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Max
  • 2018-05-28

Another lackluster King jaunt

Like a lot of his recent stories, and in retrospect, a good chunk of his earlier work, King starts strong, circling a horrific tragedy and it's effects on those involved but inevitably drifts off into less engaging territory when the characters he has expertly fleshed out become too numerous to coexist realistically as a group.

King's ability to showcase ultimately very believable and sympathetic characters and give them life in a dark and brooding reality is consistently undercut by his inability to bring them all together and make them act as believable human beings.
3/4 through the book, the people we've come to feel for as almost real, completely lose their legitimacy when they are made to interact with each other and discuss the events that have occured. Perhaps it's the nature of the supernatural occurencr they are facing which is ultimately so far-fetched and at times ridiculous that it drags away all the realism previously established, or maybe it's that there are too many characters with too many different personalities who are thrown together that their believability gets lost in the shuffle.
There is also a distinct world building aspect in King's latest work that falls flat in comparison to his earlier masterpieces. Bill Hodges' supporting cast are unceremoniously thrown into the game midway through The Outsider and really don't seem to belong at all. In an effort to curtail spoilers I urge the reader not to continue beyond this point: the book's antagonist appears to belong to the species of sorrow-eating vampires from Doctor Sleep and this very connection causes the bad guy to lose some of his/her/It's legitimacy because we've seen his kind easily dispatched in the dissapointing sequel to the shining.

The Outsider starts out as an exceedingly strong mystery thriller but, as with King's more recent stories, fizzles into a flat and unintelligible supernatural vampire story with no bite. It is a frankensteining of fun genres that fails to find a spark of life. If I could say one thing to my literary hero it would be "Sorrow vampires just aren't interesting no matter how hard you try to make them a thing". I might also add "detective noir is engaging when it doesn't stray into supernatural territory".
I'd also add to anyone reading this that I will never not pick up the latest King book/audiobook while I am able to do so. He might not do horror very well anymore but he is a master writer.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Its okay.

One of the main character is female and it was almost comical listening to this narrator's rendition of her voice. It really took away from the story for me but it was an okay listen on a 12 hour drive nonetheless.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Classic King

Lots of twists and turns. Had me guessing quite a few times. Really loved a few of the unique characters he brought into the story.

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Great Book!

Great storyline with lots of surprising twists. The narrator did an amazing job with the voices of all the different characters.

Highly recommend this audiobook.

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Exceptional job

Just Amazing. Keeps you gripped till the end. You need to pay attention while listening as you feel you are one of the detective. you may or may not agree with the choices but the whole experience is just amazing.

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Read it twice now. Better the second time around

This story has made its way up my list of favorites. I liked the premise and I like how it was played out. King just has a better way of writing than any other writer who lives in his world. His stories feel more real and for me I more easily get lost and this was no exception.

I felt for what Terry Maitland had to endure and that it cost him dearly despite evidence to the contrary. Ralph Anderson reminded me very much of Bill Hodges and when he deftly introduced Holly, I couldn't help but smile and tip my hat. I love how he ties stories and regions together. It makes it all somehow more real.

From the beginning through to the end, it proves itself to be a King classic and it offers up ample reasons to be even more afraid of the dark. Or the light. Or tight spaces. Or cargo vans. Or your reflection.

A really good story.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Myles
  • 2018-11-02

Disappointing From Stephen King

I’ve been a Stephen King fan for many years, I’ve listened to/read all of the classics and The Outsider seriously disappointed me, the extremely descriptive writing style I’ve grown fond of makes no real appearance in this book which makes it a really hollow experience overall. The ending is the definition of anti-climactic, you spend 17 hours waiting for the big finish and it’s just a big middle finger in your face. The performance wasn’t very good either which can ruin an audio book almost as quick as it’s poor writing. Overall pretty bummed and wouldn’t recommend.

76 of 86 people found this review helpful

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  • Barbara M
  • 2018-11-01

It caught my interest...but became toooo long!

I’m a Steven King fan and loved most of his books that I have read but there are a few I’ve read that ends up like The Outsider where he captures your total attention and then just goes on and on and on....I did like the narrator until Holly came around and then it became too annoying. I actually did not finish this book!

46 of 52 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • MT
  • 2018-08-07

short and uninspired; not your typical King novel.

one of the most anti-climactic and boring King novels I've ever read, and I've read all his Major Works, and all his short story collections. The outsider felt short by comparison with underdeveloped characters.

25 of 28 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Susan M Kett
  • 2018-07-11

Boring....

This book never went anywhere. It was way too long for such few moments of mystery or intrigue. I have been a SK fan for a long time but this is just not one I would recommend. Annoying voices and unsympathetic characters.

31 of 35 people found this review helpful

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  • Randall
  • 2018-06-19

Will Patton great - story so so


Will Patton did a wonderful job of reading this novel. He adds so much to this book. I will watch for him again.

I read or listen to everything I can when it comes to Stephen King and he has been my go to author for almost 30 years. In the past few years he has become political in his books and it has been a huge turnoff. But in this book he toned down is political rhetoric and it's not distracting to this story.

The outsider is a typical SK story and is well thought out and suspenseful. It has all the ingredients of Kings best novels, a really bad guy ( the outsider ) and the good guys hunting the bad guy. In this case he throws in Holly Gibney from the Mr. Mercedes trilogy. In that story she played an essential part in the mix of characters. After Holley is introduction into this book it seems to take a turn and never gets back into a believable storyline . I didn't like her in this role but many readers seemed to enjoy her introduction.

136 of 157 people found this review helpful

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  • gennygaribay
  • 2018-10-28

Tedious to listen to<br />

Blah blah blah blah blah. Too much nonsense within the story line. Too predictable. I would see a movie if they made it into one, but it was hard for me to stay intrested in it.

29 of 33 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • M. Carter
  • 2018-07-03

how is this book getting high ratings????

I usually like anything by Stephen King, but this story was just poorly thought out and poorly researched. King's knowledge of Texas geography is severely lacking. The bad guy doesn't show up in news video at the courthouse for some reason, but his image is somehow caught in security footage at the train station and in Ohio? Too many inconsistencies and way too unbelievable -- not the supernatural evil guy so much, more so the characters and their reactions. The whole thing was just silly and impossible to buy into. I kept listening hoping for some "ah ha" moment that would tie it all together, and came away even more severely disappointed by the ending. Wasted time and money.

83 of 96 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Roger
  • 2018-06-30

Meh

The story was just ok. This book was terribly predictable. The narration was the only reason I finished the book and didn’t return it. Will Patton did an excellent job! Thanks Will for salvaging this for me.

58 of 67 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Knights Cross
  • 2018-09-20

King is Slipping

King is a wordy, if skillful writer, and his character development is terrific. But, he seems to be running short of new plot ideas. In The Outsider, he just recycles old ideas. Will Patton does his best with mediocre material. You can skip this one.

34 of 39 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • M. Ferguson
  • 2019-02-25

Just can’t finish it

I don’t like to give up on a book, but I kept checking to see how much longer until this one was over. I finally bailed. Best part was the reader.

28 of 32 people found this review helpful