The Outsider (King novel)

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The Outsider
The Outsider by Stephen King.jpg
First edition U.S. cover
AuthorStephen King
CountryUnited States
SeriesHolly Gibney Series
GenreCrime fiction, horror
PublishedMay 22, 2018
Media typePrint (Hardcover and Paperback)

The Outsider is a horror novel by American author Stephen King, published on May 22, 2018, by Scribner.[1][2]


In Flint City, Oklahoma, police detective Ralph Andersoing arrests popular teacher and Little League coach Terry Maitland in front of a crowd of baseball spectators, charging him with raping, mutilating, and killing an 11-year-old boy. The town quickly turns against Maitland, who insists he is innocent. Maitland hires his friend and lawyer, Howie Gold, to assist him, but Anderson has eyewitnesses and clear forensic evidence pointing to his guilt. In the meantime, eager reporters harass Terry's wife, Marcy, and his two daughters, Sarah and Grace.[3]

District Attorney Bill Samuels tells Anderson to break Maitland's alibi in order to make this an open-and-shut case. Anderson discovers, however, that multiple eyewitnesses confirm Maitland was out of town when the murder occurred, at a writer's conference in a neighboring town. Conference site security footage also provides confirmation of Maitland's alibi. Anderson finds a book at the conference center gift shop that Maitland (or his doppelganger) touched, and the fingerprints on the book are confirmed to be Maitland's. Samuels encourages Anderson to destroy this new evidence, but he does not. Despite evidence that Maitland was in two places at once, Anderson still believes Maitland killed the boy. Maitland is shot to death outside of the courthouse by the older brother of the victim. Anderson is placed on administrative leave and the DA decides not to seek reelection.

With the help of private investigator Holly Gibney, Anderson follows a trail of clues that takes the duo to Marysville, Texas. Jack Hoskins, Anderson's rival in local law enforcement, is coerced by the Outsider (the real killer) into killing him. The Outsider promises Hoskins that if he kills Anderson he will be cured of his cancer. With the help of a number of characters, Anderson and Gibney discover that they have an actual monster on their hands. They set out to destroy him in a large cave in Marysville, where two children died years earlier.[3] Holly hits the Outsider with the happy slapper (a sock filled with ball bearings, similar to what she used to stop Brady Hartsfield in Mr. Mercedes). He appears destroyed. The DA holds a press conference clearing Maitland, alleging defective DNA samples and video proof supporting Maitland's alibi.

Background information[edit]

The novel was first mentioned in an interview for USA Today on August 7, 2017.[4] The book cover was first revealed on January 18, 2018.[5] An excerpt was published in the May 25, 2018, issue of Entertainment Weekly.[6]

Connections to King's other works[edit]

The character of Holly Gibney from King's Bill Hodges trilogy (Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers, End of Watch) is a major character in the book. The novel outlines some events from the trilogy and its aftermath.

The concept of "ka", an integral part of King's The Dark Tower series, is also mentioned.


The review aggregator website Book Marks reported that 71% of critics gave the book a "rave" review, while the other 29% of the critics expressed "positive" impressions, based on a sample of 14 reviews.[7]

Television adaptation[edit]

In June 2018, it was announced that Media Rights Capital had optioned the novel to be produced as a 10-part miniseries with Richard Price scripting, and executive producers Jack Bender and Marty Bowen.[8] On December 3, 2018, it was ordered to series by HBO with Ben Mendelsohn set to star.[9] with Paddy Considine, Cynthia Erivo, Bill Camp, Mare Winningham. Julianne Nicholson, Yul Vázquez, Jeremy Bobb and Marc Menchaca as regulars, with Hettienne Park and Michael Esper set to recur.[10]


External links[edit]