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
GenreCrime fiction, horror
PublishedMay 22, 2018
Media typePrint (Hardcover and Paperback)
Preceded byEnd of Watch 
Followed byIf It Bleeds (novella) 

The Outsider (2018) is a horror novel by the American author Stephen King. The novel was published by Scribner.[1][2]


In Flint City, Oklahoma, police detective Ralph Anderson arrests the popular English teacher and Little League coach, Terry Maitland, in front of a crowd of baseball spectators. Maitland is charged with the rape and mutilation of Frankie Peterson, an eleven-year-old boy. Maitland hires his friend and lawyer, Howie Gold, to assist him. However, Detective Anderson has eyewitness accounts and forensic evidence which clearly pinpoints Maitland as the main, and only, suspect. In the meantime, eager reporters harass Maitland's wife, Marcy and their two daughters, Sarah and Grace.[3]

The district attorney, Bill Samuels, urges Anderson to break Maitland's alibi in order to make this an open-and-shut case. Anderson discovers that multiple eyewitness accounts confirm Maitland was out of town, at a writer's conference in a neighboring town, when the murder was committed. Security footage from the conference also provides confirmation of Maitland's alibi. Anderson actually finds a book at the conference center gift shop that Maitland (or his doppelgänger) picked up and the fingerprints left on the book are confirmed to be Maitland's. Samuels encourages Anderson to destroy this new evidence, but Anderson doesn't. Despite evidence that shows that Maitland was in two places at once, Anderson still believes that Maitland killed the young boy.

Maitland, who has been awaiting trial in jail is brought to the courthouse, where he is shot to death by the victim's older brother Ollie Peterson. Ollie is subsequently shot and killed by Detective Anderson. Anderson is then placed on administrative leave, and the district attorney decides not to seek re-election.

With the help of the private investigator, Holly Gibney, Marcy Maitland and Howie Gold follow a trail of clues to Marysville, Texas. Detective Anderson, following the group, also heads to Texas. Jack Hoskins, Anderson's rival in local law enforcement, is coerced by the "Outsider" (i.e. the real killer) into killing Detective Anderson. The Outsider promises Hoskins that if he kills Anderson, he will be cured of his cancer.

With the help of a number of characters, including police officers and a potential victim of the Outsider, both Anderson and Gibney discover that they have an actual monster on their hands. They set out to destroy the Outsider in a large cave in Marysville, where two children had died years earlier.[3]

Holly is able to hit the Outsider with a "happy slapper" (a sock filled with ball bearings, similar to the weapon that she used to stop Brady Hartsfield in King's novel, Mr. Mercedes), apparently killing the Outsider. Later, Samuels holds a press conference clearing Maitland, alleging defective DNA samples and confirming the conference center 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]


The review aggregator website Book Marks reported that 10 of 14 critics gave The Outsider a "rave" review, while the remaining four expressed "positive" impressions, signifying that the novel received critical acclaim.[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, starring Ben Mendelsohn as Ralph Anderson,[9] along with Jason Bateman, Paddy Considine, Cynthia Erivo, Bill Camp, and Mare Winningham. Julianne Nicholson, Yul Vázquez, Jeremy Bobb, and Marc Menchaca are to appear as regulars, with Hettienne Park and Michael Esper set to recur.[10]


External links[edit]