My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Outsider was my first Stephen King book. I really enjoyed it. I can see a master hand at work in the tiny details that give characters just enough texture to be memorable. Sometimes if a minor character has a yellow hoodie or a cowlick, we don’t need to know his entire childhood, and I appreciate that.
Protagonist Ralph Anderson is honorable and a bit of a blank slate, presumably the better for readers to project themselves onto him. One character refers to Anderson as “Mr. No Opinion,” which for me carried both his intended meaning (from a bad performance review) and also reinforced the tabula rasa effect. I liked his warm, close relationship with his wife, who is his best friend and with whom he is clearly in love. They trusted each other and told each other important details. I vote for Michael Shannon to play Anderson in the movie adaptation.
The first two-thirds of the plot was engaging and mysterious. In the last one-third all the mystery has been unravelled and we’re basically just fighting monsters and bad guys, but that’s ok too.