Stephen King is a household name. From his dozens and dozens of New York Times-bestselling novels to the innumerable movie adaptions of his work (Children of the Corn 7. I'm not kidding. And a eighth in production, plus a sci-fi channel remake), the Stephen King brand is probably the most well-recognized literary property out there. So it's always interesting to see King lend his attention to more obscure projects.
Like Hard Case Crime, an imprint of paperback hardboiled crime novels. Including a mix of brand-new and classic 40s and 50s pulp crime stories, Hard Case Crime seemed like an interesting project. The star-power of King lending a novel to the imprint was an instant publicity-builder: a world-wide bestselling author trying his hand at a small publisher, in a genre outside of his traditional focus.
But wait: can King actually write a hardboiled detective novel?
The Colorado Kid answers that question: no. This is the worst excuse for a mystery you could possibly imagine. The premise is fantastic: a 22-year-old small-town newspaper intern digs into a 25-year old crime. A man is found dead on a Maine beach, with no identification. Turns out, he was from Colorado. But he'd been seen scant hours before, all the way across the country. He barely had time to charter a plane, drive at top speed to the beach and die before being discovered. So what happened?
Spoiler: You never find out! King spends an entire novel mulling over the case, like a slackjawed Maine yokel with a mouth full of tobacco, before figuratively shrugging his shoulders and saying "I guess we'll never know."
As means of explanation (or apology), King includes an afterword, essentially explaining that mysteries aren't really about solutions, they're about the investigation.
Well, Mr. King, that's a load of horseshit. Mystery novels are all about the solution. The concept of a mystery novel is a suspenseful build-up to the reveal. The investigation is just a way to delay the single most important part of a mystery story: the solution.
Don't read this book. Please. It's really, really terrible.
Now I know.
Weaselsnake. Saving you $5.99 one spoiler at a time.