Speaking only for myself, the publishing event of the year was not HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE. Believe me, I love the thought of thousands of school-aged children standing in line at midnight to buy a book --- but I wasn't there. However, I gladly would have stood in line way past my bedtime to pick up a copy of THE COLORADO KID by Stephen King. What's not to love about a new King novel, a paperback original published by the newly indispensable Hard Case Crime imprint?
It turns out that the book was nothing like I had expected. It's not a hard-boiled detective novel --- no faces through the window, no sex beyond the sultry Glenn Orbik rendering on the cover, no gunshots, either on or off the page. What THE COLORADO KID is, however, is a finely rendered mystery with a gently philosophical touch that, incidentally, contains some of King's best writing. Yes, even this late in the day, The Man is still The Man.
So what can be expected from a reading of THE COLORADO KID? It is, at its essence, a discussion over coffee, kind of the New England equivalent of MY DINNER WITH ANDRE, wherein the elderly editors of a weekly newspaper serving Moose-Lookit Island off the coast of Maine take an interning reporter to school with the account of a death occurring more than a quarter-century beforehand. The deceased was discovered on Moose-Lookit with no identification, though he later became known as the Colorado Kid; his death was apparently the result of choking on a piece of steak. But with the "how" solved, the questions raised in the minds of the newspapermen --- related to the journalistic w's --- remain.
THE COLORADO KID is the story of that investigation, told in retrospect. There is charm to the narrative, not the least of which is the result of King having a bit of fun with the reader. He very implicitly interjects himself into the narrative throughout the novel --- all I will say is that it is self-evident from the first page --- but this work is not a mere piece of whimsy. Some of King'