The Outsider

Stephen King didn’t make me want to become a writer, that happened long before he came long, but he did make me feel like it might be a thing I could possible hope to achieve. I read The Shining in advance of the movie coming out and it changed my world as much as reading Starship Troopers or Dune or Foundation or Something Wicked or A Boy and His Dog or Neuromancer.

Okay, I got a little carried away there. Yes, books have knocked my helmet off more than once and the author of those books was, more often than not, Stephen King.

But I don’t care for his detective novels. Yeah, I know, right? But that’s just me.

So the next time some agent doesn’t even bother to reply to your query, remember that you go through the same winnowing process when you’re looking for something to read. Every book on that shelf is hoping against hope you’ll pick them as you pass by looking for the right… cover. Or back jacket text. Or author name.

Life is a game of numbers.

And, having said that, I have to admit there are Stephen King books I’ve not been able to complete. And I read ALL of Fire Starter.

When I started The Outsider, I got a bad vibe that this was another of his detective novels. I don’t know why — he’s a credible and engaging crime writer — but I do not care for these books of his. So I dropped it and went on to the next thing.

Then I started watching the HBO series and realized I had made a HUGE mistake. I’m so hooked on the show, I’ve returned to the novel to fill in the gaps between weekly episodes.

Here endeth the lesson.

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