THE COLORADO KID / AUTHOR: STEPHEN KING / PUBLISHER: HARD CASE CRIME / FORMAT: PAPERBACK/ RELEASE DATE: JULY 2ND
Stephen King’s The Colorado Kid has returned after a fourteen-year exile courtesy of Hard Case Crime. The novel was originally released in 2005 and it was the basis of SyFy’s Haven, although in a very nominal way. So nominal that the only common elements were that both were set on an island of the coast of Maine, the name of the featured restaurant, and the fact that there are two elderly local newspaper reporters. And that’s pretty much where the similarities end. Because of this King had a stop to the book being reprinted as he didn’t want to confuse Haven fans. Now that Haven has long concluded, The Colorado Kid is back in an illustrated edition with new cover art.
In 1980, a young couple discover a body on the beach of their island home. There’s no identification, but due to the tenacity of a pair of local newspapermen and a graduate student in forensics an identity is eventually established. As this mystery is solved another is revealed. How did a Denver family man, who worked in advertising, end up dead on a Maine beach, and why? Was it an impossible crime? Or something stranger still...? The Colorado Kid is a third person narrative and the action, if you can call it that, doesn’t leave the office. Twenty-five years after the events the two elderly newspaper men, Dave Bowie and Vince Teague, tell their mysterious tale to their young intern Stephanie. From the beginning it’s stated that this mystery remains unsolved.
King’s tale is economical coming in at just shy of one hundred-and-eighty pages. This isn’t his usual doorstop tome, but then King is one of those writers that is equally at ease writing a short tale as he is an epic. His writing is anything but sparse as his descriptions of Mooselook Island (through his characters Dave and Vince) effortlessly conjure gorgeous seascapes, white picket fenced streets and character affectations. The two genial old fellas feel as real as any of King’s more notable characters with their “ayuhs”, and detours from the plot, allowing us glimpses into their private lives. Hard Case Crime are renowned for their hardboiled offerings, but The Colorado Kid isn’t so much a hardboiled crime caper, it’s more a liquorice allsort, which may disappoint fans of traditional crime fiction. So too might some King devotees be disappointed as there are no supernatural forces at work here, and apart from a grisly described autopsy, no violence or bloodshed. It is, however, very much a mystery. In fact The Colorado Kid could be classed as a meta-novel as it’s a story within a story that asks the question of why are we so attracted to mysteries? And just like life, not everything necessarily has a beginning, a middle, or an end. Sometimes things just stop, and sometimes mysteries remain a mystery.