Later is the most recent book by one of my favourite novelists, Stephen King.
First of all, the cover. I love it. The book is a Hard Case Crime novel, with deliciously low-brow, pulp-fiction artwork featuring an impossibly long-legged beauty, a muscle car and a teenage boy in the background who you just know is going to tell the story.
Jamie Conklin tells the story as a young adult, but the events started when he was very young and on the very first page, he warns the reader that his story was a horror story. He was right. I got so scared reading this story in the middle of the night that I had to put the book down and crochet for a while so I could calm down enough to get to sleep. I finished reading the story the next morning when the sun was shining.
Jamie saw dead people although as he explained, he wasn’t like the little boy in The Sixth Sense because the dead people he saw went away after a few days.
His story began with the death of a neighbour in his apartment building. Jamie had several conversations with the dead woman, during one of which he asked her where she had left something that her husband couldn’t find. A few days after Jamie told his mother and the neighbour where to find the missing items the dead woman disappeared forever.
When Jamie’s mother used her young son several years later to talk to a client of her who had died for her and Jamie’s financial gain, I was more horrified by her using Jamie in this way than I was of many of the supernatural events which terrified me further into the story.
Unfortunately for Jamie, his mother’s actions began an unfortunate chain of events which stretched into his teenage years, causing Jamie to become involved in a case where a mass-murderer retained the ability to do harm to others after his death.
Later was a fast read and I struggled to put the book down, apart from the really scary bits in the middle of the night and the twist at the end gave me as big a shock as anything else in the story. Stephen King’s Constant Readers will enjoy this book.