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#1 bestselling author Stephen King returns with a brand-new novel about the secrets we keep buried and the cost of unearthing them. The son of a struggling single mother, Jamie Conklin just wants an ordinary childhood. But Jamie is no ordinary child. Born with an unnatural ability his mom urges him to keep secret, Jamie can see what no one else can see and learn what no one #1 bestselling author Stephen King returns with a brand-new novel about the secrets we keep buried and the cost of unearthing them. The son of a struggling single mother, Jamie Conklin just wants an ordinary childhood. But Jamie is no ordinary child. Born with an unnatural ability his mom urges him to keep secret, Jamie can see what no one else can see and learn what no one else can learn. But the cost of using this ability is higher than Jamie can imagine - as he discovers when an NYPD detective draws him into the pursuit of a killer who has threatened to strike from beyond the grave. Later is Stephen King at his finest, a terrifying and touching story of innocence lost and the trials that test our sense of right and wrong. With echoes of King's classic novel IT, Later is a powerful, haunting, unforgettable exploration of what it takes to stand up to evil in all the faces it wears.


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#1 bestselling author Stephen King returns with a brand-new novel about the secrets we keep buried and the cost of unearthing them. The son of a struggling single mother, Jamie Conklin just wants an ordinary childhood. But Jamie is no ordinary child. Born with an unnatural ability his mom urges him to keep secret, Jamie can see what no one else can see and learn what no one #1 bestselling author Stephen King returns with a brand-new novel about the secrets we keep buried and the cost of unearthing them. The son of a struggling single mother, Jamie Conklin just wants an ordinary childhood. But Jamie is no ordinary child. Born with an unnatural ability his mom urges him to keep secret, Jamie can see what no one else can see and learn what no one else can learn. But the cost of using this ability is higher than Jamie can imagine - as he discovers when an NYPD detective draws him into the pursuit of a killer who has threatened to strike from beyond the grave. Later is Stephen King at his finest, a terrifying and touching story of innocence lost and the trials that test our sense of right and wrong. With echoes of King's classic novel IT, Later is a powerful, haunting, unforgettable exploration of what it takes to stand up to evil in all the faces it wears.

30 review for Later

  1. 4 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    Stephen King's writing is like coming home for me. It's my comfort zone. This story is no exception. I absolutely adored my time reading Jamie Conklin's story. Later is a coming-of-age tale with a supernatural twist, following a boy, Jamie, and his struggling single-mother, Tia. Jamie first discovered his ability when he was really young. He can see things others can't and sometimes it's really scary. But it is an unchangeable part of himself and he learns the rules of it, as well as how best to l Stephen King's writing is like coming home for me. It's my comfort zone. This story is no exception. I absolutely adored my time reading Jamie Conklin's story. Later is a coming-of-age tale with a supernatural twist, following a boy, Jamie, and his struggling single-mother, Tia. Jamie first discovered his ability when he was really young. He can see things others can't and sometimes it's really scary. But it is an unchangeable part of himself and he learns the rules of it, as well as how best to live with it. His mother knows what he can do, but she doesn't like to talk about it. It scares her too. She urges Jamie to keep it a secret. However, when she is backed against a wall, Tia asks Jamie to use his ability to help her. This event exposes Jamie's gift to Tia's police officer girlfriend, Liz. After their relationship sours and the women call it quits, Liz continues to circle Jamie like a shark. She knows what he can do and eventually plans to use him for her own gain; legalities be damned! Since this is Stephen King, it does go a lot darker than I am letting on, but it's a short story; one best discovered for yourself. I loved Jamie so much. The narrative is like you are sitting down with him, having a cup of coffee, or a whiskey, and he is telling you his story. It's natural, heart-warming, occasionally frightening, funny and whip-smart. I also really appreciated the depth of Jamie's relationship with his mother. It was beautifully explored in my opinion. King excels at writing complicated familial relationships and that skill is perfectly illustrated here. He also is a master at writing from the perspective of children and young adults. Great character work overall, but I always love his kid characters. I absolutely recommend this to anyone who loves a Horror-based coming-of-age story. Chef's kiss for days!!! Original: Constant Readers, This is not a drill. I REPEAT, THIS IS NOT A DRILL! We have new King!! A boy with special powers stopping, what sounds like, supernatural crimes...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Lawson

    My granny got me hooked on Stephen King when I was young. I wish she was still here for this one. Couldn't put it down. My granny got me hooked on Stephen King when I was young. I wish she was still here for this one. Couldn't put it down.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    My nearly 20 years long waiting is over! Finally some fascinating King book is written in his old style released and made my quirky, loyal fan brain cells dance! As like they say: better late than never ( for this book: better “Later” than his last published books ) Our MC Jamie Conklin is only thirteen years old kid, who is soooo lovely, smart, perceptive, a great son, mature for his own age and has great sense of humor ( he might have inherited King’s dark sense of humor and that’s totally fi My nearly 20 years long waiting is over! Finally some fascinating King book is written in his old style released and made my quirky, loyal fan brain cells dance! As like they say: better late than never ( for this book: better “Later” than his last published books ) Our MC Jamie Conklin is only thirteen years old kid, who is soooo lovely, smart, perceptive, a great son, mature for his own age and has great sense of humor ( he might have inherited King’s dark sense of humor and that’s totally fine with me! At some parts of the book I truly laughed aloud! ) he can see dead people but don’t mix him with Haley Joel Osment ! He’s unique! At least he can keep his secret, adjusting in his normal life, perfectly compartmentalizing his unique ability. Only his literary agent mother knows his secret. And both of them agreed to take it to the grave. Till one day they find themselves at the risk of bankruptcy and the only thing they can save them is James’s talking to the ghost of a recently passed away writer to learn how to finish his bestseller series! It’s getting more interesting, isn’t it? When a third party: his mother’s girlfriend who is a NYPD detective also learns Jamie’s secret, things get out of control and Jamie finds himself pursue a dangerous criminal who is called Thumper already put nineteen bombs around the city! Somebody should stop him before he accomplish his final deadly mission! This is absolutely fascinating, exciting, action packed unputdownable one sit horror story with lots of entertaining IT references! I loved Jamie so much and I wish I can see him at the future works of the author. We observe his growing up and leaving him at his early twenties. I’m so curious to see his older times. I’m sure he’ll whistle again and we’ll meet him sooner! As a dedicated reader I think that’s my final wish about this book! Follow me ( or not 😃) instagram facebook twitter

  4. 5 out of 5

    Justin Tate

    Powerful characters and plentiful scares! Death is always a factor in King novels, but now that he’s writing later in life, it’s become more profound. What it means to live, what it means to die, and what might be waiting in the great beyond was expertly handled in an almost heavenly sense with his feel-good novel Elevation (2018). But if Elevation made you think of Heaven, Later will have you picturing Hell. The scariest thing is its believability. King’s imagination has predicted the future all Powerful characters and plentiful scares! Death is always a factor in King novels, but now that he’s writing later in life, it’s become more profound. What it means to live, what it means to die, and what might be waiting in the great beyond was expertly handled in an almost heavenly sense with his feel-good novel Elevation (2018). But if Elevation made you think of Heaven, Later will have you picturing Hell. The scariest thing is its believability. King’s imagination has predicted the future all too often. How he describes the afterlife—or at least a portion of the afterlife—in this novel comes across eerily plausible. At first death seems like a peaceful, ordinary thing. But macabre entities of the spirit world make it more complicated than that, especially if you’re a kid who can interact with them. While we all love a thick doorstop from King, he’s also a master of the short novel. Clocking in at under 300 pages, Later flies by in only a few breathless sittings. The limited cast and straight-forward premise allows all the characters to shine and every detail to become important. I wouldn’t call it a “crime novel” or shelve it with the mysteries. The narrator continually describes his tale as a “horror story” although I don’t know if I would call it horror either. Speculative fiction, perhaps. We get a mainstream cinematic conclusion, but the narrative feels literary. Like Elevation. Then again, there are also traces of classic King, such as Pet Sematary and The Shining, along with many direct references to IT. I would go so far as to say it’s a pseudo coda to IT. King fans, don’t hesitate. The master is still at the top of his game. You won’t be able to put this down, even if sometimes it’s creepy enough that you’ll want to.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Baba

    Jamie recalls that he was just a toddler the first time his unnatural ability reared its head; in this, his story, he recounts the main situations his ability got him into in is youth. This is another very good piece of suspenseful crime fiction from Mr King who appears to be determined to leave his mark in this genre! With a plethora of reviews of this book around at the moment, I think I'll just comment on what I specifically liked: In my half a lifetime of reading I don't think I've ever read Jamie recalls that he was just a toddler the first time his unnatural ability reared its head; in this, his story, he recounts the main situations his ability got him into in is youth. This is another very good piece of suspenseful crime fiction from Mr King who appears to be determined to leave his mark in this genre! With a plethora of reviews of this book around at the moment, I think I'll just comment on what I specifically liked: In my half a lifetime of reading I don't think I've ever read a writer who captures the details of youth / coming of age so well, from It to the amazing The Body, up to the recent Gwendy's Button Box he just does it so, and yet again does so in this book. As a Constant Reader, I must admit that there wasn't much new in this read; it read and felt more like a novella, but still immersed me in a King reality. (view spoiler)[The pretty deep connection to Stephen King's It, was a pleasant surprise; the same could be said for this book's ending, though not necessary a pleasant surprise. (hide spoiler)] Scraping into an 8 out of 12, Four Star read for me; I probably need to read this again to enjoy it more, but not right now, but maybe... later. ..And yes, I spent a few minutes trying to engineer this review t o end with the word... later. :)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nataliya

    Overall I liked it. But with reservations. Uncle Stevie and I go way back. I got that case of Constant Reader, having made my way through most of his impressive catalogue. Our literary love affair was fueled by titans like It, The Shining, 11/22/63, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption and managed to survive even those clunkers of The Tommyknockers, The Regulators and Insomnia. I saw his books slowly reach the size of industrial doorstoppers, and laughed at sometimes half-baked endings (and so Overall I liked it. But with reservations. Uncle Stevie and I go way back. I got that case of Constant Reader, having made my way through most of his impressive catalogue. Our literary love affair was fueled by titans like It, The Shining, 11/22/63, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption and managed to survive even those clunkers of The Tommyknockers, The Regulators and Insomnia. I saw his books slowly reach the size of industrial doorstoppers, and laughed at sometimes half-baked endings (and so did King himself in one of his movie cameos). So when this one came in a non-doorstopper size, I was excited by the change. But really, it actually should have been a bit shorter still. It’s really a novella that’s expanded to fill a novel, and a bit of editors’s red pen could have made it trimmer and snappier. It’s a story of a boy who can see dead people, and King himself quickly inserts a reference to The Sixth Sense movie to forestall the inevitable jokes and comparisons. But Jamie Conklin does not have a charismatic Bruce Willis-style therapist; he gets a creepy ghost and a desperate drug-addicted ex-(crooked)-cop instead. “Even a little kid knows certain basic things if he’s not soft in the attic. You said please, you said thank you, you didn’t flap your weenie around in public or chew with your mouth open, and you didn’t talk to dead folks when they were standing next to living folks who were just starting to miss them.” Jamie keeps repeating that it’s a horror story, but it’s really not quite that. It’s really a story of a kid growing up while also having to deal with the unconventional abilities — the ones that, as his mother once warned him, would make less scrupulous adults try to use him for their own means. There are ghosts and dead people and murder — but still, it’s neither a horror story nor a Hard Case Crime story*. It’s a King story — a story of people making do despite the supernatural crap interfering with their lives, a kid with creepy abilities, and complete with a I-can’t-believe-he-went-there moment at the end. It makes no sense for it to be published by Hard Case Crime. Just like it made zero sense for Joyland to get the same treatment. I loved Joyland, but it’s not a crime story. As far as King goes, it’s quiet and tame and low-key — and yet insanely readable since Uncle Stevie knows how to spin a good yarn. As always, King excels at creating a believable kid character despite being in his 70s now. And yes, Jamie at one point mentions a quote - “Books are a uniquely portable magic” - that is actually a Stephen King quote, and I was beyond happy about that. Overall, I liked it, but it’s not among King’s best. It’s good, it’s entertaining, it hits all the marks, it flows well — but there’s a bit of King magic missing here. The references to It actually just reminded me of how much tamer and safe this one seems to be. It’s more of a King-lite, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, I can’t place it in the same category as his best offerings. Maybe if he writes a story with adult Jamie taking on the malevolent entity, I’ll retrospectively raise my assessment of this book. 3.5 stars that I’ll round up to 4 because even King-lite is better than most.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    This was an entertaining story. Certainly not King's masterpiece but one that kept you reading. Jamie Conklin can see the dead, he doesn't know his father, his mum is a literary agent, her friend, she later separates from is a cop, they form a kind of lesbian relationship, there is reference to Dracula and Dickens' Scrooge, we later hear about the ritual of Chüd, it's about drugs and we solve the ultimate secret from Jamie's past. I liked the references to many famous horror flics (Final Destina This was an entertaining story. Certainly not King's masterpiece but one that kept you reading. Jamie Conklin can see the dead, he doesn't know his father, his mum is a literary agent, her friend, she later separates from is a cop, they form a kind of lesbian relationship, there is reference to Dracula and Dickens' Scrooge, we later hear about the ritual of Chüd, it's about drugs and we solve the ultimate secret from Jamie's past. I liked the references to many famous horror flics (Final Destination or Saw) and economical episodes (Bear Stearns collapse and its consequences). Was it horror? At parts. Crime? Yes, somehow. But mostly it was coming of age with all the difficulties involved. For an author of King's age very refreshing and astonishing. He really stayed young at heart and me too as a true reader and follower since almost 40 years. Really recommended pulp meets crime meets horror stuff!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Regina

    Let’s talk about Uncle Stevie’s latest, Later, shall we? Later is the third Stephen King novel published by the Hard Case Crime imprint. In HCC’s early days, the founder reached out to him (via his accountant) with a hope and a prayer that he would provide a supportive blurb for their mission to resuscitate the genre of old school pulp-style crime fiction novels. Months passed, and King’s agent eventually got in touch to say he didn’t want to write a blurb for them… he wanted to write a book. Th Let’s talk about Uncle Stevie’s latest, Later, shall we? Later is the third Stephen King novel published by the Hard Case Crime imprint. In HCC’s early days, the founder reached out to him (via his accountant) with a hope and a prayer that he would provide a supportive blurb for their mission to resuscitate the genre of old school pulp-style crime fiction novels. Months passed, and King’s agent eventually got in touch to say he didn’t want to write a blurb for them… he wanted to write a book. That book was The Colorado Kid (2005), and then Joyland followed some years after (2013). I love that story, so I thought I’d share. That brings us to Later’s story, which is that of a young boy, Jamie, who can see dead people. It’s surprisingly set in New York City just before and after the 2008 financial collapse. I say surprisingly because NYC isn’t a very Kingesque locale, and that fire-orange illustration on the cover sure doesn’t emit 21st century vibes. Please adjust your expectations accordingly. The book is told from Jamie’s first person perspective, and you know what? Jamie thinks/talks/writes a whole lot like Stephen King. The author has a very particular cadence, casual sentence structure, and way of turning a phrase. This signature style works well in third person narratives, but here it gave me pause. Would a 10-year-old in 2010 really know that term? Would he really think that way? Would he really use that sentence? Brace yourself, because I’m going to use a critical word against Mr. King here, but it felt a little lazy. That aside, the 248-page plot moved at a swift pace, and my mind never wandered. The relationships between Jamie and various adult characters seemed genuine, and there was enough scary imagery to push the novel into horror territory. Plus the zinger of a twist at the end? Nailed it. 3.5 stars rounded up, because while Later wasn’t one of my all-time favorites, Uncle Stevie still is. This review and more can be found on my blog: www.confettibookshelf.com

  9. 4 out of 5

    David Putnam

    Loved this one, couldn’t put it down. Great premise, great writing craft as always. Anytime there is a premise that sparks my imagination and I can easily see other storylines—endless storylines it’s a book I want to stay with and see what happens. I hope King does follow up with other books similar to this one. Loved it. In most of my reviews I tout the voice as being the most important, The Fictive Dream, and that I want to be immersed in the story deep enough where my world falls away and I’m Loved this one, couldn’t put it down. Great premise, great writing craft as always. Anytime there is a premise that sparks my imagination and I can easily see other storylines—endless storylines it’s a book I want to stay with and see what happens. I hope King does follow up with other books similar to this one. Loved it. In most of my reviews I tout the voice as being the most important, The Fictive Dream, and that I want to be immersed in the story deep enough where my world falls away and I’m whisked off into a world of the writer’s creation. King does it here but at the same time he breaks one of the main rules of the Fictive Dream; Don’t let the reader see the magic, don’t let the reader see the author telling the story. King breaks the rule and I saw how the sausage was made the entire way. He did such a masterful job at it that it didn’t matter I was immersed anyway. What’s really mind blowing is that he did it on purpose, not only on purpose but he flaunted it in the reader’s face. He sets it up right at the beginning telling us that he is going to be over using the word, “Later.” That he’s going to purposely crash through the fourth wall. “Later,” is a reference to the author raising his ugly head and telling the reader, I’m here, I’m right here.” He does this by using, “Later on…or, “I’ll get to that later.” He does it often and yet just enough—masterful. Then…then he goes and uses this writing tick as the title. I was bowled over (but please keep in mind I’m easily amused). I highly recommend this one. David Putnam author of the Bruno Johnson series.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte May

    This was cray 😜 and I loved it!! “So yeah, I see dead people. As far as I can remember, I always have. But it’s not like in that movie with Bruce Willis.” Jamie Conklin sees the dead, only for a few days before they disappear and only in places they lived or loved. On the down side they look exactly as they did when they died, or were murdered. Usually it isn’t a big deal. It just...is. Until someone finds out about Jamie’s unique ability and tries to use it to their advantage. This is a horror This was cray 😜 and I loved it!! “So yeah, I see dead people. As far as I can remember, I always have. But it’s not like in that movie with Bruce Willis.” Jamie Conklin sees the dead, only for a few days before they disappear and only in places they lived or loved. On the down side they look exactly as they did when they died, or were murdered. Usually it isn’t a big deal. It just...is. Until someone finds out about Jamie’s unique ability and tries to use it to their advantage. This is a horror, but it is also a coming of age story, mysterious and even funny in places. I liked the twists and turns. (view spoiler)[ That Jamie had to fight against the unknown demon in the dead mass murderer ‘Thumper’ and that he won. So that he could call on it later in the book to help him get away from Liz. Also that he was born from incest and maybe that caused his ‘ability’ would have liked to know more about how his conception came about. (hide spoiler)] I would have liked more. As I usually always do in cases like this. I’m hoping there may be more to come with this story. *************************** Fell into my basket at Tesco. At £3.50 it’d be rude not to! 😂

  11. 4 out of 5

    Zoeytron

    Jamie is a young boy with a very special ability, one which his mom encourages him to keep under wraps.  I liked this kid.  The elderly professor who was "old school" was a keeper, too.  The absolute importance of listening comes into play.  The "sell by" date takes on additional significance.   It almost feels disloyal to give a measly three stars to this, but it was a true case of liking it but not loving it.  I wasn't really expecting to be scared, but it would have been nice.  Still and yet, Jamie is a young boy with a very special ability, one which his mom encourages him to keep under wraps.  I liked this kid.  The elderly professor who was "old school" was a keeper, too.  The absolute importance of listening comes into play.  The "sell by" date takes on additional significance.   It almost feels disloyal to give a measly three stars to this, but it was a true case of liking it but not loving it.  I wasn't really expecting to be scared, but it would have been nice.  Still and yet, definitely worth the read.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ginger

    This new book by Stephen King was just great! Ranging between a 4 to 4.5 stars! Later has a bit of everything in a plot that I love about books, and King's books in particular. ✔️ The characters are fleshed out and there’s a mixture of characters to love and hate. Jamie's Mom was a trip. Who's really the parent?! ha! I also really liked Professor Burkett. He was a nice addition to this book! ✔️ The plot is intriguing enough that you just keep reading longer than you planned. His books have that ability This new book by Stephen King was just great! Ranging between a 4 to 4.5 stars! Later has a bit of everything in a plot that I love about books, and King's books in particular. ✔️ The characters are fleshed out and there’s a mixture of characters to love and hate. Jamie's Mom was a trip. Who's really the parent?! ha! I also really liked Professor Burkett. He was a nice addition to this book! ✔️ The plot is intriguing enough that you just keep reading longer than you planned. His books have that ability to be binge worthy and Later is like this. I read it in only a few days. ✔️ The plot twists are well done and there's one in particular that I did not see coming. Woah! ✔️ The scare elements in the book are good, not necessarily scary in my opinion. I’ve read other books by King that have scared me more. I still enjoyed all the unease when Jamie Conklin had interactions with Therriault though. ✔️ I love the coming-to-age story of Jamie as a little kid dealing with having this "ability". King takes us from the age of 6 until he’s in his early 20s. He goes through some scary stuff as a kid and I can’t even imagine the situations that he’s put into as a teenager. I don’t know how King keeps knocking 'em out but I’ll be here until the end. Even a mediocre King book is better then most books out there! Definitely read this if you are a fan of his books. If you like mystery, ghost stories and coming-to-age stories, I think you’ll also really enjoy this one as well!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sadie Hartmann

    If you identify as a Constant Reader, you approach a new King book with a personal reading journey decades in the making. Your first one. Your favorite one. The one that made you fall in love. The one that broke your heart. The book you tell everyone is the worst. The last one you read. The one you’ve read the most. The Top Ten. The Bottom Five. Sometimes I feel like Constant Readers are the saltiest Stephen King fans there are. We certainly can be the hardest to please. *Raising my hand* When we If you identify as a Constant Reader, you approach a new King book with a personal reading journey decades in the making. Your first one. Your favorite one. The one that made you fall in love. The one that broke your heart. The book you tell everyone is the worst. The last one you read. The one you’ve read the most. The Top Ten. The Bottom Five. Sometimes I feel like Constant Readers are the saltiest Stephen King fans there are. We certainly can be the hardest to please. *Raising my hand* When we hold a new King book in our hands, what are we looking for? For me, it’s the characters. Stephen King’s characters are EVERYTHING TO ME. They have lived in my reader’s heart since the moment they came to life on the page and they will never leave. Oy the Billybumbler. The Loser’s Club Father Callahan Dick Hallorann Mother Abagail Tom Cullen Jack Sawyer & Wolf Jake & Sadie Roland Danny Andy Dufresne & Red Gordy, Chris, Vern & Teddy And on and on and on. For me, King is in his wheelhouse when he’s writing from a kid’s POV and they have to stare down some unimaginable horror. That’s where the magic is for me. And so his new Hard Case Crime, LATER brought the magic home for me after a long spell of not feeling it. LATER is the story of a young boy named Jamie who lives a pretty comfortable life with his mother. They have a sweet relationship. Fairly early on, it’s revealed to readers that he has supernatural gifting (because it’s a Stephen King book and we show up for this). Jamie is open to his mother about his gift but for the most part, he internalizes the depth of the struggle he goes through bearing the weight of it. As Jamie grows older and new relationships come in and out of his life, he realizes that some people can be trusted with knowing about what he is able to do and some cannot. Jamie’s narrative sucked me right in. It was like coming home. I walked up to the first page and King reached out his hand and I just fucking left the world behind. There is this familiarity with the style and the storytelling where I was just like, “Yep. This is the shit right here.” As Jamie gets a little older and begins to understand the power of his gift, he encounters something with even greater power and this scared the shit out of me. It has been a minute since King tapped that for me. It felt awesome! My husband was in the living room while I was reading and a few times I held out my paperback like Simba the lion cub in the circle of life moment shouting, “YES!! THIS!!” There are so many things to love about this book-it's like a love letter to fans who have been with him for a long time because he tucks in some little tie-ins to the King universe that made me cry. Literally. Fucking. Cried. And you know, this book is not perfect. But if anyone else BUT the King wrote it, people would be like, OH MY GOD THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER!! But we hold Stephen King to this whole other standard. And I’m not shaming anyone because I do it too. SLEEPING BEAUTIES? Meh. (I didn't even finish it) ELEVATION? Meh. THE INSTITUTION? Meh. As I said, it has been a minute. This book is a five-star for me. There was exactly one thing I didn't like about it. One. And I’m going to forgive it because for the most part, I was in blissed-out, Constant Reader euphoria and it felt damn good. He still has it for me. He’s still the man. Sadie

  14. 5 out of 5

    Larry H

    3.5 stars, rounded up. With Later , The Master returns with a nostalgic-feeling book that has glimpses of Stand By Me and IT in its storytelling. Sometimes growing up means facing your demons. Jamie is a young boy growing up in NYC, the son of a single mother who tries to do her best to give him a good life, even when they're struggling financially. Jamie has an unnatural ability, one that few others have. Sometimes it traumatizes him, but most times it’s fairly innocuous. There are time 3.5 stars, rounded up. With Later , The Master returns with a nostalgic-feeling book that has glimpses of Stand By Me and IT in its storytelling. Sometimes growing up means facing your demons. Jamie is a young boy growing up in NYC, the son of a single mother who tries to do her best to give him a good life, even when they're struggling financially. Jamie has an unnatural ability, one that few others have. Sometimes it traumatizes him, but most times it’s fairly innocuous. There are times, however, when he can use it to gain information to help someone. However, Jamie’s mother warns him to keep this ability secret because he could be exploited. When an NYPD detective, trying to secure their own future, uses Jamie to try and find out a serial killer’s last move, it exposes Jamie to the more terrifying side of his abilities, and awakens fears and anxieties that will haunt him and make him question everything around him. I’m being purposely vague with the plot description of Later because I went into this book knowing next to nothing, and I might have had different expectations if I knew more. I really loved Stephen King’s storytelling style here. It drew you in and made you worry how he was going to scare the s—t out of you and/or break your heart. There’s a lot I enjoyed about this book, but in the end, I didn’t find anything really scary about it. The ending was a little anti-climactic for me as well. Still, reading Later reminded me of my younger days, reading King’s early novels and being totally transported into his worlds. It’s nice when he writes a simpler story every now and again. Check out my list of the best books I read in 2020 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2021/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2020.html. Check out my list of the best books of the last decade at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/my-favorite-books-of-decade.html. See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com. Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    "Get busy living or get busy dying." - Stephen King Stephen King has done it again! Jamie Conklin just wants a normal life. He is the son of a struggling single mother trying to pay the bills which includes paying for the care facility his uncle is in. He is a good kid but has a special "gift". He can see and speak to the recently deceased. Is this a gift or a curse? This is Stephen King after all, and it is as he writes "a horror story". Stephen King can spin a yarn and he does so in this paranor "Get busy living or get busy dying." - Stephen King Stephen King has done it again! Jamie Conklin just wants a normal life. He is the son of a struggling single mother trying to pay the bills which includes paying for the care facility his uncle is in. He is a good kid but has a special "gift". He can see and speak to the recently deceased. Is this a gift or a curse? This is Stephen King after all, and it is as he writes "a horror story". Stephen King can spin a yarn and he does so in this paranormal coming of age tale. He shows Jamie using his gift, his mother cautioning his to keep it quiet, and we see what happens when the cat is out of the bag. When a NYPD detective learns of his ability, Jamie is put to the test as is his ability. I continued to be amazed how King can not only come up with new storylines, but those storylines are full of characters who are so likeable, relatable, and easy to root for. They are flawed, they are doing the best that they can, and sure one might see dead people, but no one is perfect. There is a sweetness to this book. The relationships forged especially with their neighbor. Characters care for each other, the perform acts of kindness, they feel real and fully formed. But not everyone is being kind in this book. It is King after all. There are also touches of humor and I loved hearing Jamie's thoughts! It is going to hit the fan, but it does not hit it quite so hard as it does in his previous books. I think this book will appeal to more readers. Yes, King writes that this is a horror story, but it is also a mystery, a coming of age, and a paranormal story as well. Did it scare me? No. Give me the creeps? No. But it was enjoyable and all King. Not every horror story needs to be truly horrific, does it? Because this one was a pleasure. Looking forward to what he comes up with next. Read more of my reviews at www.openbookposts.com

  16. 4 out of 5

    Blaine

    Jamie Conklin, narrator of this novel: “So yeah, I see dead people. As far as I can remember, I always have. But it’s not like in that movie with Bruce Willis.” Me, reading those lines: “Okay, but it’s pretty much exactly like that movie.”So seeing dead people is Jamie’s “unnatural ability” that is hinted at in the Goodreads description of this novel. I’m not sure why it’s only hinted at, as the revelation comes in the first few pages, along with the two facts that do, all jokes aside, make the “ Jamie Conklin, narrator of this novel: “So yeah, I see dead people. As far as I can remember, I always have. But it’s not like in that movie with Bruce Willis.” Me, reading those lines: “Okay, but it’s pretty much exactly like that movie.”So seeing dead people is Jamie’s “unnatural ability” that is hinted at in the Goodreads description of this novel. I’m not sure why it’s only hinted at, as the revelation comes in the first few pages, along with the two facts that do, all jokes aside, make the “I see dead people” story here quite different from The Sixth Sense. The dead people here know that they’re dead and, more importantly, the dead are incapable of lying if asked a direct question. With that setup, Later tells a good story of a young boy with a power he never asked for, who’s pressured several times by the adults in his life to help them out of a jam by extracting a secret from someone recently deceased. And before Later is over, Jamie will cross paths with evil, human and otherwise. As Jamie tells the reader several times throughout the tale, “this is a horror story.” Specifically, it’s a horror story with a couple of very particular references to Stephen King’s classic It. The references are nothing you won’t understand if you haven’t read that book; they’re just callbacks that you’ll get if you have. Though, if you haven’t read It, please do yourself a favor and correct that mistake immediately for all the reasons that I gush about here. 😄 Later is a really good Stephen King story, especially for his more recent works. As always, there’s great storytelling here, and King’s such a gifted writer. He creates a narrative voice that sounds like a young adult recounting the experiences from when he was a kid. King has a great sense for which of his plots work best as short stories, supersize novels, or as in this case, a short novel with only about five primary characters. Later tells a complete story, while leaving open the possibility for a return to some of these characters in the future. Finally, for a book that revolves around the power and potential damage caused by keeping or discovering secrets, there’s a bittersweet one saved for the very end. Recommended.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kemper

    A young boy sees dead people. No, not THAT young boy, and Bruce Willis is not involved. Jamie Conklin seems like an ordinary kid being raised by his single mother in New York during the late ‘00s, but Jamie has the gift/curse of being able to see and communicate with people who died recently. While it causes him to sometimes see the grisly aftermath of somebody’s demise, it also allows him to do things like help a grieving neighbor whose wife just died learn where she had left her wedding ring. J A young boy sees dead people. No, not THAT young boy, and Bruce Willis is not involved. Jamie Conklin seems like an ordinary kid being raised by his single mother in New York during the late ‘00s, but Jamie has the gift/curse of being able to see and communicate with people who died recently. While it causes him to sometimes see the grisly aftermath of somebody’s demise, it also allows him to do things like help a grieving neighbor whose wife just died learn where she had left her wedding ring. Jamie’s mother has wisely told him not to talk about his ability, but when she desperately needs to talk to a dead man, Jamie is pressed into service. Unfortunately, Jamie’s mom also tells her girlfriend, a cop who doesn’t do things by the book, and when she gets into trouble on the job she wants Jamie’s help and won’t take no for an answer. Like the other times that Uncle Stevie has done a book for Hard Case Crime, this has a supernatural element and isn’t the kind of straight up hard boiled story they usually do. I also didn’t care much for King’s other recent books where he’s tried to blend thrillers with horror which left me fully prepared to dislike this one. So I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed it. For one thing, it is not The Sixth Sense rip-off that a quick plot summary makes it sound like, and King blends the supernatural with a crime story more naturally than he has in other things. It helps that it’s short, especially by Uncle Stevie standards, at less than 300 pages. Things move along at a brisk pace, and that makes it a solid page turner. He just had a cool idea for a story and banged it out with no padding to it at all. I was also pleased that King did such a nice job at writing it from Jamie’s point of view. It seems like he’s really struggled to write younger lead characters these days, and his protagonists who are supposed to be in their 30s or 40s often come across as elderly people. Writing kids is something King used to do really well, and it was nice to see that he still has that touch. This is one of those times that I really wish Goodreads let us do half stars because this would be the perfect example of a 3.5 for. Pretty good, a lot of fun, and well worth a look, but not quite great enough for a full 4. Overall, it was a nice reminder of the old Uncle Stevie magic even if it’s not going to make anyone forget about The Shining.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Paul E. Morph

    You know, so many people click 'Like' on my reviews when all they say is 'RTC' that I question the point of actually going back and writing anything else but here goes anyway... Sai King is without a doubt my favourite author and has been since 1986 when I first read my mum's copy of 'Skeleton Crew'. He's pretty much the only author whose books I buy on the day of release and I was salivating madly when this latest offering popped up on my Kindle. This being said, this isn't one of his best. Don't You know, so many people click 'Like' on my reviews when all they say is 'RTC' that I question the point of actually going back and writing anything else but here goes anyway... Sai King is without a doubt my favourite author and has been since 1986 when I first read my mum's copy of 'Skeleton Crew'. He's pretty much the only author whose books I buy on the day of release and I was salivating madly when this latest offering popped up on my Kindle. This being said, this isn't one of his best. Don't get me wrong; I absolutely loved it and finished it in two days, but still... My main issue with it is that, for all that My Dark Master goes in a completely different direction with it, it has to be acknowledged that he does totally swipe the basic premise to The Sixth Sense (and, no, confessing to the swipe in the body of the text does not make it less of a swipe but at least credit was given where credit was due). Now, I enjoyed this book so much I nearly let it go and gave it 5 stars anyway but then the thought occurred that I wouldn't let any other author get away with doing this, so in the spirit of being a fair and even-handed reviewer (sorry, I couldn't type that without laughing), I decided I couldn't let Mr. King get away with it either. Hence, 4 stars. Still, it's a great crime/horror mash-up with some real scares and some genuine edge-of-your-seat moments and I loved every minute of it. Oh, go on, then: call it 4.5 stars! My next book: Writing Home

  19. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Audiobook.... .....read by Seth Numrich Seth was FANTASTIC.... We meet Jamie Conklin, a literary agent kid. Smart, sensitive, observant, and....see’s dead people ; but not like the Bruce Willis movie. Jamie is adorably lovable. I mean he believed ‘Goldie Locks’ was a real girl as a kid, for goodness sake. Ha....Jamie was smart enough to know the bears weren’t real. Jamie’s relationship with his mom, Tia, is totally endearing, too. And.... I only got ‘scared’ once .... In some ways this book reminded Audiobook.... .....read by Seth Numrich Seth was FANTASTIC.... We meet Jamie Conklin, a literary agent kid. Smart, sensitive, observant, and....see’s dead people ; but not like the Bruce Willis movie. Jamie is adorably lovable. I mean he believed ‘Goldie Locks’ was a real girl as a kid, for goodness sake. Ha....Jamie was smart enough to know the bears weren’t real. Jamie’s relationship with his mom, Tia, is totally endearing, too. And.... I only got ‘scared’ once .... In some ways this book reminded of Joyland, a pocket book that’s filled with heart. “Later”.... is also FILLED WITH HEART.... It blends several genres — coming of age, mystery-crime, paranormal, and thriller “Later” is simply a darn enjoyable Stephen King classic. LOVED IT!!!!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    This was going to be a full 5 Stars for me, but he just had to put a few people/things in the book I hate so much, that I’m just going to give it a four star. (I inked out those parts) 😃 Anyhoo.. The cover is EVERYTHING!! And I loved the story so much! I loved Joyland too. I haven’t read the Colorado Kid (I just watched that show). I’m actually wanting to read some more authors that write these hard crime books. Oh!! And I wish I could read those books by that one author that was in the book 😂🤣 Th This was going to be a full 5 Stars for me, but he just had to put a few people/things in the book I hate so much, that I’m just going to give it a four star. (I inked out those parts) 😃 Anyhoo.. The cover is EVERYTHING!! And I loved the story so much! I loved Joyland too. I haven’t read the Colorado Kid (I just watched that show). I’m actually wanting to read some more authors that write these hard crime books. Oh!! And I wish I could read those books by that one author that was in the book 😂🤣 That’s all folks! Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)

    3.5 Stars Reading Vlog: https://youtu.be/gieQNXDDwQQ This was an engaging coming of age horror story. Unlike most Stephen King novels, I did not think this one was too long. The protagonist was a likeable young man. I particularly enjoyed the feeling of nostalgia for the early 2000s. In usual King fashion, the ending was pretty weak. I was particularly bothered with a final revealed that seemed to come out of nowhere. Despite my criticisms, I generally enjoyed this one. The story was very simple a 3.5 Stars Reading Vlog: https://youtu.be/gieQNXDDwQQ This was an engaging coming of age horror story. Unlike most Stephen King novels, I did not think this one was too long. The protagonist was a likeable young man. I particularly enjoyed the feeling of nostalgia for the early 2000s. In usual King fashion, the ending was pretty weak. I was particularly bothered with a final revealed that seemed to come out of nowhere. Despite my criticisms, I generally enjoyed this one. The story was very simple and predictable, yet it made for a comforting read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Marianna Neal

    I've come to the conclusion that I need to stick to Stephen King's earlier work. In Later there are more occasions of the main character reminding the reader that "this is a horror story" than there are actual horrific scenes. There are way more movie and book references than satisfying plot developments. There are nods to King's own work, enough to strongly connect it to the "universe" most of his novels are set in, which was actually something I liked. The biggest problem with Later is that it I've come to the conclusion that I need to stick to Stephen King's earlier work. In Later there are more occasions of the main character reminding the reader that "this is a horror story" than there are actual horrific scenes. There are way more movie and book references than satisfying plot developments. There are nods to King's own work, enough to strongly connect it to the "universe" most of his novels are set in, which was actually something I liked. The biggest problem with Later is that it's just lackluster - it has an interesting concept, even though the comparisons to The Sixth Sense are unavoidable (and not in the novel's favor), it has a promising villain, but everything that happens towards the end is just so predictable and tame. Overall, there really is nothing all that memorable here that we haven't seen/read about before. And don't get me started on the single mother who doesn't really have her life together and sometimes likes wine too much cliché trope. Or the kid/teenager who occasionally sounds like he's 60 years old. Sigh. This novel is unfortunately an underwhelming experience. *** Love books and movies? Check out my YouTube channel for more reviews, recommendations, discussions, and rankings. Instagram | Twitter | Letterboxd A special thank you to all of my Patreon supporters! You guys rock!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Melissa (LifeFullyBooked)

    This is the second Hard Case Crime book I've read by King. Somehow I missed Joyland, but I didn't really like The Colorado Kid so maybe that was why I skipped it. Glad I picked this one up though, because it was engaging and well done. It's narrated by Jamie, who is older when he is telling the story of what happened to him when he was a kid. Jamie had the unique ability to talk to the recently deceased. No, this isn't The Sixth Sense, he is able to ignore his ability for the most part, but it co This is the second Hard Case Crime book I've read by King. Somehow I missed Joyland, but I didn't really like The Colorado Kid so maybe that was why I skipped it. Glad I picked this one up though, because it was engaging and well done. It's narrated by Jamie, who is older when he is telling the story of what happened to him when he was a kid. Jamie had the unique ability to talk to the recently deceased. No, this isn't The Sixth Sense, he is able to ignore his ability for the most part, but it comes in handy at times. There are a few people that want to take advantage of him when they find out what he can do. And then there's the problem of that one dead person who just might be inhabited by a demon (shades of The Outsider here). Overall, I really enjoyed this story. It's fast paced, a bit of mystery sprinkled with just the right amount of supernatural/horror so as to not make my logical brain turn off. Yet it's also a coming-of-age story about Jamie who is learning who he is, and what makes him tick and why. I liked him immensely as a character, I think King does a great job with writing his kid/teen characters and always gravitated towards his books that feature them as protagonists. I listened to part of this on audio and then the book came in from the library. Seth Numrich is the narrator, I had previously listened to him narrate A Sudden Light and he does an excellent job of communicating a young character's mannerisms and outlook. Definitely recommended.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Michael Hicks

    Later, Stephen King's latest release via Hard Case Crime, is a supernatural coming-of-age story that fits quite neatly within the crime genre. King has progressively become more invested in the crime genre in his sunset years, having penned a couple previous Hard Case Crime books, along with those titles in the Bill Hodges trilogy and The Outsider (it sounds like his forthcoming hitman book, Billy Summers, will continue this trend), along with other earlier works like The Green Mile and Rita Hay Later, Stephen King's latest release via Hard Case Crime, is a supernatural coming-of-age story that fits quite neatly within the crime genre. King has progressively become more invested in the crime genre in his sunset years, having penned a couple previous Hard Case Crime books, along with those titles in the Bill Hodges trilogy and The Outsider (it sounds like his forthcoming hitman book, Billy Summers, will continue this trend), along with other earlier works like The Green Mile and Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption. It's proved to be a natural and comfortable shift for King, and Constant Readers will find Later as eminently readable as virtually any other story in this author's massive backlist. While this is certainly a crime story at heart, it is also very much a horror story. Jamie Conklin sees dead people. While not exactly a unique premise, and King makes some knowing nods toward The Sixth Sense, it is compelling in its own right and has a few neat twists along the way. Later is narrated in first-person by an older Conklin looking back on his younger years, autobiographical style, from age 6 and up. We get an excellent look at his young life in New York, living with his lit agent mother as they navigate the turbulent economic crash of 2008 and cope the death of their primary breadwinner client, an author of historical bodice rippers whose demise leaves his celebrated series unfinished after the penultimate novel. The hard crime component... well, that comes later and requires a modicum of patience. King explores the conceit of being a child medium quite credibly, as well as how that talent can be exploited and challenged in pretty terrific ways, including a callback to an earlier King classic that took me by complete surprise. He also lays out the ground rules of this particular talent in believable ways, and then throws a real nice curveball into the mix to keep us on our toes. King's writing of young characters doesn't always ring completely true (here, a thirteen-year-old Jamie uses the phrase 'doc-in-a-box' to refer to a small-town clinic, a term I'd never heard before, let alone ever heard a kid say), but he's developed a neat work-around here with this story's narrative structure. By and large, Conklin is a pretty relatable kid, no doubt made wiser than his years thanks to all his communing with the recently departed and the knowledge of hindsight as he recollects his life's story. Later is a quick and compelling read, and a real fun cross-genre affair that expertly blends crime, horror, and coming-of-age elements seamlessly. Constant Readers likely won't find much surprising about that, though, given King's naturalness as a storyteller. What they will find is yet another comfort food-equivalent read, and a perfectly fine way to while away the hours.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Kuhn

    I’m a long-time Stephen King fan and have read nearly everything he’s written. When I heard the details of this novel, it immediately reminded me of “Joyland.” This is another hard crime novel by King and also published by Titan under the ‘Hard Case Crime’ imprint. Well, I loved “Joyland” and so my expectations went high on this one. For me, if you considered “Joyland” a home run, like I did, “Later” is a triple, which slid in just under the tag (baseball’s opening day was yesterday). I really e I’m a long-time Stephen King fan and have read nearly everything he’s written. When I heard the details of this novel, it immediately reminded me of “Joyland.” This is another hard crime novel by King and also published by Titan under the ‘Hard Case Crime’ imprint. Well, I loved “Joyland” and so my expectations went high on this one. For me, if you considered “Joyland” a home run, like I did, “Later” is a triple, which slid in just under the tag (baseball’s opening day was yesterday). I really enjoyed the book, and once again King shows his storytelling skills. This book flows along and is an easy, fast read. With less than ten key characters and largely following a single plot line, it’s one of King’s more straightforward tales. I liked the good guys, but the story didn’t quite have the level of peril that I felt in other King books. The supernatural aspect also isn’t as unique or creative as King can be, although it’s certainly creepy and I enjoyed learning the subtleties of the main character’s abilities. First person works well in these kind of crime novels and puts you right into the mind of the main character. I did enjoy how the book allows our MC to step out of the story at times, which explains the title and provides some interesting thoughts at the end. However, as I read the tale, I couldn’t help but think it was missing something. Somehow, despite spending an entire novel with our main character, Jamie Conklin, I never felt like I knew him. Sure, he loved him mom dearly, his supernatural ability made him pay a price, he played tennis, and had a few girlfriends, but despite following him from Kindergarten to high school he still felt a little generic. Yes, we get to see much of his thinking, and it feels realistic, but for me, it’s missing that King magic of revealing the quirky and intriguing personal traits that many of King’s most famous characters have, especially with first person narration. In addition, there isn’t quite enough of the crime mystery in this one, although there are a few solid twists. It fits in the genre with cops and murders and such, but I was looking forward to an intriguing crime mystery laden with clues. A well-told story, that leverages King’s talent to intertwine the supernatural with a hard crime plot that entertains and satisfies but fails to live up to some of King’s best work in the space (such as Mr. Mercedes and Joyland). Just barely Four Stars from this devoted King fan.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Daviau

    I’m always more than thrilled when King comes out with a new book and I will happily read anything he writes. Now mix together King and a coming of age story and I’m practically drooling at the thought! This is classic King at his best, taking us along for the ride to adulthood of one Jamie Conklin. And it is one hell of an amazing ride that I flew through at lightning speed. This story has everything I love about King stories all wrapped up in one nice shiny package and it was excellent. It has I’m always more than thrilled when King comes out with a new book and I will happily read anything he writes. Now mix together King and a coming of age story and I’m practically drooling at the thought! This is classic King at his best, taking us along for the ride to adulthood of one Jamie Conklin. And it is one hell of an amazing ride that I flew through at lightning speed. This story has everything I love about King stories all wrapped up in one nice shiny package and it was excellent. It has heart and horror and ghosts and guts and what more could you want really? Now with all this glowing praise you may wonder why four stars and not five. Well there’s one thing at the end that just didn’t sit right with me, it just seemed thrown in and added a big nothing to the story and it spoiled the ending a bit for me. So while I did love it, I just can’t give it a full five stars because of that.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Charlie Brown

    If it's anything like Joyland, it's going to be one of the best books of the year. Hard Case Crime did everyone a solid by getting Stephen King to be one of their authors. If it's anything like Joyland, it's going to be one of the best books of the year. Hard Case Crime did everyone a solid by getting Stephen King to be one of their authors.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    ** The Stephen King Goodreads Discussion Group is doing a re-read of his works from the beginning to the end. It’s been a long time since I have really immersed myself in Uncle Stevie’s world, but a rate of a book a month, I am all in. My goal is to read and review each one with as much honesty and reflection that I can give. ** Background – “Later” was published in March, 2021 in paperback by Hard Case Crime. Length-wise - my paperback lists it as 252 pages and my Kindle lists it as 248 pages. P ** The Stephen King Goodreads Discussion Group is doing a re-read of his works from the beginning to the end. It’s been a long time since I have really immersed myself in Uncle Stevie’s world, but a rate of a book a month, I am all in. My goal is to read and review each one with as much honesty and reflection that I can give. ** Background – “Later” was published in March, 2021 in paperback by Hard Case Crime. Length-wise - my paperback lists it as 252 pages and my Kindle lists it as 248 pages. Plotline – this is the story of Jamie Conklin, who is far from any ordinary child. He has a unique ability (or curse) to see dead people. This enables him to see and learn things about others that no one else can. Although his single parent mother struggles to raise him right, she fears his ability, and worries about the way others will take advantage of him because of it. Things changes when his secret gets out and a New York City Police Detective decides to use his powers to capture a serial bomber. When Jamie is guilted into helping the Detective, at first it looks like he’s made a contribution that benefits society, but then things take a turn for the worst and he finds himself being haunted by a dead man that just won’t move on… Thoughts and Reflections – The simplest way to describe this short novel is that it’s “The Sixth Sense” with a different twist; an Uncle Stevie special twist of the creative and twisted macabre. There are several things I enjoyed about this book. It is a fast-paced story with all of the fat cut out of it. It’s pretty lean and tight for a King book, which benefits and keeps the reader focused. Another strength is experiencing it through the voice of a young pre-teen male that is battling puberty along with the power overwhelming his life. Jamie is raw, naïve, and sympathetic. He draws you in in many of the same ways that Danny Torrance (“The Shining”) and Charlie McGee (“Firestarter”) before them. Although he isn’t as empathetic as them, he still stands pretty good one his own. I won’t be the first, nor the last, to say one of King’s magical powers is the ability to create memorable young characters learning to develop and control unique powers. He proves it again with Jamie. With the understanding that this was also written for the hard case crime genre, not a literary book club, there were still some things that kept this book from being a memorable thriller. Some of that can probably be attributed to its smaller focus and lower scale storylines. Don’t get me wrong, this was an enjoyable read, just not a great read. Although Jamie’s gift for seeing dead people was interesting, I was never worried about him being harmed or seriously injured. The tension felt more low-key and the events played out in small stakes payoffs. Nothing too grand or spectacular, but enough to keep my interest through to the end. Other Notes – This is King's third published novel with Hard Case Crime, following the previous releases of “Joyland” in 2014 and “The Colorado Kid” in 2019. Overall – This was an easy, enjoyable read. Not necessarily memorable or mesmerizing, but enough drama and conflict to be entertaining. If I were to apply a school grade to it, it would be a C+.

  29. 5 out of 5

    William Gwynne

    Later is Stephen King’s most recent release, and one that many people says returns to an earlier, more nostalgic style of his. This is only my second read of a Stephen King work, the first being Salem's Lot, but after seeing a wave of praise for this as of late, I felt an urge to dive right in. This was a short, sharp, great read. Crime and horror intertwined from the retrospective view of James Conklin, whom we follow through his formative years. James is the son of a literary agent, clever and Later is Stephen King’s most recent release, and one that many people says returns to an earlier, more nostalgic style of his. This is only my second read of a Stephen King work, the first being Salem's Lot, but after seeing a wave of praise for this as of late, I felt an urge to dive right in. This was a short, sharp, great read. Crime and horror intertwined from the retrospective view of James Conklin, whom we follow through his formative years. James is the son of a literary agent, clever and witty for his age. He is mature and more sensitive to social circumstances than most children. This alone distinguishes him from most characters and makes him an interesting kid to follow. Oh, and also, he can see dead people. That’s quite important. “Twenty-two is light years from thirteen. I know more now, but I believe less.” Adhering to his fame at honest depictions of children and teenagers, King certainly delivers that in Later, as well as an engaging plot, interesting characters and just a satisfying, page-turning read. James Conklin is the main character, and much of this story revolves around his relationship with his mother. It is problematic, and at times strained, but unlike King’s reputation would imply, it is actually quite heartwarming at times, and becomes a well-explored relationship of love from both parties. This is a hard crime case imprint, which I would say is misleading. The first half has minimal crime aspects and is hinged more around James living with his unusual gift and his relationship with his mother. However, those who love a bit of crime will still be appeased in Later. There was a sharp shift in the final third of this story, becoming more crime orientated in a smooth and natural manner that led to a satisfying conclusion. “Familiarity breed contempt, so they say, and in this case the saying was true.” I would say that whilst the characters were great and well-rounded, with some powerful moments of sentimentality being explored, I did not feel attached enough to the characters to fear for them. But, in a story just beyond the 200 page mark, that is not to be expected. To have the relationship with characters, interesting plot and character growth in the short page count is impressive enough. Later also, in classic King style, adopts a supernatural element as well. Again, interestingly, later does not rest on the genre of crime or horror enough to be firmly placed in that category, but seems to be an entity within itself, drawing inspiration equally from a variety of sources. Whilst Later does have these aspects, it seems to be trying to tell the story of a boy struggling through the turmoils of life and family, and just introduces these other aspects to see how he would react. “You get used to marvellous things. You take them for granted. You can try not to, but you do. There’s too much wonder, that’s all. It’s everywhere.” In that similar vein, I would say that Later is a very organic, natural story, which is character driven. There is no need to fret, fore the ending does stick the landing, and is quite a climactic, tense event, despite not constantly building towards a grand finale. In Later, as well as telling a good story, Stephen King lightly brushes and engages with wider concepts. He looks at childhood relationships, what clarifies right and wrong, if murder can be justifiable, and far more. Whilst the book does not revolve around these issues, it certainly brings in a humane, thought-provoking angle in including such issues from the perspective of a child. I’m really glad that I decided to read Later this month. It has definitely reawakened that desire within me to read more Stephen King, as Salem’s Lot did. He is one of the best selling authors of all time for a reason. And just after reading two books, I can see partially why. He can write in disparate styles, he can write characters and plot. He brings heart to his story, as well as a good dose of tension and fear. I need to decide what I will read next by him…. 4.25/5 STARS

  30. 4 out of 5

    AnnaLuce

    / / / Read more reviews on my blog / / / Did I finish this in a day? I sure did. Stephen King simply excels at writing 'kids with powers'. This is the 14th novel I've read by him and it deepened my already deep appreciation of him. The prose, characters, themes, and atmosphere in Later are pure King. Yet, while he has written more than book starring a child who Sees Dead People, Later gives a new slant to this classic trope. Set in New York between the late 2000s and early 2010s Later centres on a / / / Read more reviews on my blog / / / Did I finish this in a day? I sure did. Stephen King simply excels at writing 'kids with powers'. This is the 14th novel I've read by him and it deepened my already deep appreciation of him. The prose, characters, themes, and atmosphere in Later are pure King. Yet, while he has written more than book starring a child who Sees Dead People, Later gives a new slant to this classic trope. Set in New York between the late 2000s and early 2010s Later centres on and is narrated by Jamie. Now in his twenties, Jamie looks back to his childhood and early teens. Raised by his single mother, a literary agent, from a very young age Jamie could see ghosts. His attempts at normality are thwarted by his 'talent'. Jamie's mother financial troubles and her rocky relationship with a NYPD detective cause a further strain on his childhood. His mother's girlfriend eventually forces him to help in an active case. While King's children do occasionally come across as children of the 70s, more than the noughties, he manages to capture a child's naïveté and perspective. Later is a suspenseful read that showcases King at his best. King explores the loss of innocence, questions of morality ("For the Greater Good"), police corruption, mortality, and, of course, evil. King's prose is gripping, his characters—regardless of how we feel about them—engaging, his dialogues are absorbing, and his observations—about people, American society, death, love, the ways of the world—not only ring true to life but are also exceedingly insightful. I loved the novel's metafictional moments, his references to the conventions of horror/Sees Dead People genre, his lampoon of a certain type of male author, and his self-references. Stephen King simply excels at writing 'kids with powers'. This is the 14th novel I've read by him and it deepened my already deep appreciation of him. The prose, characters, themes, and atmosphere in Later are pure King. Yet, while he has written more than book starring a child who Sees Dead People, Later gives a new slant to this classic trope. Set in New York between the late 2000s and early 2010s Later centres on and is narrated by Jamie. Now in his twenties, Jamie looks back to his childhood and early teens. Raised by his single mother, a literary agent, from a very young age Jamie could see ghosts. His attempts at normality are thwarted by his 'talent'. Jamie's mother financial troubles and her rocky relationship with a NYPD detective cause a further strain on his childhood. His mother's girlfriend eventually forces him to help in an active case. While King's children do occasionally come across as children of the 70s, more than the noughties, he manages to capture a child's naïveté and perspective. Later is a suspenseful read that showcases King at his best. King explores the loss of innocence, questions of morality ("For the Greater Good"), police corruption, mortality, and, of course, evil. King's prose is gripping, his characters—regardless of how we feel about them—engaging, his dialogues are absorbing, and his observations—about people, American society, death, love, the ways of the world—not only ring true to life but are also exceedingly insightful. I loved the novel's metafictional moments, his references to the conventions of horror/Sees Dead People genre, his lampoon of a certain type of male author, and his self-references. Later is an addictive read that offers readers a fantastic blend of genres—horror, coming of age, supernatural, crime—and will definitely appeal to fans of King.

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