Normally, I am not the kind of person who likes to read mystery novels. I usually steer myself towards non-fiction or biographical works most of the time. However, I have always been a big fan of scifi movies and scifi television programming in general. Just recently, the Syfy channel started airing a new series called "Haven" which is based off of Stephen King's "The Colorado Kid". Being the scifi geek that I am, I decided to read Stephen King's book before watching the tv series to see if it was any good. What I encountered was more of a mystery novel than a scifi one, but I wasn't disappointed. It's a very quick read and you'll still be asking questions about the novel's contents even after you're done. I can now see why the syfy channel wanted to base a series off of this work and I can't blame them for doing that.
The novel centers around the characters of Vince Teague, Dave Bowie, and Stephanie McCann. Vince and Dave are long time newspaper editors for The Weekly Islander, a local paper in a small coastal Maine town. Stephanie McCann is a 22 year old recently hired intern working under both Dave and Vince. Stephanie has just moved to the area and her two superiors feel that it is necessary to tell her about some of the unsolved crimes in the area that they have reported on over the past 30 to 40 years or so. However, the one crime that has always both fascinated and eluded both Dave and Vince is the tale of The Colorado Kid. An unidentified man is mysteriously found dead on a beach by two teenagers back in 1980. Eventually, this man is nicknamed "The Colorado Kid" (when it's revealed that the unidentfied man is from "Colorado") and the mystery has to how a Colorado naive finds himself dead on a Maine beach takes off. Even though Dave and Vince are retelling an old tale here in this novel, Dave hits it on the head when he says that "Sooner or later, everything old is new again".
One aspect about this novel that caught my attention is the idea of passing the torch to the next generation. Even though the novel centers around the editors' retelling the mystery of the Colorado kid, I also feel that the editors' relationship and their mentoring of Stephanie plays just as big of a role in this tale. Both of the editors are old men at this point. Vince is 90 years old and Dave is somewhere in his 60s. Clearly, this case has haunted them for a very long time and they need someone to pass it down to. When Stephanie comes along and showcases her great reporting skills, Vince and Dave use the Colorado kid tale as a means of initiating Stephanie into their fold. There are several moments in the novel where both Dave and Vince allow Stephanie to figure out how the next event unfolds in the mystery instead of just telling her what happens. Stephanie's curiosity about the Colorado kid builds throughout the novel and her interest allows Dave and Vince to sit easy knowing that the tale of the Colorado kid will live on through the next generation of residents in that small town in Maine. Overall, I feel as though the actual tale of the Colorado kid is used more as a subtext in order to allow Stephanie to grow and learn about the art of storytelling in her own way. It's just as Dave said before. Everything old is new again.
After reading this book, I'm looking forward to watching the series that this book is based off of. I don't know if the series will be as good, but it'll be interesting to compare it to the book and so on. I'd also suggest having an open mind when reading this novel and not adhering to certain expectations of what a mystery novel is supposed to be. If readers are able to do that, then I think they'll enjoy this novel as much as I did. :-)
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