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The Colorado Kid (Hard Case Crime #13) [Mass

A book by Stephen King.

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"Because sooner or later, everything old is new again"--Stephen King's "The Colorado Kid"

  • Jul 24, 2010

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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September 29, 2010
Great review - and I didn't know Haven was based off this book, which I also loved. Now I'll have to check that out! Hopefully it comes out on DVD.
July 27, 2010
Sounds like a great read, Pard. Thanks so much for sharing it with the group! The series and the book both sound like they are fantastic.
July 29, 2010
Yeah, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I ended up liking the novel. I hope the TV series that is based off of this book (Haven) is just as good. I might even write a review on Haven at some point down the road and compare it to this book. That should be fun to write, lol.
July 29, 2010
You are so lucky you have the sci-fi station. I'm jealous. If you do a comparison of the show to the book, feel free to post it here. I'm sure the readers will love it!
More The Colorado Kid reviews
review by . October 14, 2010
Stephen King first gained famed as a writer of the horrific and macabre. Books such as CARRIE, `SALEM'S LOT, THE SHINING, IT, etc. are what King is best known. However, King isn't just a great horror writer. In my opinion King is not only one of the most popular American writers, but he's also one of the best. King can write a great yarn in about any genre and in fact when he's writing stories that seemed to be more based in reality (such as DIFFERENT SEASONS or THE GREEN MILE) his …
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I'm a 29 year oldwhoenjoys reviewing certainreality tv shows and scifi programming. I also post reviews on other topics every now and then as well. I enjoy being here on Lunch and interacting with … more
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The Hard Case Crime series is a wonderful idea: a mix of original and reprinted hard-boiled detective novels by some of the best writers in the field, packaged to look like lurid 1940s and 1950s thrillers. And getting Stephen King to write a new novel as part of the series was quite a coup. King is the author of record when it comes to fiction set in America in recent decades, and here he is with a noir detective story. Alas, what he actually turned in was a cozy, a sort of Jan Karon take on the hard-boiled genre. And at the end, it turns out to be rather arty - if by "arty" you mean "doesn't answer any important questions." Fresh out of journalism school, Stephanie McCann is an intern at a weekly newspaper in an obscure corner off the coast of Maine. She is writing homey features and reporting on trivial stories, but she rather enjoys it. Then a big-city reporter comes to town to gather stories about "unsolved mysteries." The paper's owner and the managing editor send him away unsatisfied, and then tell Stephanie the only real unsolved mystery on the island. The banter between the two old men provides all kinds of local color, but it also means the pace of the storytelling is glacial. It takes most of chapter one to explain why they filch the cash the big-city reporter left to pay for a meal. We're in chapter five before they start telling the story that gives the book its title. Years earlier, two high school sweethearts found a ...
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