The Outsider: A Novel by Stephen KingThe Outsider: A Novel by Stephen King

The Outsider: A Novel

byStephen King

Hardcover | May 22, 2018

see the collection Tales of Horror

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER—soon to be an HBO limited series starring Ben Mendelsohn!

An unspeakable crime. A confounding investigation. At a time when the King brand has never been stronger, he has delivered one of his most unsettling and compulsively readable stories.

An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is found in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens. He is Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon add DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad.

As the investigation expands and horrifying answers begin to emerge, King’s propulsive story kicks into high gear, generating strong tension and almost unbearable suspense. Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face? When the answer comes, it will shock you as only Stephen King can.
Stephen King was born in Portland, Maine, on September 21, 1947. After graduating with a Bachelor's degree in English from the University of Maine at Orono in 1970, he became a teacher. His spare time was spent writing short stories and novels. King's first novel would never have been published if not for his wife. She removed the firs...
Title:The Outsider: A NovelFormat:HardcoverDimensions:576 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 1.7 inPublished:May 22, 2018Publisher:ScribnerLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1501180983

ISBN - 13:9781501180989

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Outsider To be falsely accused of a horrific crime, forever guilty even though you’re not. This in and of itself is a horror, then to take it to the level that the master, Stephen King does, with a twist is genius. Didn’t take long to inhale this book.
Date published: 2019-03-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great way to spend some time. I’ve always found that it’s hard to go wrong with a book from Stephen King, he completely dominates the horror charts and shelves. I love the meandering, detailed trails that I’ve traveled with him and his characters. The Outsider grabbed hold of me with an incredible start. I was left with feelings of: How? What? Why? This story began with a total mind-f*ck. I loved it. Normally, I find that King is a master creator of characters, and while The Outsider is filled with some great characters, I never really connected with any of them. Additionally, I was thrown off by the crossover aspect of the story. I won’t say who or from where, but there was a familiar face who spoiled a couple of things for me. That would have been nice to know beforehand. King takes his time with The Outsider, which is something that I appreciate. There are some shocks and surprises along the way that kept me guessing. The details and meandering paths helped to enhance the experience. All in all, The Outsider was an enjoyable story, but for some reason or another it just didn’t ring my bell like his other stories. With that being said, it was still a great way to spend some time getting away from it all.
Date published: 2019-02-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved this Stephen King does not disappoint once again. I couldn't put it down.
Date published: 2019-02-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible Great read. Takes a while to get hooked but it captures you out of nowhere and next minute you can’t put it down.
Date published: 2019-01-15
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not as good as the rest. Stephen King is guaranteed to be a good read but in my opinion if you've never read his work, start with the old stuff.
Date published: 2019-01-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from it was alright. I've been reading Stephen King for as long as I could remember and I've always enjoyed his books, but I found this one to drag on for far to long. Normally I spend days reading a book without putting it down, but this one was hard to pick up after reading a few pages.
Date published: 2018-12-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! I like the time King has taken to develop the characters and story in this book! I could not put it down.
Date published: 2018-11-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Novel A great book. The book takes a little while before you are really absorbed into it, but once you hit just pass the half-way mark you cannot stop. The book takes you on an adventure and it was hard to put down.
Date published: 2018-10-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Another great entry from King Another great King novel, some callbacks to older novels of course, terrifying and well thought out.
Date published: 2018-09-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! This was a great book! It is such a page-turner I couldn't ever put it down! If you like suspenseful and mysterious novels, this one is definitely for you!!
Date published: 2018-09-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Book Amazing, page turner and kept me on the edge of my seat. It was the first Stephen King book I read and it got me hooked! Would definitely recommend to others!
Date published: 2018-08-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from FAN I'm a fan of everything he writes. Love this book.
Date published: 2018-08-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Read!!! I started late with Stephen King books but got addicted!! I was very excited while picking up this book and now in the middle of the book. I must admit that I am totally blown away! Certainly a great read!!
Date published: 2018-08-27
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not his best - disappointing The beginning and middle were great but it really lost me towards the end. Bizarre even for King.
Date published: 2018-08-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A FAT BIG thumbs up I haven't been in King's books until I read this one. It hooked me just few pages. Love the story, love the narrative style and King's language. #plumreview
Date published: 2018-08-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Love! This was a great book! Kept me interested and on the edge of my seat from start to finish. Loved all the characters and it was especially nice catching up with characters from the Mr Mercedes trilogy! I would highly recommend this book to others.
Date published: 2018-08-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great book to read love stephen kings books. this one included. gret read.
Date published: 2018-08-12
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not his best work Definitely not Stephen King's best work. Had to force myself to read until the very end, hoping the conclusion would make up for such a dull and over exaggerated read. Still a fan though.
Date published: 2018-08-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from VERY WELL WRITTEN! This book is very well written and I would definitely recommend it.
Date published: 2018-08-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from First time and loved it! I am so surprised that after all my years of being an avid book reader, that I have never once read a Stephen King book. Well after this I know I will be coming back again and again to read more of his work! Now onto Mr. Mercedes and IT!
Date published: 2018-08-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Stephen King has done it again!!!! Long book but beautifully written. Only Stephen King has me reading books more than 500 pages. Could not put this book down, would wake up in the morning excited to continue reading this book. Great horror done by Stephen King.
Date published: 2018-08-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting SK keeps you invested in the book and can not put it down.
Date published: 2018-08-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from 560 pages, but worth the investment My very first Stephen King read. Loved the cover and the title and decided to give it a chance. Was I surprised. I got right into the novel to the point where I put aside four or five other books I had started. If you like the X-Files and Supernatural you will love the Outsider. Plenty of twists and turns, plenty of credible characters, a plot that moves at breakneck speed and with believable intensity. King is a very good writer. I expected a little more punch at the end but it was quietly final and in keeping with the story.
Date published: 2018-07-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Quite unputdownable I loved the dilemma. The end however would have been really cool if it had been more realistic but not bad at all
Date published: 2018-07-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful book and author! Stephen King is the king of horror! This book definitely showed that!
Date published: 2018-07-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from King is still going strong after all these years! I have been a avid reader of his works for over 10 years now. Like always, his writing is very detailed and interesting. I would highly recommend this book, but I would suggest to read the Bill Hodges Trilogy first. This book has many, many major spoilers for that series.
Date published: 2018-07-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good horror; this is classic King Picked this up a few weeks ago but kept delaying picking it up. Read it today, and buying this in hardcover was not a mistake. This was a great read, and reminiscent of classic King Horror. I loved the appearance of a character from a previous set of books; that was unexpected and added to the horror. King fan will enjoy it!
Date published: 2018-07-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good Horror This is an interesting read. My second Stephen king book and it was worth it. It gave me the chills as I mostly read at night. I could swear those red eyes on the cover page was bright and shining at night lol. A story about the death of an eleven year old boy and how this disaster wiped out his family and ripped through the community. A story of a supernatural being among humans mirroring men and killing children. The book started out well and fast, keeping a good pace a little past the middle and then it slowed. It might look like too much information, how King went about looking for the real killer. Bringing in characters from another series and tring to make his readers believe that there is a killer who can be in more than one place at a time by projecting. a killer who isn't human but can take on human form. I believe the middle and ending of this book is important to help readers fully understand what the creature is or looks like and how he was eventually killed. I was expecting something bad at end like detective Anderson or Holly having the worm in them. yes please read the book, it's amazing but not for everyone.
Date published: 2018-07-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Master of Horror does it again Mr.King is one of a kind, he is the master of horror and this book does not disappoint. Everything he writes is gold, and this is no exception. Riveting, can't put down until you are finished with all his books. Get this is a good read.
Date published: 2018-07-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great listen I enjoy Stephen King's chunkster books. With his last few, I've started to listen to them instead of reading. And I've found that I actually prefer the audio version - I feel more immersed in the story. King's latest is The Outsider. (creepy cover eh?) The Outsider does open with a horrible crime - an eleven year old boy is found dead and violated. Fingerprints and forensic evidence firmly point to the guilty part - his baseball coach. But Terry Maitland has an alibi, a seemingly airtight alibi. How could he be in two places at once? And there's the opening for another creepy King-esque twisty plot. A plot that veers into darkness. But is that darkness supernatural or could it be from the natural world? King keeps the listener guessing with a slow eking out of the case and its resolution. King fans will be happy to see the return of Holly Gibney in The Outsider. I always enjoy the large cast of characters and the detailed descriptions that earmark King's work. The reader was Will Patton - one of my hands down favourite audio book narrators. He has a voice that is so versatile - from soft, dulcet tones to harsh, sharp tones and everything in between. One of the things I do enjoy about King novels is the large cast of characters. Patton had a voice and style for everyone of them. It was easy to identify who was talking in a conversation. This variance and versatility make the story come alive. It also keeps the listener engaged. Easy to understand, well enunciated. as well. King's style has evolved from the early days, but bottom line - no one spins a tale like Stephen King
Date published: 2018-07-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Highly Enjoyable A great overall book and story. I always know that I am in for a delicious book reading treat when I open up a new Stephen King book. This book grabs your attention right from the first sentence. I really liked the character of Detective Ralph Anderson and his wife. This book is written so vividly. It would make a great mini- series. Keeps you reading and guessing right until the final page is turned. Loved it.
Date published: 2018-07-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing What else can be said. Greatest author of our generation. Do yourself a favor and buy this.
Date published: 2018-07-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome! I Loved It Another awesome SK novel! One of the best ones recently in my opinion but I do like them all... Very quick read, I couldn't put it down. #plumreview
Date published: 2018-07-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved it Stephen King could write about paint drying on the wall and I would be completely hooked on every page. He is a master storyteller and this book is just another example. Great plot that keeps moving, great mix of characters and a guest appearance that was my favourite part of the book and made me wish it wouldn't end. Already dying for Elevation to come out this fall.
Date published: 2018-06-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from another winner never a let down with Steven king. another great read
Date published: 2018-06-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Grotesque and Heinous in All the Right Ways Bought this book rather impulsively, and I couldn't put it down. Excellent thrill ride and really easy to read. Kept me on the edge of my seat and ended with a bang only King can write.
Date published: 2018-06-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from wow Engaging, inspiring and mind blowing. This story will stay with you long after you have turned the final page.
Date published: 2018-06-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from King's Legend Grows! Another example of Stephen King's chops for imagination and superb prose. Despite the length, this book reads smoothly and ties in to another great character from the Bill Hodges Trilogy. Loved it!
Date published: 2018-06-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great book! This was a great book to read, the characters were written very well and the story was creepy, but not too scary. I really enjoyed it. #plumreview
Date published: 2018-06-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Okay.. Hits all the bases...not as good as his previous works
Date published: 2018-06-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from First Stephen King Novel Not a big fan of the horror genre but this book was just amazing. It was worth staying up all night
Date published: 2018-06-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from love it, good read Love all his books - but this one is particularly good! Add it to your list :)
Date published: 2018-06-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Another crazy ride King does it again! If I'd been alone last night, I legit wouldn't have slept. Super freaky, with killer writing and well-fleshed out characters, I flew through THE OUTSIDER. Definitely a must-read if you're into horror and psychological suspense (and by suspense, I mean "messes with your mind").
Date published: 2018-06-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Hauntingly Delightful Read! A heinous crime was committed in a small Oklahoma town of Flint City and the copious evidence gathered led to the arrest of the town’s most popular baseball coach, Terry Maitland, a family man with an irreproachable reputation. Although the district attorney possesses preponderance of evidence against him, but a video footage puts Maitland in another city at the time when the crime was committed. How is that possible? Is it a set up or is there something more sinister lurking in this quiet small town? Jaw dropped. Mind blown. Major book hangover - my reaction after I finished this book! In my life, I only read 2 King's books - It and Misery - and that was at least 20 years ago. Feeling nostalgic, I've decided to give this book a try and oh boy, was I in for a surprise! The gripping plot and suspenseful story build up made The Outsider such an unputdownable read. His magnetic storytelling sucked me right in and held my interest from the very first page. I devoured this 560 pages chunkster in 3 days! Yes, King is THE legendary master storyteller! The Outsider is a combination of crime/horror genre. But I enjoyed the suspense elements better (most likely due to King's writing and the good story build up) than the horror elements. It is haunting, dark but not creepy, although there were spine-tingling moments when reading about the heinous crime and the perpetrator. I enjoyed the characters in the story and they are quite well developed. Detective Ralph Anderson is the protagonist in the story. He's exceptional in his job but struggles with accepting the supernatural - modifying Doyle's dictum: Once you eliminate the natural, whatever remains must be supernatural. I adore Jeannie, Ralph's wife. She is such an endearing character; a supportive wife who acts like his "sidekick" throughout the story. For those dedicated King's fans, you will find familiar character in the story from his Bill Hodges trilogy. Yes, Holly Gibner. No, you don't have to read the trilogy prior to reading The Outsider. But having the foreknowledge of Gibner's stories will certainly elevate your enjoyment of this book. It's akin to meeting someone from your past. In a nutshell, The Outsider is a delightfully haunting read for me. From the plot to the characters, I enjoyed them all! It definitely has the IT vibe. It is full of suspense with its race against time pace and did not disappoint. A must read for both King's seasoned readers and new readers! Favourite quote: People are blind to explanations that lie outside their perception of reality.
Date published: 2018-06-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Classic King... This is exactly what you are hoping and expecting from S.King... a true page turner, and incredibly hard to resist reading, "Just one more chapter..."
Date published: 2018-06-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Creepy and Addicting Fantastic novel, very gruesome so not for people who don't like reading about gore or violence, but has an interesting, mysterious story that keeps you turning the pages.
Date published: 2018-06-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Creepy as it should be Ok! this one was definitely a comeback for Stephen. I read Elevation which was disappointing, but this book makes up for it. So enthralling and compels you to read from start to finish.
Date published: 2018-06-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Page Turner ! Great book ! Stephen King does it again , This book kept me wanting to read more and more !
Date published: 2018-06-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVED IT !!! I had not read a Stephen King's in a while and I'm so happy I read this one. This book reminded me why I love this author so much. Don't hesitate to buy it!
Date published: 2018-06-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So Creepy One of his best. I loved this one almost as much as IT. Great read
Date published: 2018-06-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from King did it again! 4,5/5. This started like one of the best Stephen king's book I've read in a long time and it keep you at the edge of your seat for all your reading time. A fast-paced thriller, that have little reference to thee Mr Mercedes trilogy, which I haven't read yet so I got a bit spoiled, but my fault I guest... Anyway, a very good thriller, a good social reflexion/criticism as well, an interesting portrait of modern America and a touch of supernatural, that surprisingly was not the best part of the book. I find this part, and the conclusion to, a bit déjà-vu by King and by other author as well. I don't want to said too much, don't want to spoiled anything, but I could easily think of three book, two by King, who have a similar conclusion/confrontation, so that make it loose some points. But it's still a very good book, that I read three days even if it's kind of a big one, so I definitely recommended it for the Stephen King's fans! One last thing, I don't know if it's just me, but I find that some reference to some popular objects/trademark where a bit force sometimes in the story. Was it to make it closer to our world where those objects are everywhere? Or was it kind of a marketing thing, where the author may take money to placed those products in his book (like we saw so often in the movies those years)? A question and a reflexion. Don't hesitate if you know something about it, or just wanted to think about it out loud!
Date published: 2018-06-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible One of my favourite novels by King. By far the creepiest!
Date published: 2018-06-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loving it I'm in the middle and I can't wait for me to reach the ending... AHHH... It's really amazing and different.
Date published: 2018-06-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from King is still King of Fiction This book was phenomenal, great to see King still has it this is in my top 5 of King's work. The first 250 pages I read in one setting I could not put it down! There is a nice late character introduced in the book which was a nice surprise and the ending was not a typical "left in limbo King ending"....
Date published: 2018-06-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from INTRIGUE Very well written and the story was mysterious and kept you turning the page.
Date published: 2018-06-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Book Stephen is a fantastic story teller, this is no different. Great book!
Date published: 2018-06-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Intriguing This was a very satisfying read, although, it did suffer a bit through some pitfalls in the middle of the story but luckily it didn't deter from an overall good read. An earlier review from Bob Milne is right on the money.
Date published: 2018-05-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Loved this book and highly recommend it to SK fans.
Date published: 2018-05-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The first 200 pages are, far and away, some of the best fiction I have read this year. Although I think some other reviewers have over-hyped it as a creature-feature reminiscent of It (let's be honest, that epic masterpiece, for all its uncomfortable flaws, will never be duplicated), I thoroughly enjoyed Stephen King's The Outsider. Not surprisingly, it is more reminiscent of later books like the Bill Hodges Trilogy (minor spoiler, it is connected) than any of the Derry or Castle Rock stories, but the supernatural element is an interesting one. The first 200 pages of The Outsider are, far and away, some of the best fiction I have read this year. The idea of a man seemingly in two places as once, with irrefutable evidence of his guilt AND equally irrefutable evidence of his alibi, is so perfectly played, you almost want to read it over again as soon as you're done. It is a police procedural like only King can write - in his language, with his narrative style - and far better than anything you'll find on prime-time TV. The deeper the mystery gets, and the more impossible the situation seems, the stronger the story gets. There is just enough doubt to hope Coach Maitland is innocent but, at the same time, enough evidence against him that you can't fault Detective Anderson for his overzealousness. Where the book faltered for me was in the second act, where we get that Bill Hodges connection, and where the story seems to lose its way. After such a tightly plotted first act, the story seems to wander, dabbling in too much speculation as it tries to establish its supernatural merits and set up the final antagonist. It really felt like King was struggling with how to bridge the first and final acts, as if he lacked confident in the story, which isn't something I've really seen before. There have been King novels I felt ended softly, failing to deliver on the premise, but it's always felt like he marched boldly into this finales. As for the third act, it goes by far too quickly, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. By not dwelling on the nature of evil, and skipping the grandiose speeches, King keeps the final confrontation tight, suspenseful, and effective. He finds the perfect setting for that confrontation as well, weaving a story behind it, giving it significance, and really playing to my own fascination with abandoned natural ruins. Despite the dangers, I wanted to get in there and explore myself. Thematically, The Outsider has a lot to say about contemporary society, where social opinion so often trumps the facts, and where putting on a good show is often more important than doing the right thing. Trust and belief are keys to the story as well, particularly in the way Detective Anderson is played against his wife, the two of them capturing the reader's conflict perfectly. Even if the middle act did steal some momentum for me, causing me to doubt the book, the final act more than redeemed it. Well worth a read.
Date published: 2018-05-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Enjoyable Found this book rather enjoyable, pleasure to read.
Date published: 2018-04-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Stephen king did it again! read this on my kindle! such an amazing book would recommend it to anyone who is into mystery and detectives
Date published: 2018-04-02

Read from the Book

Stanhope: Oh, yes. Detective Anderson: Thank you, Mrs. Stanhope. Stanhope: Who could believe Terry would do such a thing? Do you suppose there have been others? Detective Anderson: We may find that out in the course of our investigation.   5   Since all City League tournament games were played at Estelle Barga Field—the best baseball field in the county, and the only one with lights for night games—home team advantage was decided by a coin toss. Terry Maitland called tails before the game, as he always did—it was a superstition handed down from his own City League coach, back in the day—and tails it was. “I don’t care where we’re playing, I just like to get my lasties,” he always told his boys.     And tonight he needed them. It was the bottom of the ninth, the Bears were up in this league semifinal by a single run. The Golden Dragons were down to their last out, but they had the bases loaded. A walk, a wild pitch, an error, or an infield single would tie it, a ball hit into the gap would win it. The crowd was clapping, stamping the metal bleachers, and cheering as little Trevor Michaels stepped into the lefthand batter’s box. His batting helmet was the smallest one they had, but it still shaded his eyes and he had to keep pushing it up. He twitched his bat nervously back and forth.   Terry had considered pinch-hitting for the boy, but at just an inch over five feet, he drew a lot of walks. And while he was no home run hitter, he was sometimes able to put the bat on the ball. Not often, but sometimes. If Terry lifted him for a pinch hitter, the poor kid would have to live with the humiliation through the whole next year of middle school. If, on the other hand, he managed a single, he would recall it over beers and backyard barbecues for the rest of his life. Terry knew. He’d been there himself, once upon a time, in the antique era before the game was played with aluminum bats.   The Bears pitcher—their closer, a real fireballer—wound up and threw one right down the heart of the plate. Trevor watched it go by with an expression of dismay. The umpire called strike one. The crowd groaned.   Gavin Frick, Terry’s assistant coach, paced up and down in front of the boys on the bench, the scorebook rolled up in one hand (how many times had Terry asked him not to do that?), and his XXL Golden Dragons tee-shirt straining over his belly, which was XXXL at least. “I hope letting Trevor bat for himself wasn’t a mistake, Ter,” he said. Sweat was trickling down his cheeks. “He looks scared to death, and I don’t b’lieve he could hit that kid’s speedball with a tennis racket.”     “Let’s see what happens,” Terry said. “I’ve got a good feeling about this.” He didn’t, not really.   The Bears pitcher wound up and released another burner, but this one landed in the dirt in front of home plate. The crowd rose to its feet as Baibir Patel, the Dragons’ tying run at third, jinked a few steps down the line. They settled back with a groan as the ball bounced into the catcher’s mitt. The Bears catcher turned to third, and Terry could read his expression, even through the mask: Justtry it, homeboy. Baibir didn’t.   The next pitch was wide, but Trevor flailed at it, anyway.   “Strike him out, Fritz!” a leather-lung shouted from high up in the bleachers—almost surely the fireballer’s father, from the way the kid snapped his head in that direction. “Strike him owwwwwt!”   Trevor didn’t offer at the next pitch, which was close—too close to take, really, but the ump called it a ball, and it was the Bears’ fans’ turn to groan. Someone suggested that the ump needed stronger glasses. Another fan mentioned something about a seeing-eye dog.   Two and two now, and Terry had a strong sense that the Dragons’ season hung on the next pitch. Either they would play the Panthers for the City championship, and go on to compete in the States—games that were actually televised—or they would go home and meet just one more time, at the barbecue in the Maitland backyard that traditionally marked the end of the season.   He turned to look at Marcy and the girls, sitting where they always did, in lawn chairs behind the home plate screen. His daughters were flanking his wife like pretty bookends. All three waved crossed fingers at him. Terry gave them a wink and a smile and two thumbs up, although he still didn’t feel right. It wasn’t just the game. He hadn’t felt right for some time now. Not quite.   Marcy’s return smile faltered into a puzzled frown. She was looking to her left, and jerked a thumb that way. Terry turned and saw two city cops walking in lockstep down the third base line, past Barry Houlihan, who was coaching there.  “Time, time!” the home plate umpire bellowed, stopping the Bears pitcher just as he went into his wind-up. Trevor Michaels stepped out of the batter’s box, and with an expression of relief, Terry thought. The crowd had grown quiet, looking at the two cops. One of them was reaching behind his back. The other had his hand on the butt of his holstered service weapon.  “Off the field!” the ump was shouting. “Off the field!”   Troy Ramage and Tom Yates ignored him. They walked into the Dragons’ dugout—a makeshift affair containing a long bench, three baskets of equipment, and a bucket of dirty practice balls—and directly to where Terry was standing. From the back of his belt, Ramage produced a pair of handcuffs. The crowd saw them, and raised a murmur that was two parts confusion and one part excitement: Ooooo.   “Hey, you guys!” Gavin said, hustling up (and almost tripping over Richie Gallant’s discarded first baseman’s mitt). “We’ve got a game to finish here!”   Yates pushed him back, shaking his head. The crowd was dead silent now. The Bears had abandoned their tense defensive postures and were just watching, their gloves dangling. The catcher trotted out to his pitcher, and they stood together halfway between the mound and home plate.   Terry knew the one holding the cuffs a little; he and his brother sometimes came to watch the Pop Warner games in the fall. “Troy? What is this? What’s the deal?”   Ramage saw nothing on the man’s face except what looked like honest bewilderment, but he had been a cop since the nineties, and knew that the really bad ones had that Who, me? look down to a science. And this guy was as bad as they came. Remembering Anderson’s instructions (and not minding a bit), he raised his voice so he could be heard by the entire crowd, which the next day’s paper would announce as 1,588.   “Terence Maitland, I am arresting you for the murder of Frank Peterson.”   Another Ooooo from the bleachers, this one louder, the sound of a rising wind.   Terry frowned at Ramage. He understood the words, they were simple English words forming a simple declarative sentence, he knew who Frankie Peterson was and what had happened to him, but the meaning of the words eluded him. All he could say was “What? Are you kidding?” and that was when the sports photographer from the Flint City Call snapped his picture, the one that appeared on the front page the next day. His mouth was open, his eyes were wide, his hair was sticking out around the edges of his Golden Dragons cap. In that photo he looked both enfeebled and guilty.   “What did you say?”   “Hold out your wrists, please.”   Terry looked at Marcy and his daughters, still sitting in their chairs behind the chickenwire, staring at him with identical expressions of frozen surprise. Horror would come later. Baibir Patel left third base and started to walk toward the dugout, taking off his batting helmet to show the sweaty mat of his black hair, and Terry saw the kid was starting to cry. “Get back there!” Gavin shouted at him. “Game’s not over.” But Baibir only stood in foul territory, staring at Terry and bawling. Terry stared back, positive (almost positive) he was dreaming all this, and then Tom Yates grabbed him and yanked his arms out with enough force to make Terry stumble forward. Ramage snapped on the cuffs. Real ones, not the plastic strips, big and heavy, gleaming in the late sun. In that same rolling voice, he proclaimed: “You have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer questions, but if you choose to speak, anything you say can be held against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney during questioning now or in the future. Do you understand?”   “Troy?” Terry could hardly hear his own voice. He felt as if the wind had been punched out of him. “What in God’s name is this?”   Ramage took no notice. “Do you understand?”   Marcy came to the chickenwire, hooked her fingers through it, and shook it. Behind her, Sarah and Grace were crying. Grace was on her knees beside Sarah’s lawn chair; her own had fallen over and lay in the dirt. “What are you doing?” Marcy shouted. “What in God’s name are you doing? And why are you doing it here?”   “Do you understand?”   What Terry understood was that he had been handcuffed and was now being read his rights in front of almost sixteen hundred staring people, his wife and two young daughters among them. It was not a dream, and it was not simply an arrest. It was, for reasons he could not comprehend, a public shaming. Best to get it over as fast as possible, and get this thing straightened out. Although, even in his shock and bewilderment, he understood that his life would not be going back to normal for a long time.   “I understand,” he said, and then: “Coach Frick, get back.”   Gavin, who had been approaching the cops with his fists clenched and his fat face flushed a hectic red, lowered his arms and stepped back. He looked through the chickenwire at Marcy, raised his enormous shoulders, spread his pudgy hands.   In the same rolling tones, like a town crier belting out the week’s big news in a New England town square, Troy Ramage continued. Ralph Anderson could hear him from where he stood leaning against the unmarked unit. He was doing a good job, was Troy. It was ugly, and Ralph supposed he might be reprimanded for it, but he would not be reprimanded by Frankie Peterson’s parents. No, not by them.   “If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided to you before any questioning, if you desire. Do you understand?”   “Yes,” Terry said. “I understand something else, too.” He turned to the crowd. “I have no idea why I’m being arrested! Gavin Frick willfinish coaching the game!” And then, as an afterthought: “Baibir, get back to third, and remember to run in foul territory.”   There was a smatter of applause, but only a smatter. The leatherlung in the bleachers yelled again, “What’d you say he did?” And the crowd responding to the question, muttering the two words that would soon be all over the West Side and the rest of the city: Frank Peterson’s name.   Yates grabbed Terry by the arm and started hustling him toward the snack shack and the parking lot beyond. “You can preach to the multitudes later, Maitland. Right now you’re going to jail. And guess what? We have the needle in this state, and we use it. But you’re a teacher, right? You probably knew that.”   They hadn’t gotten twenty steps from the makeshift dugout before Marcy Maitland caught up and grabbed Tom Yates’s arm. “What in God’s name do you think you’re doing?”   Yates shrugged her off, and when she tried to grasp her husband’s arm, Troy Ramage pushed her away, gently but firmly. She stood where she was for a moment, dazed, then saw Ralph Anderson walking to meet his arresting officers. She knew him from Little League, when Derek Anderson had played for Terry’s team, the Gerald’s Fine Groceries Lions. Ralph hadn’t been able to come to all the games, of course, but he came to as many as possible. Back then he’d still been in uniform; Terry had sent him a congratulatory email when he was promoted to detective. Now she ran toward him, fleet over the grass in her old tennis shoes, which she always wore to Terry’s games, claiming there was good luck in them.   “Ralph!” she called. “What’s going on? This is a mistake!”   “I’m afraid it isn’t,” Ralph said.   This part he didn’t like, because he liked Marcy. On the other hand, he had always liked Terry, as well—the man had probably changed Derek’s life only a little, given the boy just a smatter of confidence-building, but when you were eleven years old, a little confidence was a big deal. And there was something else. Marcy might have known what her husband was, even if she didn’t allow herself to know on a conscious level. The Maitlands had been married a long time, and horrors like the Peterson boy’s murder simply did not come out of thin air. There was always a build-up to the act.   “You need to go home, Marcy. Right away. You may want to leave the girls with a friend, because there will be police waiting for you.”   She only looked at him, uncomprehending.   From behind them came the chink of an aluminum bat making good contact, although there were few cheers; those in attendance were still shocked, and more interested in what they’d just witnessed than the game before them. Which was sort of a shame. Trevor Michaels had just hit the ball harder than ever before in his life, harder even than when Coach T was throwing meatballs in practice. Unfortunately, it was a line drive straight to the Bears shortstop, who didn’t even have to jump to make the catch. Game over.    

Editorial Reviews

“How could a man so beloved and respected, a man the whole community has trusted with their children, commit such an unthinkable crime? It can’t be true. It must be true. That’s the situation Stephen King sets up with blazing intensity in the first chapter of his new novel …The Outsider is proof King isn’t losing his touch: It’s a first-rate example of his signature technique of combining solidly realistic writing and believable characters with disturbingly creepy horror…a horrifying ride that challenges its characters not to succumb to their own darkness.” —Colette Bancroft, The Tampa Bay Tribune