Later by Stephen King

details
Title: Later.
Writer(s): Stephen King.
Narrator(s): Seth Numrich.
Genre(s): Horror, Thriller.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio.
Format: Audiobook.
Release Date: March 2nd, 2021.
Length: 6 Hours and 32 Minutes.
My Overall Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

thoughts

Known mostly for his savviness within the horror genre, writer Stephen King has also explored genres that have given him the opportunity to brilliantly exploit his writing talents. Within the mystery genre, he recently ventured into a fascinating world filled with crime and sketchy people while adding a little supernatural twist that horror fans will recognize as a trademark trope within the genre. The great thing about tropes is that within the right hands, they don’t dwindle down to clichés and predictable turns of events. Published by Hard Case Crime, where he also delivered The Colorado Kid and Joyland, writer Stephen King offers a solid and gripping story where innocence clashes with despair in a test of righteousness.

What is Later about? The story is narrated by Jamie Conklin and tells his story since his young days when he lived with his single mother, Tia, in New York City. Set in the early 2000s, it introduces us to the main character’s peculiar life as a child with the ability to see and hear things that others can’t as he hides this unfathomable ability from others until he’s slowly dragged into trouble. Despite being told to keep it all a secret, it’s when an NYPD detective requires his aid in the pursuit of a killer who’s causing trouble beyond the grave that little Jamie finds himself asking questions about right and wrong although he just wants to be left alone in a world where evil has many faces.

“As I said at the beginning, this is a horror story.”

— Stephen King

Brilliantly narrated by Seth Numrich, effortlessly voicing the protagonist’s narration across a decade of events, writer Stephen King concisely and brilliantly paces this story as he quickly establishes Jamie Conklin’s unique abilities and his perspective on life from his unusual angle. While the core mystery appears a bit later on (pun very much intended), the narrative primarily focuses on the limited cast of characters and their relationship with one another but also with Jamie Conklin, brilliantly establishing a key generational gap (childhood/adolescence versus adulthood) that dictates the character’s place in the world. Without losing his audience in a landmine of exposition, readers are able to acknowledge and somewhat understand the diverse struggles lived by the adults, whether it is romantically or professionally, and see the selfish motives come from a mile away as the protagonist is forced to comply despite his innocent and just desires.

The supernatural elements are also cleverly handled, leaving it ambiguous and enigmatic yet sufficiently explored to allow readers to believe in this world without asking themselves too many questions. It is especially through this facet that writer Stephen King joyfully channels his horror inclinations as he details certain elements in such a vivid fashion that the mind can easily imagine it all in its gory splendour. Even more refreshing is the bond explored between Jamie and his mom, written in such an authentic and candid way that you’d think these characters were based on real people. The overall mystery ultimately builds up wonderfully, keeping you glued to this story, as the final moments crank up the intensity to end things on a convenient and excellent note.

Later is a riveting crime thriller with a touch of horror as one boy’s unnatural ability puts him in the middle of an adult’s self-centered world of recognition and survival.


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35 thoughts on “Later by Stephen King

  1. Sometimes I wonder how King does it. He just writes and writes and writes and seems to write more winners than losers 🙂
    and there are always kids involved. Sometimes I found that worked and at others it really didn’t.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ll refrain from going off on an anti-hollywood “reeeeeeee” here, but there really isn’t any good reason for movies based on his stories to flop. He can tell good stories…

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, I’m sure there are ways to make that quiet (non-disclosures and such). I don’t argue one way or the other because I’m not 100% and either way it doesn’t affect me. My world kind of did shatter when I learned about ghostwriting, though. It’s like hiring a chef to cook dinner and then taking all the praise from your guests for yourself. Or saying you built a house when you just nailed one 2×4… It’s MAD!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. He’s such a great character writer. After having grown up on his stories and then putting him aside for a very long time I’ve been slowly dipping my toes back into King’s work. I could see this being one I’d enjoy. I love how he’s tried different genres over the years even if sometimes still including elements of horror.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ok that one does not sound to have too many horror elements so I might be able to enjoy it! Because Stephen King can be so scary!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. No one can write stories about children facing difficult situations like King does, and Jamie is only the latest of his so very successful portrayals. I’m very glad you enjoyed it, as it comes across clearly from your heartfelt review. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Just the other day I was talking to a friend of mine about Stephen King’s books as she selected what I think was precisely this book at the library! A child that “sees things” is already a great element to make any story a bit more creepy and interesting, so I’d be really curious to check that one out, especially as I only read one book of King and it was a veeery long time ago!

    Liked by 1 person

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