Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Colorado Kid

Colorado KidIt's not a very well hidden fact that I'm a big fan of Stephen King books. On a recent trip business trip, I found myself without something to read. I was also in need of some shaving cream and ended up at a CVS (or something). After finding what I needed, I was browsing the book aisle. In a section that I didn't expect to find an SK book, I found a book that clearly said "Stephen King" on the cover. But it looked like a romance novel cover. Being intrigued, I picked The Colorado Kid up to determine if it was the Stephen King.

Flipping through some of the pages and the reviews section at the beginning, it seemed clear that this book was indeed the Stephen King. It had all the familiar traits I've grown to love: set in New England (Maine, to be specific) and an afterward: signed & dated. Taking it back to my hotel room, I started to read. It, like a lot of King's books, started off slow for me. The book started to get interesting around the time I was heading home. I got distracted from The Colorado Kid in the airport because I found The Cell (a more "classic" Stephen King). But, two days ago I found myself with nothing to read again. I picked up The Colorado Kid and started from the beginning. Almost immediately after I passed where I had stopped before, I was hooked...

We open with two small town newspapermen (Vince & Dave) and their intern (Stephanie McCann) are interviewed by a big time reporter for some Unexplained New England Mysteries for his paper. Vince and Dave give him stories that have been heard over and over again and he ultimately sees that he isn't going to get anything new and leaves Maine. Following the interview, Vince and Dave school their intern.

The two men describe one local unsolved mystery that they didn't see fit for the big city paper: The Colorado Kid:

Two kids find a man sitting by a trash can on the beach... dead. He's got no identification and there are many confusing pieces of evidence clouding the circumstances of his demise. And the more information found about "The Colorado Kid", the more muddled the story gets. It's even learned where he's from, his name and they find his family. But, the timing for him to end up in Maine in time to end up dead would have to be perfect...

It's obvious that the whole story is a lesson for the intern, Steffi, and a test to see if she's worth keeping on after the internship. They're pointing out the difference between sensational journalism and real reporting while trying to see if she "get's it".

As always with Stephen King's books, the characters are very real. You can identify with them immediately. The dialog between the three main characters is genuine and the story they're telling grabs you. You appreciate the way Vince and Dave were able to piece together the evidence to track down "The Colorado Kid's" family and come up with theories on why he was in Maine and how he died.

The story is good, but if you're looking for a conclusion, you've come to the wrong place. As an unsolved mystery, the story of "The Colorado Kid" is just that. Unsolved. While I'm OK with a story that doesn't get wrapped up in a nice little bow, King even references in the afterward that he believes many will not be happy.

For its 178 pages at $5.99, The Colorado Kid is worth the time and an enjoyable story.

But, now that my The Complete Frank Miller Batman has arrived, I'm onto a new book. :)

Image taken from Wikipedia.