#5Books: Book recs and Stephen King

#5Books for the week ending 11 February

Have you ever had an author you desperately wanted to like or read, but never could quite get yourself to pick up a book? For me that’s Stephen King and the horror genre in general … yes, I am absolutely a wuss. Totally I admit it, but there’s a small part of me that wonders what I am missing…

… and then he goes and releases something like this and I’m back to wondering…

The Outsider 

From #1 New York Times bestseller Stephen King, whose brand has never been stronger, comes one of his most propulsive and unsettling stories ever.

An eleven-year-old boy is found in a town park, hideously assaulted and murdered. The fingerprints (and later DNA) are unmistakably those of the town’s most popular baseball coach, Terry Maitland, a man of impeccable reputation, with a wife and two daughters. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland coached, orders an immediate and public arrest. Maitland is taken to jail, his claim to innocence scorned. Maitland has a foolproof alibi, with footage to prove that he was in another city when the crime was committed. But that doesn’t save him either.

King constructs a propulsive plot, and a race against time to uncover the identity of a terrifying and diabolical killer who has left victims—and “perpetrators”—across the country, and who is on his way to his next horrific act.

King’s psychological suspense is at its most riveting in this extraordinarily dramatic and eerie story. He is devastatingly vivid on the experience of being falsely blamed—the effect on the accused, the spouse, the children; the suspicion of friends, even the most loyal; the impossibility of ever being innocent again (if you are lucky enough to live). He is also masterful at showing us that supernatural monsters are startlingly like human beings who do monstrous things.

Alright, so this is actually rated as horror on Goodreads, but it doesn’t read like horror, does it? It’s the last para of the blurb, the effects on the accused, and the spouse and a whole lot of stuff that would make for a riveting suspense read, I think. Right? I think. Maybe. Does he have a habit of writing suspense thrillers that are actually horrors in disguise?? (Someone say no!)

The Confession 

Late one night a man walks into the luxurious home of disgraced banker Harry McNamara and his wife Julie. The man launches an unspeakably brutal attack on Harry as a horror-struck Julie watches, frozen by fear.

Just an hour later the attacker, JP Carney, has handed himself in to the police. He confesses to beating Harry to death, but JP claims that the assault was not premeditated and that he didn’t know the identity of his victim. With a man as notorious as Harry McNamara, the detectives cannot help wondering, was this really a random act of violence or is it linked to one of Harry’s many sins: corruption, greed, betrayal?

This gripping psychological thriller will have you questioning, who – of Harry, Julie and JP – is really the guilty one? And is Carney’s surrender driven by a guilty conscience or is his confession a calculated move in a deadly game?

I just got this from Audible and it was the fact that it starts where the story ends is what grabbed me. This is such a headscratcher! But, with a blurb like this, I am tempering my expectations and hoping it holds up to the blurb’s potential! 

Tyler Johnson was here

When Marvin Johnson’s twin, Tyler, goes to a party, Marvin decides to tag along to keep an eye on his brother. But what starts as harmless fun turns into a shooting, followed by a police raid.

The next day, Tyler has gone missing, and it’s up to Marvin to find him. But when Tyler is found dead, a video leaked online tells an even more chilling story: Tyler has been shot and killed by a police officer. Terrified as his mother unravels and mourning a brother who is now a hashtag, Marvin must learn what justice and freedom really mean.

This cover! And the blurb — and all of it! Everything about this is mesmerising and I would love LOVE to know what prompted the design of this cover.

The Memory Detective

So many memories. So little time. In an astounding thriller ripped from tomorrow’s headlines, cutting-edge technology and a pulse-pounding manhunt lead to a conspiracy of money, power, and sex.

Cole remembers what it’s like to be murdered. That’s how he does his job. The operation takes eight hours with a dead body on the table next to his; when it’s over, he’s flooded with images, thoughts, recollections, some hazy, some crystal clear. They all come straight from the victim’s brain—right up until his or her final chilling moments.

Cole’s career in homicide has wreaked havoc on his personal life. As usual, his new case—a young runaway battered to death with a hammer—consumes all his waking moments . . . and then some. Haunted by the Jane Doe’s hopes, desires, and fears, Cole mentally retraces her every move, from Kansas to New York City, to track down a killer.

But Cole has a terrible suspicion that someone is using the same memory-transfer science for a very different purpose. In fact, he’s already being watched. Because Cole’s the only one standing in the way of a ruthless corporation that’s harvesting people for their most intimate memories—and eliminating anyone who stands in the way.

First the sci-fi part of it sounds amazing! But I like that it goes from a case that is personal to Cole, to something bigger than you’d expect. that said, I am also wary of how big the plot gets. That doesn’t always work well…

Before and Again

Mackenzie Cooper took her eyes off the road for just a moment but the resulting collision was enough to rob her not only of her beloved daughter but ultimately of her marriage, family, and friends―and thanks to the nonstop media coverage, even her privacy. Now she lives in Vermont under the name Maggie Reid, in a small house with her cats and dog. She’s thankful for the new friends she’s made―though she can’t risk telling them too much. And she takes satisfaction in working as a makeup artist at the luxurious local spa, helping clients hide the visible outward signs of their weariness, illnesses, and injuries. Covering up scars is a skill she has mastered.

Her only goal is to stay under the radar and make it through her remaining probation. But she isn’t the only one in this peaceful town with secrets. When a friend’s teenage son is thrust into the national spotlight, accused of hacking a powerful man’s Twitter account, Maggie is torn between pulling away and protecting herself―or stepping into the glare to be at their side. As the stunning truth behind their case is slowly revealed, Maggie’s own carefully constructed story begins to unravel as well. She knows all too well that what we need from each other in this difficult world is comfort. But to provide it, sometimes we need to travel far outside our comfort zones.

When did I land in the rip-my-heart-out-and-stomp-on-it mood for my reading? It just kind of snuck up on me. The Tragedy of this book is that what happened to Mackenzie could happen to anyone. Except you know the rest of it, when she’s forced to choose herself or standing with her friend. What would you do? I would not blame her for choosing herself and her own sanity, I think. 

The Confession intrigues me so much — it’s damn difficult to tell a story when everyone already knows how the story ends. What about you?



  • I’m the exact same way about Stephen King! My mom loves him and has read every single book, but I just can’t seem to make myself read most of his stuff because I too am a wuss. I did finally read 11/22/63 though and loved that book, so I’m working up my nerve to try a few others. I do like the sound of The Outsider with its psychological suspense.

    • Verushka says:

      Oh thank goodness you said that! Makes me feel much better! I watched the 11/22/63 series and that started me paying closer attention to the types of books he writes, instead of labelling them all horror! I love that mini series!

  • Angela says:

    Before and Again sounds good – I like Barbara Delinsky, although her books tend to skew a bit old for me at times. I read a lot of Stephen King as a teenager, and I really don’t know how – I’m such a baby now! I can’t read horror. But you’re right, this new book does sound more like a suspense thriller.

    • Verushka says:

      We’re not babies, Angela, merely … discerning readers 🤪 i’ve Never read Barbara Delinsky — any other titles you’d rec of hers?

  • That Stephen King book does sound good!!!

  • I’ve read a couple Stephen King books but never really LOVED any of them…however, The Outsider does have a really interesting premise.

    I do want to read Tyler Johnson Was Here; very timely topic!


    • Verushka says:

      It’s possible I might have attempted IT years ago (why, I don’t know) but I can for sure say I finished it. This’d be my first one! Tyler Johnson = timely book is timely!!

  • The Outsider actually sounds very good. I loved the early Stephen King stuff but haven’t greatly enjoyed his more recent books which are these slow coming of age books or go really weird at the end!

  • I’m a wuss w/ horror to, but you’re right, that first one does sound more like a thriller. And the sci-fi in The Memory Detective sounds really neat!

    • Verushka says:

      Really? I thought SK would have been right up your alley! The Memory Detective I thought was really original — and hopefully good!

  • I want to like Stephen King’s books so badly. I’ve only read The Shining but didn’t like it at all. So now I’m worried I will dislike every book by him. =/

    • Verushka says:

      I keep thinking I should like his books, except for the horror part, which is you know most of his stuff lol I don’t know everyone raves about him, and for once I believe the hype and want to know what it’s about.

  • I want to read Tyler Johnson Was Here and of course the new Stephen King. In fact, AngelErin and I already have a buddy read planned:) You know, I think you would be safe reading some of his newer stuff. A lot of it isn’t horror per se. Also, you could check out Gordy’s Button Box. It’s a novella and isn’t really scary. The Bill Hodges Trilogy with Mr. Mercedes is more police/detective as well. You have lots of options.

  • AngelErin says:

    I am ready for The Outsider NOW! I love his books. And I’m anxious for the novella by SK you told me about as well. 😀

  • Kelly says:

    I’m the same when it comes to Stephen King. He’s such a prolific author that his books feel so immense and daunting. Tyler Johnson Was Here sounds as though it could be THE influential read of the year in young adult, much in the same way that THUG is. I can’t wait to discover the significance of the cover too. Great list Verushka, so many amazing titles! <3

  • Greg says:

    I’ve never read King either, and have never had much desire too? Although I will say the Outsider does sound pretty good. 🙂 I like suspense more than horror…

    • Verushka says:

      Fair enough — he is one of the few authors I would believe the hype tbh. IT’s the horror part that always gave me pause (to say the least lol)

  • I’ve read Stephen King before – and let me tell you, he’s so unsettling. It makes you wonder where it comes from!!!!
    This one sounds more like a suspense thriller as you say…. Maybe!?

    Before and Again sounds… AWFUL! Just reading about Maggie’s past made me all emotional. I’m not sure I could handle that book!!!!

    Hope you’re having a lovely week!

    • Verushka says:

      *shivers* That’s why I’ve not read his stuff before. His imagination is just immense, isn’t it? Before and Again, goodness, I know it’s emotional but that’s why I was jut like WANTS. I think I’m in a mood to get my heart ripped out lol

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