Later by Stephen King

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Later is Stephen King’s latest novel, aimed at young and older adults alike. More gory than horror, Later tells the story of Jamie Conklin, a teenager living with his mother in New York City who just happens to be able to see dead people. Ever since he can remember, Jamie has been able to see and talk to people who have recently died. Does this concept sound a bit familiar? Well, a rip off of The Sixth Sense this book is not. Part horror, part crime, Later is the story of a well-adjusted, happy teenager who becomes embroiled in the hunt for a serial killer.

The police have finally figured out who is behind a series of bombs that have terrorised NYC for years. However Thumper, as he calls himself, is still one step ahead; he has committed suicide but left one bomb remaining, his most dangerous yet. Swept up into the investigation by a corrupt cop, Jamie realises that Thumper’s reign of terror will have much more devastating and long-lasting consequences for him than he ever could have imagined.

Later is one of Stephen King’s shortest and most direct novels. At just under 250 pages, it is a fast-paced and high energy book. Ostensibly a horror, at its heart Later is a classic bildungsroman, as we watch Jamie growing up and trying to solve problems just a little out of the ordinary. While the novel is not particularly frightening, there are many graphic descriptions of deceased and dying people, so Later is most appropriate for older teenagers and adult audiences. Overall, Later is an exciting, rounded and quick read and bodes well for future King releases.

Themes: Horror, Ghosts, Murder, Crime, Police, Corruption, Family.

Rose Tabeni