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The Colorado Kid

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On an island off the coast of Maine, a man is found dead. There's no identification on the body. Only the dogged work of a pair of local newspapermen and a graduate student in forensics turns up any clues.

But that's just the beginning of the mystery. Because the more they learn about the man and the baffling circumstances of his death, the less they understand. Was it an impossible crime? Or something stranger still...?

No one but Stephen King could tell this story about the darkness at the heart of the unknown and our compulsion to investigate the unexplained. With echoes of Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon and the work of Graham Greene, one of the world's great storytellers presents a surprising tale that explores the nature of mystery itself...

178 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published October 4, 2005

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About the author

Stephen King

2,654 books819k followers
Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father's family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, Maine, for good. Her parents, Guy and Nellie Pillsbury, had become incapacitated with old age, and Ruth King was persuaded by her sisters to take over the physical care of them. Other family members provided a small house in Durham and financial support. After Stephen's grandparents passed away, Mrs. King found work in the kitchens of Pineland, a nearby residential facility for the mentally challenged.

Stephen attended the grammar school in Durham and Lisbon Falls High School, graduating in 1966. From his sophomore year at the University of Maine at Orono, he wrote a weekly column for the school newspaper, THE MAINE CAMPUS. He was also active in student politics, serving as a member of the Student Senate. He came to support the anti-war movement on the Orono campus, arriving at his stance from a conservative view that the war in Vietnam was unconstitutional. He graduated in 1970, with a B.A. in English and qualified to teach on the high school level. A draft board examination immediately post-graduation found him 4-F on grounds of high blood pressure, limited vision, flat feet, and punctured eardrums.

He met Tabitha Spruce in the stacks of the Fogler Library at the University, where they both worked as students; they married in January of 1971. As Stephen was unable to find placement as a teacher immediately, the Kings lived on his earnings as a laborer at an industrial laundry, and her student loan and savings, with an occasional boost from a short story sale to men's magazines.

Stephen made his first professional short story sale ("The Glass Floor") to Startling Mystery Stories in 1967. Throughout the early years of his marriage, he continued to sell stories to men's magazines. Many were gathered into the Night Shift collection or appeared in other anthologies.

In the fall of 1971, Stephen began teaching English at Hampden Academy, the public high school in Hampden, Maine. Writing in the evenings and on the weekends, he continued to produce short stories and to work on novels.

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5 stars
7,327 (15%)
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17,946 (37%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,135 reviews
Profile Image for Jennifer Wardrip.
Author 6 books479 followers
November 14, 2012
I picked up this book, not because I'm a Stephen King fan (although I am), but because it was part of the new Hard Case Crime division of Dorchester Publishing. I'll admit, the variety of authors they've collected to write for them is extensive, and THE COLORADO KID just happened to be the first one in the Hard Case group to make it to the top of my to-be-read pile.

I understand, after reading THE COLORADO KID, why so many people on here posted negative reviews. I understand, because just like the main characters in the story told me, a mystery with no resolution plain and simply pisses people off. People want a happy conclustion to a problem--whether it be why 9/11 happened, why oil prices are so high, why a young woman in Wisconsin was murdered, or how a man from Colorado went to work one morning and ended up dead on a little island off the coast of Maine only hours later.

Not KNOWING, not having Mr. King spell it out for us, angered many a reader of this book. Should it have? Maybe. But I actually felt like there WAS a resolution to this story--that being that not everything in life has such a tidy ending as we want our stories to have. Of all the people who end up dead in the US every year, how many do you think go unsolved as to cause of death, or in the case of murder, capturing a perpetrator? Life--this roller-coaster ride that we get onto daily and hang on to since our very lives depend on it--is not black and white, and it sure as heck doesn't offer us up tidy conclusions at the end of every day.

THE COLORADO KID is, quite simply, a character study of not knowing. We can get the facts, we can extrapolate what we believe happened based on those facts, but in the end, it's all a mystery.

Kudos to Mr. King for taking an idea, running with it, and showing that he just doesn't give a flying fig if we get it or not. This book left me with questions, yes, and I actually thank him for that. A book that makes you think and question will always be worth more than a book that doesn't.
Profile Image for Allison Faught.
304 reviews143 followers
May 2, 2022
This is one of the more unique books I’ve picked up as it had more of a non-ending than an ending in the most poetic and interesting type of way.
This is a very slow burn book, but one that most literally lets you play detective as you learn along with Stephanie (one of 3 main characters who works at a little newspaper company in Maine.)
One of my favorite things about it is how thought-provoking it actually is.
Oh, and two perks-the book could certainly be read in a couple hours it’s so short and the graphics that come with each chapter are so fun and great!
There was a callback to ‘Secret Window, Secret Garden’ which I read back in 2020 (which is part of the collection of short stories located in ‘Four Past Midnight’) to an event that happened at Tashmore Lake. The Stephen King nerd in me smiled at this as that’s the fictional location Mort Rainey’s lake house is on from the short story ‘Secret Garden, Secret Window.’ This book was published in ‘05 and the movie Secret Window (my literal favorite movie of allllll time) came out in ‘04. Yes…I know all of this from memory as I’ve seen the movie about 150 times and read the short story once. 😂
Although it’s very ‘King’ in writing, it’s not the horror and creepiness some fans look for. I found it creative and fun in many ways, although I could see there being a crowd who wouldn’t like this book as much as they may think they would.
Profile Image for LTJ.
108 reviews41 followers
October 6, 2022
“The Colorado Kid” by Stephen King was such an awesome mystery read that really had me hooked from the beginning. I’ve never read a novella like this where it’s a story within a story with many different layers to what exactly happened to the Colorado Kid. I particularly loved the characters and how it’s a solid mystery as the pieces start coming together.

I enjoyed all the little clues given throughout this as I was trying to figure out exactly what was going on with the Colorado Kid as it was pretty interesting all the way to the end. Don’t worry, I won’t ruin anything for you but this was such a fun read that I genuinely enjoyed it from start to finish. This is definitely one of those fun conversation starters if you’re in a book club that just finished it to ask your fellow readers what they think about the Colorado Kid. I guarantee you’ll get some interesting responses!

I give “The Colorado Kid” by Stephen King a 5/5 as even though many people will probably have something to say about the ending, I think it was specifically done this way and in this format for all the book clubs in the world to discuss. There’s so much here to unpack and try to figure out that I think that was the whole point in the grand scheme of things.
Profile Image for Matt.
3,723 reviews12.8k followers
November 10, 2019
Feeling generous with my 3.75 stars.

Turning to another short piece by Stephen King, I found this piece calling out to me. As King can vary greatly in his writing, I was not entirely sure what to expect, but found this mystery pulled me in while remaining as laid-back as a Maine summer’s day. Stephanie McCann is a journalism intern in a small Maine community, working alongside the town’s two newspaper reporters, Vince Teague and Dave Bowie. While Stephanie is looking to learn the nuances of small-town reporting, she is also looking for a story to call her own. Teague and Bowie cannot offer much, though there is that incident down at the church picnic that left some dead. Teague and Bowie seek to teach their muse something about reporting that includes building a story on a truth and then filling the cracks with supposition. However, there is one unsolved case that seeks a story, even if there is no concrete truth to serve as foundation. Back in 1980 or so, two high school kids found a body on the beach, a hunk of meat lodged in the throat. Further investigation showed that this was no local—as if the lack of anyone knowing him was not enough—and James Cogan was eventually identified as the victim. However, no one could tell how or why he ended up on the East Coast, hailing from Colorado. Cogan’s wife could not explain it, though she knew something odd was going on a while back. As Stephanie seeks to posit her own theory, she is kept on track by the two old journalists, who fill in the cracks she finds in the story, to a degree. Who was James Cogan and what was this Colorado businessman doing in Maine, especially dead. King leaves the reader wondering as they seek to piece things together in this novella. Brilliant in its delivery and perfect for those who want a few hours to get the brain juices flowing. Recommended to novella fans, especially those who enjoy reading King’s less violent pieces.

Stephen King knows how to write a captivating story, inserting twists few would likely predict. This novella had all the impact of a well-crafted piece, mixing mystery and narrative backstory in equal measure. King uses three loose protagonists in the piece—the journalists—who push the narrative along, with James Cogan acting as a decent, but distant, central figure. His presence in Maine remains a mystery, though the clues that come up during the discussion leave everyone trying to find an answer to this mystery. King develops some decent characters, with little known about this, though that might have been the point. The story was grounded and kept me wanting to learn a little more, though there were numerous threats left dangling. With short chapters and decent momentum, King fans may enjoy this one, full of tangential commentary on the smallest of details. While this was only a filler piece, I have always loved the full-length King novels, one of which awaits me in the near future. A great short piece without the gore or intense chills that some might find in King’s cornerstone pieces.

Kudos, Mr. King, for a nice novella that helped pass the time as my busy weekend progresses.

Love/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at:

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...
Profile Image for Delee.
243 reviews1,105 followers
September 27, 2017
"Ever come across a real unexplained mystery?"

The ratings for THE COLORADO KID were all over the place...I have only started reading Stephen King again in the last few years- after a couple disappointments in the late 90s, but after taking a chance with some of his more recent offerings- and loving them...I decided to take a chance with this one too.

The Main Characters:

Dave Bowie – The 65-year-old managing editor of The Weekly Islander, the small newspaper servicing the island of Moose-Lookit.

Vince Teague – The 90-year-old founder of the Islander.

Stephanie McCann – A 22-year-old on summer internship at the Islander

Over coffee- Dave and Vince tell Stephanie about a unsolved case which has bothered them over the years.

The Story:

WHO: John Doe- The Colorado Kid, eventually identified as James Cogan from Nederland, Colorado.

WHERE: Found on Hammock Beach, Maine.

WHEN: Early morning, April 24, 1980

WHAT: Two teenagers find the body of a man slumped against a trash can. No identification was found, and the body bore no indication of foul play- cause of death was determined to be asphyxiation- a piece of steak found lodged in his throat. On the body was a Russian coin, some pocket money, and a pack of cigarettes- which eventually lead to John Doe's identity- James Cogan- a happily married with a newborn son- from Colorado...But WHY he was in Maine...and HOW he ended up there remains a mystery.

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The reason THE COLORADO KID worked for me was mainly the characters- especially David and Vince- they reminded me of a cross between- Statler and Waldorf (the grumpy old Muppet men) and Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon. I didn't have a problem with the mystery remaining a mystery, and as I was reading I suspected that in Stephen King fashion... These characters may just pop up in another book at some point- but either way if they do, or they don't- it won't bother me one little bit.

*After reading The COLORADO KID- I came across this tidbit-

King stated- "The review of The Colorado Kid in today’s issue of today's USA Today mentions that there was no Starbucks in Denver in 1980. Don’t assume that’s a mistake on my part. The constant readers of the Dark Tower series may realize that is not necessarily a continuity error, but a clue."
Profile Image for Gabriel.
486 reviews639 followers
December 4, 2022
Una novela corta sobre el caso inexplicable de un hombre encontrado muerto a orillas de la playa de Maine. Una novela que ni es thriller, ni novela negra, ni policíaca.

Perfectamente es un misterio que se queda en eso, con más huecos argumentales en su línea cronológica de acción y una historia con más puntos suspensivos que respuestas. Es una novela de misterio que se queda con el mismo misterio de inicio a fin. Y mira que me gustan los finales abiertos, pero aquí no hay nada claro en ningún instante y definitivamente sería una historia que como bien dicen ellos, pasa sin pena ni gloria y que puede ser olvidada al día siguiente. El caso tienen sus teorías e hipótesis interesantes pero sin comprobar o ya bien sea descartadas por las pruebas encontradas y los rastros descubiertos.

Lo que me ha gustado es que para ser un libro de misterio King sabe perfectamente de qué hilos tirar para que quieras seguir leyendo. Hay pausas innecesarias entre las conversaciones de los personajes pero que nutren en detalles y sirven para agregar la dosis justa de tensión para seguir sabiendo sobre el extraño caso sin resolver. Y esos que al ser corta su extensión me vino perfecta para descansar entre lecturas pesadas.
Profile Image for Deborah Obida.
673 reviews602 followers
September 3, 2017
This is my first by Stephen King, I picked The Colorado Kid mainly cause I love the TV show Haven and its based on this, I was surprised that this is not a paranormal and the show is, its weird the this book being the predecessor is just a crime mystery.

I'm not a fan of crime books but its good to come out of my comfort zone that consist of Fantasy,Paranormal and Romance. I must admit this book got my wheels spinning a lot. The writing is okay not great, The plot is amazing and I love it.

I had lots of expectations when I picked up this book to read, was I disappointed by what I found out? You bet, did I like what I got, Oh yea I did. The characters in this book are so weird,The MCs consist of a 22,65 and 90 year olds that work together in a newspaper house.

No this book is not written in the POV of a cop, Its written in the POV of Stephanie an intern at a newspaper est. Its based on a story that was told by Dave and Vince the newspaper men to Stephanie about an unsolved mystery that is still going on for 25 years and how neither cops nor journalists found out how the body ended up at the beach without identification and death by choking on a meat yea the meat he was eating Not to mention the man is a stranger in the small town. I know the POV is weird in a twisted kind of way, I'm not a fan of a story inside a story but King did a good job.
Profile Image for Sandeep.
88 reviews52 followers
May 31, 2020
This was an unusual book, definitely not King's usual style. I did enjoy it, but ultimately it was underwhelming. Considering a man has been found dead on a beach, you don't really learn anything of interest about him or his death as a result of which you find yourself not paying attention frequently.

And I get the point of the book and that not everything has an answer... but this just left me frustrated more than anything. At times, it was hard to keep going because the story was pretty much stale.

The characters were great, so were the interactions between them and the story of the Colorado Kid was intriguing and mystified. The way King finished the book was satisfying. These are some positives of the book. Also, I would recommend to read the afterword of the author where he explains why he wrote the story as he did.
Profile Image for Jenna ❤ ❀  ❤.
789 reviews1,184 followers
March 13, 2023
"It was that kind of story. The kind that’s like a sneeze which threatens but never quite arrives."

Stephen King described it perfectly himself with this line from the book.

I didn't think he was capable of writing such a boring novel.
Profile Image for Kandice.
1,531 reviews236 followers
December 24, 2022
2021 -

My husband, daughter and I listened to this audiobook on a drive from Bangor, Maine to Salem, Massachusetts. Eerily, we chose it for length, and much like the audio of Joyland that we listened to from The Bronx, NY to Bangor, Maine, it ended right as we took the last exit. So, so weird!

TCK is one of my all-time favorite Kings, and I collect editions, including foreign covers. My family knows how much I love it, but none of them have read it. I must say, they were... pissed when it was over. They were very unhappy about the lack of resolution. They both liked the reader and delivery, but they were not enough to alleviate their disappointment.

You can't please everyone all the time.

I re-read this because I have recently started watching "Haven" on Netflix. Haven is based, not on this book, but the place and characters IN the book. I love the show. The best part is how the writers and set decorators insert small references to King's work throughout the years. Sometimes a small nugget of story from one of his novels is told, a scene plays on the screen right off his pages, Paul Sheldon and the Misery series are mentioned when a birthday gift is one of his books. The list goes on and on. The best part of the show is watching for these "Easter Eggs." I only wish I had watched it from the beginning as it aired because now I know there are message boards online where people compare what they noticed when an episode is over.

Now, back to the book. I have no problem with the idea of this story. King is my favorite writer and I argue vehemently against his label of "Horror Writer" all the time. It's his style I love. The way he creates three-dimensional humans with scribbles on a page. People I feel I know and would recognize on the street. He does so here with the two old newspapermen who relate the story, and the young intern who listens. I like them. I want to read more about them! There is certainly no horror to be found on these pages.

I even understand the reason he gives us no answer to the mystery. The old men explain that life has no plot, no through-line, no story arc, etc. I agree. I also think that's why we love novels and movies and newspaper articles. We NEED that through-line to make up for its lack in our lives. I was mesmerized by the men relaying the story of this man found dead on a beach in Maine, half a continent from where he began his day in Colorado. I understand the law being unable to put the puzzle together. I know this could happen in real life. But this is a novel, DAMMIT! I want that through-line. King plays with us because he knows he can get away with it. He can tick me off by not giving me a resolution fully confident I will still buy his next book the day it comes out and read and re-read it over and over through the years. Confident ass. (I say that with love, nothing but love.)

I am only on the fourth episode of the second season on Haven. I find it infinitely clever the premise they use for the show and my hope each time I begin a new episode will be that Audrey (the main character) comes across the answer to what really happened to the Colorado Kid. It's a supernatural television show. Don't tell me a full staff of writers can't figure out SOMETHING I will accept. I'm gullible. I'll accept a lot. Or a little. Just give me...something.

October 2014-

I've caught up on Haven and now seem addicted to this story of The Colorado Kid! This is my third reread in 6 months and this time (I audio-ed) it felt almost like I was getting a "fix." I didn't just relish the story, I took notes, looked up obscure facts, and researched things I would otherwise have no interest in. Haven has explained "James Cogan" in the series, but my brain (and heart) think I can explain The Kid in the book. I know I can!

I read in the Stephen King group here on GR that someone dislikes the show Haven because this book is a perfect unsolved and unsolvable mystery. She feels Haven takes away that perfection and instead presents a little paranormal mystery that gets solved every week in 47 minutes. I can understand her feelings, but love Haven for exactly the same reason she dislikes it.

King wrote the perfect mystery novel. Nothing paranormal, plenty unexplained, no answers, through line or plot. The novel is actually more a character study of the two that are telling the story, and the one they are telling it to, than it is a narrative. Often in life, we don't get answers. Some things are simply unexplainable. Ok, ok, but not in a King book. In his books, he shows us why anything can, and usually does, happen. Even when it takes magic, evil, or the paranormal to make it happen. He convinces us it's possible and shows us how.

Haven takes this perfectly unsolvable mystery, written by King, and turns it into what we expect from him. They can exist together, and at the same time. In Haven the outside world is told that all the little unexplainable things that occur in the town limits are due to gas leaks, bad weather, road rage, you name it. In reality, all paranormal hell is constantly breaking loose! When you think about that, the story Vince and Dave are telling Stephie in the novel is exactly the sort of story Haven would tell an outsider. As you read the novel you begin to feel that the old-timers sharing this tale with Stephie is their way of accepting her and making her a true resident of the town. What if they are just feeding her the company line?
Profile Image for Caroline .
418 reviews572 followers
December 19, 2019

(Full disclosure: book abandoned at page 66 [out of 184 pages].)

Although I appreciate Stephen King’s effort to write in a totally different style as part of the “Hard Case Crime” series, that’s one of the major problems with this book. This isn’t really a Stephen King book, by which I mean, all that has earned King legions of fans over the decades, all that’s distinctly King, isn’t here. I didn’t need to read past page 66 to know that. I sincerely hope readers new to King don’t choose The Colorado Kid as their starting point.

As for the plot, three characters--two older men and one young woman--discuss crimes, with the main topic being the mysterious 1980 case of the “Colorado Kid.” “Discuss” is the operative word here; this is a dialogue-heavy story.

That's unfortunate because the dialogue itself is irritating, with the men frequently calling their 22-year-old female intern “darlin’,” “dear,” and “dearheart” while dominating the conversation. As for the actual discussing, that’s passive storytelling, and it’s really boring.

The book is short and from what I understand has an unsatisfying ending, leading me to believe that King whipped this one up quickly without much investment. I read 11/22/63 not long before this, and as his efforts go, this couldn’t be more opposite. Where that is strong and complex, this is feeble. I have no problem advising others to heed this book’s 3.32 average rating (as of this writing) and spend time reading something worthier.
Profile Image for Louie the Mustache Matos.
948 reviews68 followers
September 4, 2022
Okay, so this is one of those works that demonstrates that Stephen King is not looking to sit on his laurels, but continues to innovate his craft. Of course, it should be acknowledged that King is a master, but with that having been said it is important to recognize that The Colorado Kid is an attempt to explore a mystery with possible, pseudo-paranormal undertones. The story from its very inception is about three characters talking. That is correct! Where you may have often heard “Show, don’t tell;” this novel is all about the tell. It should not work. It should detail the recipe for a disaster, and yet, it is NOT a disaster. Sure, it feels more like gossip than a King story, but IMHO it still works. I will not trash this book, because it really still has some intriguing elements, but everyone must judge for themselves, because it's different. It is not a horror novel, which for me is a disappointment, but he still is trying to do new things and I'm OK with it. For me, I will judge this one right down the middle. Good not great, and admittedly weird in the pantheon of King's entire universe.
Profile Image for Ashley Daviau.
1,757 reviews754 followers
December 5, 2019
This is the first time I’ve read this book by King because I finally managed to get my hands on it when it was rereleased. I’m glad I finally got to read it because I absolutely adored this story. It seems that people either love it or hate it and I’m most definitely in the love it camp. I found the story fascinating, it drew me in from the first page and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to find out what would happen. Or in this case, to not find out what happens. Either way, I loved it!
Profile Image for Greg.
1,109 reviews1,844 followers
December 22, 2011
A quick check of the personal 'most read authors' feature on goodreads tells me that this is my thirty-third Stephen King book, and it's the one that pushed King ahead of Bukowski as my most read author. There is the possibility that maybe there are a couple of duplicate ratings in there, but I'm not going to look. I'd rather have Stephen King be my most read author than Bukowski (32 Bukowski books?!? I know I really liked him for about five years, but how many times could I read the same story?).

Doing some personal history mental math, I come up with figure that I haven't read a Stephen King novel in about seventeen years and two months. After a string of disappointing books that came out in the early to mid-90's I just stopped reading him. My tastes got pretentious, and I'd been disappointed too many times in a row (three I think it was) by mediocre books to give much attention to any new books he wrote. Then I kept hearing very mixed things about each new book, this would be when I started working at the bookstore. A guy I worked with who loved Stephen King seemed to love all the new books with reservations that sounded like nostalgia creepy into his enjoyment, and anyone else whose opinion I trusted at all never had anything good to say about each new book.

I actually thought I'd never read another Stephen King book again. Like a jilted lover or something I'd cut my ties with him.

In my heart though I'll always love the dorky looking guy who well meaning customers sometimes like to tell me I look just like (I don't think this is a compliment, but it's probably true, although I personally think I'm less dorky and better looking than him). Different Seasons was my first 'grown-up' book that didn't involve commando's, crazed gunmen vigilantes or ninjas. Needful Things was the first book I anxiously waited to be released, and bought in hardcover the day it came out. The four stories that made up the sadly out of print Bachman Books were some of the first stories read with the literary equivalent of being smacked in the chest with a sledgehammer (this is a good thing). It was the novel that got me hooked on 'big' books, and the awe they inspire in lesser mortals who shy away from reading thousand page tomes (and the realization that some stories are just better when they have all that room to ferment and unfurl themselves). Pet Sematary succeed as being one of the few novels to actually scare me (although the movie might have helped). Even when it wasn't just about the scares or the thrills, most of the themes I find myself enjoying in books today I first came across in Stephen King (he probably is an underrated author, now that I'm actually thinking of it). The protagonist of "The Long Walk" could easily stand in for a Sisyphean existential anti-hero. My first literary taste and ruminations about Nazi's probably came from "Apt Pupil", The Dark Half could have been a horror version of a Borges short story. And as my swiss cheese memory can't remember the plot details of novels I read two months ago, nevermind almost any details about short stories or who wrote short story plots that my feeble mind happens to remember a few months later, I can remember vividly details from probably most of the stories from Night Shift or Skeleton Crew.

That's my nostalgic gushing about my favorite author from seventh grade through about my sophomore year of college.

And now I've read another novel of his.

This isn't very good.

The story is not bad, but it's not a novel, it's what could be a good side plot in a novel, an aside that would tie into the main story in someway.

The story is basically two old newspaper guys on an island off the coast of Maine are telling a young reporter about an unsolved case they were a part of twenty something years ago. The bulk of the novel is the two guys telling the story, .

As a story within a novel this could have worked perfectly, it could have been used in a slightly condensed version as a story within a novel even if it didn't directly tie into the main plot, it would have been great to get a feeling of the locale. As a long-ish short story it could have worked, too. But as a novel? It didn't do it for me. As a novel that is part of the Hard Case series, of mostly hard-boiled crime novels it doesn't seem to fit in at all. It's better written than say a book by Max Allan Collins or Mickey Spillane. The writing is good, the pacing is great, it's just that I don't see the point of it being a novel. In a series of books with Donald Westlake, Lawrence Block and Ed McBain lording over the quality of the books, you need more than a quirky tale and good writing. The book needs to really sing.

I'm thinking maybe I should be more impressed by this 'anti-mystery' than I am. Isn't it punk rock to churn out something like this for a series of crime novels that are all basically predicated on a fairly rigid set of formulaic rules? Should that get me excited and make me sing praises the same way I did over the conclusion of The Hunger Games trilogy?

Maybe. Quite possibly yes. I'm not always the most consistent when it comes to my opinions.
Profile Image for Carol.
1,370 reviews2,136 followers
February 8, 2017
3.5 Stars. No horror here, but still a worthwhile read in my book!

Stephen King states there will be no middle ground on this novel......that readers will either hate it or love it. As for me, I really enjoyed it as well as discovering in the Afterward what motivated him to write what is depicted as a hard-case-crime mystery.

I loved the two "old geezers" (as Mr. King calls them) that own the Weekly Islander Newspaper on Moose-Lookit Island, and the way they quizzed and inspired their 22 year old summer intern, Stephanie.

As for the case of THE COLORADO KID itself, I whizzed right through the telling eager to find out what happened to the mysterious dead man with no identification, and......was even fine with the ending.

This one won't make my favorites shelf, but it held my attention, and I sure do love the book cover even though "she" is not how I envisioned Stephanie.

Profile Image for Johann (jobis89).
643 reviews4,263 followers
October 6, 2016
"Sooner or later, everything old is new again."

This was an unusual book, definitely not King's usual style. I did enjoy it, but ultimately was left feeling unfulfilled. And I get the point of the book and that not everything has an answer... but this just left me frustrated more than anything.

The characters were great, as were the interactions between them...and the story of the Colorado Kid itself was intriguing. So there were definitely positives to the book! I'm just a bit meh about it all...
Profile Image for Scott.
425 reviews48 followers
November 17, 2022
** The Stephen King Goodreads Discussion Group is doing a re-read of his works from the beginning to the end. It’s been a long time since I have really immersed myself in Uncle Stevie’s world, but a rate of a book a month, I am all in. My goal is to read and review each one with as much honesty and reflection that I can give. **

Background – “The Colorado Kid” was originally published in October 2005 as a Hard Case Crime paperback.

Length-wise - my oversized paperback lists it as 186 pages and my Kindle lists it as 133 pages.

Plotline – This is the story of a man found dead on an island off the coast of Maine. There is no identification found on his body and it is clear that he is not a local member of the community. With a strong local police presence, it is left up to two elderly newspapermen who take on the challenge of trying to discover his identity and cause of death. The problem is the more they figure out about the deceased, the more the mystery deepens and the less they truly understand…

Thoughts and Reflections – This whole novella can be summed up by King’s following quote in the Afterword: “I’m not really interested in the solution but in the mystery. Because it was the mystery that kept bringing me back to the story, day after day.” It is a conceptual exploration of what if a mystery cannot be fully explained away? That is a hard challenge to take on and King takes it on in a direct and head-on manner.

What I liked about it was the journey. The sorting through all of the clues and trying to connect them together in a coherent answer, which we as readers are trained to do. We expect things to come together in the end and have an explanation that provides closure to the reading experience. However, King tried to turn it upside down and explore the theme of reality, in which stories don’t always have nicely wrapped up endings. Life is full of mysteries that are never resolved or explained, at least not in our earthly lifetime. There are so many things that we don’t know or understand, and uncertainties that we can be faced without any explanation, and that is just the way that life works. So, as king is trying to point out, you can either enjoy the journey or not.

What I didn’t like was primarily two things.

The first was the frustration of the ending being so open-ended and unresolved. I think that as King aptly pointed out, this will be one of those stories that people will either love or hate, but there won’t be much in-between. I get what he was trying to do, and maybe my reaction was evidence that helped support his goal of creating discussion and debate over the theme of life being open-ended and not all questions will be answered.

The second thing I struggled a bit with was that the entire mystery was told in a story-telling format, which in some ways made the story less interesting for me because it was a third-party retelling of the events rather than experiencing the events directly as a reader (thank you Kandice for strengthening my description!). I don’t know what could have been done better to make the story more compelling, but it felt like we really didn’t know much about the victim on a personal level, so my interest was really just in solving the mystery itself, and therefore I wasn’t really invested in the victim himself. I was lacking that emotional involvement that would have made the reading connection stronger.

Now, not to ruin my review or your reading experience, but there is talk of another interpretation of the mystery that I will mention briefly. Due to comments made by King on his website in 2005, many fans may connect the Colorado Kid story as being part of King’s “Dark Tower” universe. I leave that for to you to decide.

Other Notes – Following the initial publishing, in 2007, PS Publishing published the novel as a hardcover limited edition in four different states illustrated by three different artists (Edward Miller, J.K. Potter, and Glenn Chadbourne). Hard Case Crime also went on to reissue “The Colorado Kid” as an illustrated paperback edition in May 2019.

EQ Entertainment produced a TV series “Haven”, which was loosely based on the novel. The series ran for five seasons on Syfy from July 2010 until December 2015.

Overall – If I had rated this book on the day that I finished reading it, I honestly would have been tempted to give it only 2 out of 5 stars. Then I reflected on my reading experience for two days, spending time really processing what I liked, what I didn’t like, and why, as well as trying to honestly assess what King was attempting to do, and how well I thought he succeeded. Now that the dust is settling, my perspective has come around a bit. I am giving it 3 out of 5 stars, primarily for its thought-provoking outcome and the quality debate it’s spurred in me and others.
Profile Image for Brittany McCann.
1,646 reviews406 followers
January 10, 2023
This was a great mystery unfolding with an awesome narrative voice.

I loved the banter with the characters and it definitely gave me a bit of Dick Tracy intro vibes.

THe random clues surrounding the case were fun as well.

Overall, my biggest complaint is that I wanted there to be more to it. I wasn't ready for it to end so quickly.

Solid 4-4.5 stars

Profile Image for Jamie Stewart.
Author 10 books158 followers
December 6, 2022
Original review.

This was a reread for me having read a digital version years before. When I rate stories I usually do so with only the authors previous work in mind, and with knowing what type of novel the writer set out to create. The Colorado Kid is supposed to be a mystery that goes against the mystery formula, it’s supposed to be about the frustration of an unsolved thing, and it achieves this to great affect. Grounded, by the three central characters it as a enjoyable read to be read in one sitting.

The Colorado Kid by Stephen King

This is it, an new era for the King of Horror now that Roland has finally reached The Dark Tower in the final book of that series. It is the first time in over twenty years where King doesn’t have the weight of completing that series on him. He’s free to write whatever he wants without worrying about it. Plus, he’s on the other side of a car accident that almost killed in and left him healing through pain. That period, the physical healing period is over now he’s free to reflect. So naturally the first book out of the gate is an idea that King has already explored - an unexplained mystery.

The Colorado Kid is just that. And despite it being a idea he explored in the not-to-distant past with From A Buick 8 it feels fresher here. The writing has a sense of lightness making what is already a breezy tale fly by. The story here relies on a King’s troupe of having a character in the present communicate a story, which is the heart of the tale and just so happened to occur years before. Again, this story telling method is another thing that’s stolen from From A Buick 8. But this is the better told of the two mostly due to its slightness (Buick could stand to lose a few hundred pages) and it’s characters which are memorable (also something Buick struggles with).

So what is the story at the heart of this book. Why, it’s a mystery of course.

The Kid is story of dead man found on an island off the coast of Maine, a man whose identity is unknown to anyone on the island, at least at first. But as anyone that has read this story before it’s not really about that. Nor is it about the three characters at the centre of this tale, all journalists, two of which are telling the younger up and comer this tale of local mystery. It’s about the mystery itself and how sometimes mystery’s go unsolved. Which is the major complaint most readers have with this story, especially as it was published as a Hard Case Crime novel, known more for pulper tales.

I’ve listened to an interview with Grady Hendrix were he talked about how much King’s writing changed following his accident. His thoughts were that stories like this and From a Buick 8 with its unsolved mystery are that King is trying to work out the randomness of the accident that almost killed him. I agree with his theory, especially considering King included the accident in his last novel The Dark Tower, seeming to give his survival a meaning.

While the unsolvable mystery doesn’t bother me (it gives you the chance to make up whatever you want) its slight length and King’s decision to indulge in a favourite troupe of his (have a character tell a story through dialogue) goes against it.
Profile Image for Eliasdgian.
409 reviews110 followers
April 23, 2022
Με την επισήμανση ότι ανήκω στην (μάλλον) μειοψηφική κατηγορία των αναγνωστών του King που τους άρεσε το Παιδί από το Κολοράντο (πρωτίστως για τις αφηγηματικές αρετές του), αντί άλλου σχολίου αφήνω εδώ τρεις πρόχειρες, επιγραμματικές επισημάνσεις: (i) το "παιδί" από το Κολοράντο δεν είναι καθόλου παιδί, (ii) μια ιστορία μυστηρίου μπορεί να υπάρξει και χωρίς τη λύση της, εν τοιαύτη περιπτώσει, δε, η ιστορία γίνεται ακόμη πιο συναρπαστική και η προσπάθεια του αναγνώστη να εξυχνιάσει το έγκλημα (;) με όρους της λογικής σχεδόν βασανιστική, και (iii) όποιος αναφερθεί ξανά στην αφηγηματική "φλυαρία" του King, καλύτερα να δαγκώσει τη γλώσσα του!
Profile Image for Juanjo Aranda.
108 reviews40 followers
August 28, 2020
Me ha gustado mucho este libro. Es una historia corta que al principio puede parecer muy simple, pero que a lo largo de las páginas se va enredando hasta acabar en un caso bastante complejo.
El argumento es sencillo y el ritmo muy bueno. Es un misterio sin resolver años atrás, contado por dos personas que le vivieron de cerca. La dosificación de la información que se va descubriendo a lo largo delos capítulos es fantástica.

Los personajes me han gustado mucho. Están bastante bien conseguidos y tienen ese punto entrañable que hace que cada vez que sueltan una frase ingeniosa se te dibuje una sonrisa en la cara.

El final me ha parecido muy bueno y nunca pensé que podría decir esto de un final así. Me ha parecido el correcto y el que correspondía a esta historia. Sin ser su mejor libro, merece mucho la pena leerlo.

Tengo la sensación de que Stephen King puede sacar una historia buena hasta del prospecto de un medicamento. Creo que ese es su mayor don. Eso y que no deja indiferente a nadie.
Profile Image for Gary.
2,614 reviews369 followers
April 26, 2020
I have recently started reading more Stephen Kings books and prefer the non horrors so was advised to try 'The Colorado Kid'. I really enjoy the writing of Stephen King and he appears to be able to redefine the genre boundaries.
The story surrounds a case of an unidentified man found on a tiny island off the coast of Maine. There are no obvious pointers to his death or identity and more than a year later he is eventually identified but everything else remains unanswered. The story is told by two members of the island newspaper staff, editor Dave Bowie and founder Vince Teague relate the story to young intern Stephanie McCann and relate their fascination with the case and twenty-five years later test her investigative skills.
I really enjoyed the way it was written, excellent characters and so different from the novels I have read recently. My only possible issue is that I was not totally satisfied with the ending but loved it all the same.
Profile Image for Ivy_Lost_inside_Pages.
116 reviews17 followers
February 19, 2020
Did read this some years back and reminder, it was a weirdo story but I did like it. And now where I found out, I can watch the rest of the HAVEN series finally, this book was back in my mind. Really did like the series too.
Profile Image for Olivier Delaye.
Author 2 books212 followers
October 18, 2016
A nice little story that’s more about the characters (and their lingo) than the mystery itself. Just don’t read it expecting a payoff or a satisfactory conclusion, because you won’t get any...
Profile Image for Jocelyn.
665 reviews
September 22, 2022

I couldn't do it, I couldn't finish it. I have *immense* readers-guilt over not finishing The Colorado Kid because Stephen King is my absolute favorite author and famous human. So this hurts, man.

The Colorado Kid has been staring at me from my unread bookshelf for way too long. I tried to end my "reading slump" or hiatus -- or whatever with it. But alas, no go. No Tea for the Tillaman. Overall the issue was I was bored. I couldn't buy in to the characters, I couldn't sit next to them and hear their tale.

Sorry, Mr. King. I still love you with all my Annie Wilkes heart. (I see how creepy this is, and don't care LOL)
Profile Image for Wayne Barrett.
Author 3 books107 followers
January 13, 2016
a Hardcase Crime novel,
The answer to the mystery is that not every mystery has an answer.
Well written with a nice flow and likable characters but there wasn't much in the way of entertainment here. I was into the suspense, looking for the resolution, even though we were warned there would be none, and when the end finally arrived...yes, I got it. Still, I could have used a little more meat and potatoes, even though it was only one mouthful that done in our victim...or was it?
Profile Image for Loretta.
306 reviews157 followers
July 30, 2021
In Stephen King’s Afterword he writes and I quote “Depending on whether you liked or hated The Colorado Kid (I think for many people there’ll be no middle ground on this one, and that’s fine with me). I couldn’t have said it better! There was definitely no middle ground! I didn’t like the book at all. Hate? That’s really a strong word and doesn’t really apply here. I didn’t like the story. It moved way too slow for me! There wasn’t any action. The characters were flat, dull and boring. I think Mr. King needs to stick to writing books such as The Shining (his best in my opinion), Misery, Carrie and Christine which were really scary!
Profile Image for Baba.
3,560 reviews857 followers
June 24, 2020
A smart look at the nature of mysteries and stories as two aged reporters sort of test their intern by sharing a hard case crime mystery that has had them scratching their heads for over 25 years.

The third-person narrative (with an old-school King feel) looks into the the investigation of an unidentified male corpse found a small island off the Maine coast. Lacking any identification or obvious clues, the case reaches nothing but repeated dead ends.

This one feels like its bark is more than it's bite. What starts off as a compelling mystery, genuinely feels like some inane chatter from 2 old men, which it is! A very weak King. 5 out of 12.
Profile Image for Toby.
831 reviews328 followers
March 11, 2014
“Well then, I'm going to tell you a secret almost every newspaper man and woman who's been at it awhile knows: in real life, the number of actual stories - those with beginnings, middles, and ends - are slim and none. But if you can give your readers just one unknown thing (two at the very outside) and then kick in what Dave Bowie there calls a musta-been, your reader will tell himself a story.”

Stephen King, the seemingly natural born storyteller, offered this little mystery tale up via the pulp/hardboiled crime line Hard Case Crime back in 2005, later seeing it bizarrely adapted in to some kind of poor man's X-Files by SyFy as the supernatural series Haven.

I actually decided to give the series a shot after learning of its existence whilst purchasing the book, turns out Haven is terrible, and yet still I remained eager to read King's ripping yarn. Luckily there appears to have been little of the novel, if anything, harvested to create such a cheap and tack abomination.

The Colorado Kid is never going to be considered a King masterpiece, it's a slight little story that feels like he wrote it one afternoon when the inspiration hit. Two old geezers sit around telling a tall tale to a young girl; an interesting mystery unfolds, the kind that can really get the gears turning, a John Doe turns up dead on a remote beach on an island off of the coast of Maine, a lazy investigation ensues and leaves our intrepid duo with many questions and a desire to get to the truth.

But Stephen King is not content to simply tell a whodunnit, or even quietly deconstruct the genre whilst referencing Poe, Doyle, Christie, Queen and Stout, he is afterall a man who seems to spend his every waking moment constructing stories and with The Colorado Kid he is revelling in simply being a storyteller by dissecting the nature of telling stories.

It is not thrilling, it is not taxing, it may even be a little frustrating for those of you who need a beginning, middle and end but it is a light and enjoyable read that could easily work as a template for anyone considering using a simple framing story in your novel, screenplay or video game.

I wish the makers of Haven had taken that advice.
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