Review: Later

Later Later by Stephen King
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Jamie can see dead people--but he swears it's not like that kid in the movie.  Still, it happens and when his mother realizes it and comes to believe him, he swears her to secrecy. He's fine with keeping it quiet but his mom, during a more economically desperate time in her life betrays that trust and leans on her girlfriend, Liz, a dirty cop, to capitalize on Jamie's ability.  That should have been it, but Liz has decided there are more opportunities to benefit from with Jamie's ability proceeds to prey on him, and this ultimately results in a darker and more evil being coming forth from the dead that now Jamie must face.  

This is standard Stephen King with a young person with special abilities, single parent, smarter than many around him, finding a mentor in an older quirky male, and a willingness to name and confront evil. Of course, it also includes some of the typical points of reference including the "deadlights" from It and Shawshank Redemption. In that way, it is familiar and fun for the most part. But it also feels like a flatter King that I have read in a while; a King that is trying to channel his view of youth onto a portrait that it doesn't quite fit or has really been updated to reflect the lives of youth today. King's depiction of Jamie feels like it belongs in the 20th century and not really a kid growing up in the late 2000s and 2010s.  He also drops a final chapter surprise that in itself feels a bit empty and answers a question within the novel that readers aren't particularly interested in answering. King fans might find that it is a bit of a chore to finish this (shorter than usual) King novel and not richer for it while new readers of King might be misled by this substandard entry in his oeuvre. 

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