The Colorado Kid: New Illustrated Edition – Stephen King (Hard Case Crime /Titan Books)

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A while back someone told me that Haven, the SyFy Channel’s show about small town weirdness and strange histories, was based on a Stephen King book. Being something of a King fan, I immediately dismissed the idea with much self-righteous scoffing and snorting, because if that had been the case, then surely I’d have known about it? Turns out that I didn’t know half as much as I thought I did and that that someone was right. Sort of. See, Haven is loosely based on the central premise of a Stephen King book, taking the idea and the main characters as it’s locus before spinning both off in wildly different directions so that the end product bears little resemblance to the tale it was originally based on. Granted, it’s slightly confusing, but that’s the world of modern television for you, continually looking to up the ante and ruining whatever magic once ran through its veins. That book that Haven was based on? That was The Colorado Kid.

Having been out of print for more than a decade, mainly due to the show in one way or another, Hard Case Crime and Stephen King decided that it was high time that The Colorado Kid made it’s comeback, and have re-printed it with a new introduction, epilogue and interior artwork. Published by the aforementioned Hard Case Crime, The Colorado Kid rather than being King’s usual fare, belongs firmly in the tradition of dime store pulp mysteries – short, absorbing thrillers that usually revolve around murder, redemption and revenge and fast, loose, two fisted heroes and heroines.

But while it sits firmly in that mould, The Colorado Kid doesn’t follow the rules of the genre as it pursues a more winding, personal  and intimate path, telling the story of the discovery of an impossible body in the most unlikely of places. It’s a story about the power and value of tradition and how by maintaining it and keeping it alive, we continually add layer after layer of rich knowledge and experience to our group mythology and individual cultures. It’s a story about the fallacy of the generation gap and of how the more things, and people, change, the more they stay the same and the driving curiosity that’s inherent in the human condition. And it’s the story of a body discovered in a small town in Maine and the rumour and mystery that slowly build up around the events of the poor unfortunate’s demise.

There’s no mistaking the writers voice, or his style, and anyone who has ever been beguiled by King’s words will easily find themselves drawn into the world of The Colorado Kid.  Told in a laconic, laid back way that reflects the intimacy and bond shared by the protagonists, The Colorado Kid is a rare glimpse into the psyche of Stephen King, one that allows his audience a peak at the things that inspire and drive him. It’ll break your heart and it’ll make you smile, but more than all of that and anything else, it’ll confound, bamboozle and invite you to formulate a hundred different ideas about what really happened to The Colorado Kid.  Welcome back Kid… Tim Cundle

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