People who are constant readers of Stephen King’s work experience a specific kind of enchantment when they hold a new book in their hands. This experience is hard to put into words, but it’s similar to going home after being away for a long period. This cozy vibe is amplified by the novel’s writing style and the people housed within its covers, which are utterly new but simultaneously profoundly familiar.
Later Stephen King Review
Despite small shortcomings, Later Stephen King’s latest work, offers the exact comfort that Constant Readers look for. An old-fashioned part-detective thriller and part-horror novel, Later follows the narrative of an orphaned youngster named Jamie Conklin, who lives with his single mother, Tia, in New York City. When it comes to Jamie, one might say that he is a very normal child, except for the fact that he can see and speak to ghosts. You’re not alone if you feel this story is sounding familiar.
M. Night Shyamalan’s 1999 blockbuster The Sixth Sense instantly came to mind. What King may have known, but didn’t want readers to know, is that this is “not like the movie with Bruce Willis.” I’m not certain that I’d agree with Jamie on this. Cole Sear’s (played by Haley Joel Osment) Later ability is nearly identical to Jamie’s, albeit their results differ significantly.
The following principles seem to apply to the behavior of ghosts in the book Later: First, they must be truthful. Second, they must go away after a certain amount of time. Are they going off the grid? Cruelly, the King does not divulge where they are going.
To King fans, this book will be of particular interest because of his acclaimed It (1986), in which the Losers’ Club performs a rite of Chüd in order to battle an interdimensional entity known as “It.”
Later, he has Jamie connected to another unearthly being that is disturbingly similar to the entity in It. He’s almost like the title It, because the creature in the book, the being in Later, shows the protagonist something so mind-boggling as “deadlights” that glow out of its lips.
After his mother’s former girlfriend, a corrupt investigator, captures Jamie and takes use of his authority, Jamie performs his own private ritual. In “Liz forces Jamie to speak to what he initially believes to be the spirit of a serial bomber,” Jamie, as he goes by the name of “Thumper,” initially believes that he is talking to the spirit of Kenneth Therriault, AKA “Thumper.”
However, after Therriault fails to vanish after a few days, Jamie begins to discover that the supposed ghost of Therriault is actually making up frightening lies. There is some truth to the claim that Therriault is being controlled by a malignant, unknowable power, which appears to be possessing her soul. I’ll keep things simple by not giving away too much, so you’ll want to check it out for yourself.
Many of King’s talents are on full display in Later. His tales are filled with genuine and spooky horrors that amaze me. Among the several enemies Jamie Conklin battles are inherited ailments, the 2008 financial crisis, and rising hospital expenditures.
The relationships that abound in this novel give a gloomy contrast to the darkness that has enveloped the story, another excellent example of King’s trademark style. I found the bond between Jamie and his mother, Tia, very compelling as readers are able to follow his growth from childhood through his twenties.
Even if that person said something beautiful, I don’t think anyone could describe the specific sort of pain that comes with learning that the grownups in your life are not as flawless as you once assumed. Later uses a superb character construction to show the development of Jamie and Liz’s difficult relationship as well as Jamie’s recognition of his abuse and Liz’s drug addiction.
Liz, on the other hand, is not necessarily viewed as an utterly bad person, even though she is. In King’s portrayal of Liz, something sympathetic (or perhaps simply pathetic?) is added to enhance the verisimilitude of the story. This helps to make Later an exceptional read.
Nothing is perfect, of course. In the novel’s finale, another problem appears. I went all out in an attempt to discover the point of this revelation, but all I could come up with was an even more shocking finale.
I still heartily recommend it, no matter how strange the ending. This story clearly shows how much the writer enjoys his work. I can assure that my fellow Constant Readers will enjoy it, as well.
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About the Author
Sarah Patel is an ardent reader and a lover of diverse narratives. Her curiosity drives her to explore books across multiple genres, from fantasy and science fiction to contemporary fiction and memoirs.
With a degree in Creative Writing, Sarah has a profound appreciation for storytelling and character development.