For those of us who are addicted to Stephen King’s fiction, whether we should wait for the paperback is insignificant (I’m sorry, we just can’t). What is significant is whether his latest is more along the lines of 11/22/63 or kind of From a Buick 8-ish. His introductions to his early works contain more than a little genre justification but one in particular sticks out in this case (I can’t recall which book and Google is letting me down, so I’ll have to paraphrase). He was talking about how his writing isn’t considered serious fiction, and said “If by ‘serious’ you mean (blare of trumpets, please) Something That Could Actually Happen, then you are in the wrong building and should, by all means, leave.” Or words to that effect… but damned if that isn’t exactly how I remember it. Was it Night Shift? Different Seasons? Shit. Anyway, he went on to name many authors who are considered “serious” who had written stories which couldn’t really happen – your Bradburys, your Vonneguts, etc – and counted himself in good company.
This comes to mind because Stephen King wrote a Thing Which Could Actually Happen – a retired cop tormented by a case he couldn’t solve, the spree-killer who goes by the name Mr. Mercedes.
Is it a worthy addition to the pantheon of literature, a shining jewel in publishing’s crown? No. Will it blow your hair back? For certain.* Does it have “the gotta?” Always. I dropped everything in my reading queue for Mr. Mercedes and I don’t regret it one bit.
Neither will you.