The Outsider

This starts so well. A man is arrested for the gruesome murder of a child. His DNA and fingerprints are all over the scene of the crime. Yet he can prove, without a sliver of doubt, that at the time of the murder he was 70 miles away at a teachers’ conference. By the time you get to this point in the book, you’re hooked. Completely. How can this be happening?

And now here comes the BUT.

Because once you find out what’s really happening, you realize that what you’ve got is a nice, always readable, occasionally vivid – you can feel the pain of the poor slob with a poisoned neck – Stephen King thriller in the style of his Mr Mercedes trilogy. (One of the characters from those books even turns up here.) And the answer to the mystery feels – to me, at least – like the cheat of a man who’s written himself into a corner and doesn’t know how to get out.

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