A lot of people hate this book for bullshit reasons. I don’t usually comment on other people’s opinions (I have in the past, but not often) because its their subjective feelings about the shit they read. Fine. Whatever. But to hate this book because it has a cover that only vaguely touches upon the book and/or doesn’t fit the Hard Case Crime series… I don’t know… I mean, the book doeshave a female reporter in it and it is a mystery. Yeah, like I said, those people who hate on this book because of the aforementioned reasons… well, their opinions smell of bullshit.
There are plenty of reasons to hate The Colorado Kid. The cover and publisher are the least of them. First off, it’s a novella. Charging people $5.99 for a novella is asking a bit much. Even in King Land, where the rides cost more and the endings are sometimes lackluster experiences. Asking six bucks for something that would make a great episode of The Twilight Zoneis a dick move. Did the production of this book necessitate the price? More than likely. But my point is this: It shouldn’t have been published by itself. It should have been saved for a collection. Same shit goes for Blockade Billy, which is two short stories coming in at 80 pages and published by Cemetery Dance for the fucking insane price of $14.99. (Fun fact: Both Blockade Billy and the short story that follows it, “Mourning”, will be featured in The Bazaar of Bad Dreams). At least the coffee table book The Dark Man has pretty artwork one can goggle. So here you have a good reason to hate The Colorado Kid – the price. We got ripped off. Damn fine reason to get upset. Moving on.
The selling point here was crime fiction from Stephen King, which had, at this point, already been done. I shall direct you to the short story “The Fifth Quarter” and the novella “Umney’s Last Case”, just to name two. It’s not like this was new territory for King. What fans were expecting was an actual crime drama, not a book of theories. From the jump we’re told that there are no answers. Same shit happens in From a Buick 8, but at leastThe Colorado Kid isn’t over 300-pages long. Wait a second… does that make the length and price worth it? No, fucker, because, depending on the version of From a Buick 8 you buy, you’re looking at double to triple the price tag of The Colorado Kid, so FUGOFF… Where was I? Oh yeah, expectations. We knew King could write crime fiction when he wanted to, so we were excited. What did we get? Two old men sitting in a room telling a 22-year-old woman a story about a guy that choked on a piece of chewed beef. I hate to repeat myself but… FUGOFF!
So the actual story is boring and never really goes anywhere AND we paid six bucks for this book. But why stop there? Let’s mention…
The afterword. Wait… what? The afterword? Yes, the afterword. Let’s mention that King knew that people would hate this book. To be fair and quote him accurately, he says: “Depending on whether you liked or hated The Colorado Kid (I think for many people there’ll be no middle ground on this one, and that’s fine with me) you have my friend Scott to blame. I included the entire quote, but I want you to focus in on the part within the parentheses. I don’t care that King doesn’t mind that some people will hate it, but I do care that he knew some people would. My overactive brain can math good so I will put two and two together. Hard Case Crime called and asked King if he wanted to be a part of their newborn pulp throwbacks. He said sure, but had nothing to give them. He could have given them Blaze but that shit needed some modernizing, and well, fuck that noise. He was a busy guy. But wait… what about that trunk story about the unexplained mystery? Some people are going to fucking hate that shit but… oh well, it’s not like it’s a novel novel, (it’s more of an experiment) and I have Cell coming out soon so “YOLO, BITCHES!”.
So (E. here again) instead of leaving this in a trunk where it wasn’t hurting anybody, King decided to give it to Hard Case Crime because he liked the idea of what they were doing. He didn’t need the paycheck at this point in his career, but he wanted to be a part of something that was showcasing and paying tribute to his heroes. He’s a dork, a nerd, like most of us, and he wanted to be a part of something cool. Do you blame him? Yeah… I kinda do. Dear Stephen King, you could have done better.
In summation: The Colorado Kid should have been at the end ofEverything’s Eventual. Hard Case Crime should’ve grown a sack (or some ovaries, I don’t discriminate) and told King “No. We’re not accepting this. We don’t want your leftovers and neither do your fans.” King would go on to (at least in my eyes) redeem himself by giving Hard Case Crime another novel by the name ofJoyland. I accept that as an adequate apology for The Colorado Kid, but this tiny-ass book still grinds my gears.
Final Judgment: It should be hated for the right reasons.