The Colorado Kid -- Stephen King

From Stephen King's Afterword:

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)...

Very true.  I really liked it -- read it in one sitting -- but I can imagine that there'll be a lot of people that don't.  At one point, one of the characters has a thought that so perfectly describes the book:

It was that kind of story.  The kind that's like a sneeze which threatens but never quite arrives.

It isn't a traditional mystery story with a beginning, middle and end.  It has a beginning, a middle, and a load of unanswered questions.  Have you seen Broken Flowers?  Yeah, it's like that. 

It also reminded me a bit of The Big Kahuna -- all of the action (or lack of action, really -- all of the dialogue) takes place in one place, with two veterans talking to a rookie.  In The Colorado Kid, though, it's journalists instead of salesmen.  The Colorado Kid is affectionate -- to the journalism profession, to the mystery genre, to mysteries in general, to old-timers from Maine.

I loved this bit -- one of the storytellers is describing the mayor:

He goes up and down Bay Street shaking hands and grinning with that gold tooth flashing off to one side in his mouth, got a good word for everyone he meets, never forgets a name or which man drives a Ford pickup and which is still getting along with his Dad's old International Harvester.  He's a caricature right out of an old nineteen-forties movie about small-town hoop-de-doo politics and he's such a hick he don't even know it.  He's got one jump left in him--hop, toad, hop--and once he gets to that Augusta lilypad he'll either be wise enough to stop or he'll try another hop and end up getting squashed.

I also loved this -- but it's kind of an in-joke:

I think he mentioned Madawaska.  Maybe he'll find some unexplained mysteries there.  Why anyone'd want to live in such a place, for instance.

Check out Hard Case Crime.  They're doing reprints of old pulp novels as well as publishing new stuff.  I'm so jazzed that there's a publisher out there that's doing a Book Club for pulp novels at pretty decent pulpy prices -- this one is listed at $5.99 -- SO COOL.  I don't think I've EVER even been tempted by a book club before.  The book even has one of those tear-out postcard advertisements in the middle.  And the cover art is rad.  The whole shebang just makes me happy.