Billy Summers

I've been listening to the audiobook of Stephen King's latest, Billy Summers. It's pretty damn good. Ostensibly the story of an assassin paid a couple of millions dollars for 'one last job' it is, of course much more than that.

Billy, the assassin, is a nice guy - except for all of the assassinating he's done over the years, and even then he only kills 'bad guys'. But does that make him a bad guy? Partly, Billy Summers is a moral investigation of that question. Partly its a hard boiled procedural of how Billy goes about his work, and specifically his 'one last job'.

But weirdly, and enjoyably, it's King riffing for hundreds of pages on the similarities between writing a novel and killing somebody. There's some minor spoilage involved in explaining how he comes to construct the story around that comparison, and I hate spoilage - so I won't go into it.

But this is one of da King's best, I reckon. It's not a supernatural tale, but there is plenty of horror on the page. It ramps up as we get to know more about Billy and his background, about how he came to his line of work and what makes him so emotionally adept at it.

It's good enough that even though I've already got the audio I'll probably add a hard copy to my library as well.