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Holly, by Stephen King.
I’ve been reading a lot this week. Not the usual shower of shit. Twitter lists, Facebook drama, clickbait on the Apple News reader. Nope. I got me the new Stephen King and I am, of course, loving it. My Netflix stack o’ shame grows every day while I progress through Holly, the King’s latest horror/crime mash up.
Mostly crime but. There’s no supernatural element to the story in Holly. The book follows on from his previous crime outings Mr Mercedes, Finders Keepers, End of Watch and The Outsider.
Those books mostly followed the action through the eyes of private investigator Bill Hodges, but time moves on and Holly Gibson is now the owner and lead investigator of the Finders Keepers Agency.
She’s a great character, “dogged and resourceful,” according the Graun’s reviewer, and “drawn to a profession that requires the sorts of interpersonal skills she struggles with as someone on the autism spectrum, with obsessive-compulsive disorder and sensory processing disorder.”
“Tears are hard for Holly to handle”, but she has chosen a path where tears are all she sees.
King has done his work on this character. She is beautifully realised.
The book kicks off as a missing person’s case, but gets twisted and dark from there. There’s no need for even mild spoilers about the case. A girl goes missing. There’s more to it than the cops think. That’s all you need to be getting on with.
The setting is interesting. The events all take place in early 2021 and in the world of real things, where the Delta variant of Covid is roaring across an America still divided by the Trump presidency. It’s the first time I’ve seen Covid written into the fabric of a genre novel and King gets it exactly right. He’s pretty good on the horrors and sorrows of the culture war, too.
I’m not quite finished yet. The story becomes so fucking tense in the final chapters that I have to keep putting it down and walking away. Also, I like my sleep so I tend not to read as much at night.
But I am enjoying reading for hours a day again. (It’s work, damn you!) I haven’t done that for a while. I’m gonna have to find something to replace this book when I get done with it.