Author: Stephen King
Publisher: Hard Case Crime
Publication Date: October 4, 2005
Rating: 3 Stars
On an island off the coast of Maine, a man is found dead. There's no identification on the body. Only the dogged work of a pair of local newspapermen and a graduate student in forensics turns up any clues. But that's just the beginning of the mystery. Because the more they learn about the man and the baffling circumstances of his death, the less they understand. Was it an impossible crime? Or something stranger still-? No one but Stephen King could tell this story about the darkness at the heart of the unknown and our compulsion to investigate the unexplained. With echoes of Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon and the work of Graham Greene, one of the world's great storytellers presents a surprising tale that explores the nature of mystery itself. - Summary from Goodreads
I was introduced to this novel by a Syfy show called Haven which is “based” off of The Colorado Kid. This is my first ever Stephen King novel and besides Haven I have never been familiar with any of his work. My main reasons for reading this were (1) I was having Haven withdrawals, (2) I was curious to see if Haven in any way resembles what it was based on, (3) for the first time in my life I wanted to try a Stephen King novel.
I will begin by listing the similarities between the show and the book. It’ll be quick, I promise. Vince and Dave are newspapermen in a small town/island in Maine, The Grey Gull makes an appearance, and the names Arla and James Cogan as well as Wournos appear in the story, and, of course, the unsolved mystery of the Colorado Kid. Even with the familiar names the characters are not the same. That is literally all the similarities between the show and book.
The Colorado Kid is a story that follows two old newspapermen, Dave and Vince, who are telling a story to their young intern. I say that they’re telling a story, but as they say time and time again it is not a story because a story has a beginning, middle, and end. Life is rarely that simple. They are just relaying the facts of an unsolved case from the 80’s of a dead man found on the beach. I don’t think it’s much of a spoiler to say that the case remains unresolved since Dave and Vince keep telling Stephanie that repeatedly throughout the book.
So, what’s the use of reading a mystery that doesn’t have any answers, you might ask. I found the characters to be loveable and quirky, and they played off each other really well. It was fun to see how Stephanie fit in with the old guys and how she adjusted to life on an island off of Maine. The Colorado Kid was surprisingly an armchair travel book for me. I’ve never been to the east coast and I loved experiencing it through this book. I did have trouble understanding some of what Dave and Vince were saying because they obviously speak a different dialect of English than I do, but like Stephanie I began to grow accustom to it. I don’t know if it’s because it’s set in a small town or because the cover influenced me, but the book had a bit of an old fashioned vibe that I enjoyed.
There were plenty of references to other old mystery books and shows such as Sherlock Holmes, Murder She Wrote, and plenty of others that I probably didn’t catch. I was so proud that I caught the reference to Agatha Christie’s 10 Little Indians (retitled And Then There Were None), which I watched when a friend said the Haven episode As You Were reminded her of it.
This book is hard to find even though it only came out in 2005, luckily my library had it. I don’t know that I would highly recommend this book, but I did enjoy reading it. I liked the characters well enough and I enjoyed the setting, the book is barely 180 pages counting the afterward by King so it’s not time consuming. As my first time reading a book by King I would say that it went well. The Colorado Kid is a simple book that illustrates that life is full of mysteries and is never as clean as a story.