Is it possible for a person to be in two places at the same time? In Outsider, Stephen King raises this question when presenting a crime that has a very evident culprit with almost undeniable evidence, but that seems to have the same amount of evidence as his innocence.
The plot begins when an eleven-year-old boy is brutally murdered in Flint City park. A brief investigation points Terry Maitland as guilty, since witnesses saw them everywhere the killer was - and accompanied by the child. The testimonies claim to see Terry at exact times, with blood on his clothes and even taking the victim to the car, which contains a good amount of the character's fingerprints, also present on the body found. With so much evidence against Terry, the local police are quick to make the decision to arrest him immediately, however, in doing so, they begin to dig deeper into the investigations and discover that the accused has alibis as good as the accusatory evidence.
At no time does the evidence lead to another culprit, while serving to frame and innocent Terry. Known as the coach of the children's league in the city, the character is very well built and famous for his good nature, which only makes his conviction difficult. With that, what should be a simple prison turns into an absurd case, where the theories seem to lead to unbelievable explanations that test the logical reasoning of those involved, while running out of time to avoid a new crime.
Outsider it is not an impressive investigative book, the resolution of the case itself is quite evident in the first paragraphs. The narrative develops calmly between the details of the investigation and the intimate life of the inhabitants of the small town, leading to the obvious conclusion, but that was not the real focus of the work. The writer makes very clear his proposal to explore how such a strange case can affect the lives of everyone in the city, ranging from those who were not involved in any way in the event to the enormous mess that the lives of the families of the criminal, victim and even of the investigators turns.
And King does not skimp on cruelty in showing these changes. Expositively and quite shockingly, it shows how from one moment to the next anyone's life can be turned upside down and families can be destroyed in seconds. These elements are used as criticisms of society and the way people deal with external facts, often hindering the intimacy of others or placing their personal gains above others.
The points presented by the author are very up-to-date, involving technologies and expository media that constantly spoil events, even causing numerous victims. Among references to great works, current or classic, King keeps the narrative up to date while using all plausible arguments to expose the absurdities of today's society.
Outsider is a work that has the best characteristics of Stephen King's writing, where the central mystery is well developed, however kept in the background after the details of everyday life stand out over him. Taking care to explain the events very well, the author invests in relevant points that are the real asset of the work, while developing an investigation that only his mind could think of creating.