Hey Kids! Want to read about an unexplained mystery as told by two very old New England reporters in a meandering style similar to how your grandfather used to go on about his ’64 Chevy pick-up? Then break out the Coca-Colas and switch on the Mr. Coffee, Uncle Stevie has a book for you.
To be fair, The Colorado Kid is not quite that discouraging. The true narrative of this book, which deceptively is more about the craft of the story then the, as mentioned within the tale’s journalistic jargon, feature thru-line. This is also King’s love-letter to old-fashioned reporting as well as a chance to back up the treatise laid out in his memoir On Writing, which is a book any lover of stories, let alone those told by King, should have in their library. The Colorado Kid, however, can at best be settled on as a borrowed rental.
The Colorado King has old men Dave and Vince, islanders from birth, pass on their newspaper torch to their flat-earthed intern Stephanie, who has raw talent in need of honing. King cleverly, and ploddingly, explores the nature of telling a mystery, as opposed to actually solving the damn thing. Stephanie plays the role of the everyman/woman as King takes his time through the codgers at hand, to lay out the mystery – a dead man discovered on an island beach off the coast of Maine, no ID, save for a pack of cigarettes purchased in Colorado – and gives the reader, through Stephanie, the ability to play catch-up, to give life to what should be a dead story, to fill in the Ws for all the Qs, while learning they don’t always line up to a perfect A. The purpose of a story is that it needs to be told, and not always with a happy ending, which is what happens here. Yet, that story does need to be compelling and the main one here, that of Stephanie’s youth and eagerness, should have been the road explored, and not the well-worn paths of two men trailing off into the twilight. King, however, acting as the spokes piece, deserves that attention of an elder statesman and makes an even somewhat rote tale entertaining. Now pass me a cuppa coffee, willya? Uncle Stevie has more to tell.