Billy Summers, an Absorbing Assassination Thriller by Stephen King

The Bottom Line: A masterfully told assassination thriller about about vengeance, love and redemption.

Stephen King’s latest centers around an American sniper and decorated Iraq war veteran named Billy Summers.

Billy is a killer for hire with a strong moral compass. To hire Billy, he has to believe that his target is truly a bad person.

But Billy has decided to hang up his rifle, so to speak. But not before one last hit.

This last job promises to pay $2 million, and the relationship with his employer sours. Soon, a rape victim who Billy rescues becomes his confidante.

King has always loved to write about writing and writers, and the theme turns up again here, as Billy begins writing his autobiography as he writes his own autobiography. In the process, King delivers two novels for the price of one. Billy’s backstory is nearly as compelling as what happens in the present.

Even the most straightforward King crime novels, such as Mr. Mercedes and Later, have paranormal elements. That is mostly absent from Billy Summers, but even diehard King fans won’t miss it. As in his novel Joyland, King returns to the language of noir, but with much better results. Highly recommended, and a worthy addition to the list of tremendous Stephen Books books over the past 20 years.

Bella Wright

Bella Wright blogs about books, film and media.

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