Book review: Stephen King’s Billy Summers

Billy Summers

Stephen King

Hodder & Stoughton

Review: Roshiela Moonsamy

Not wanting to have any nightmares before Christmas, I made sure this Stephen King book wasn’t a horror before I started reading it.

It does, however, deal with more real human horrors, such as childhood trauma, war and rape.

Billy Summers is an expert sniper who only takes contracts to kill bad people.

This story begins with him taking what he hopes to be his final hit.

A war veteran suffering from post traumatic stress from his time fighting in Iraq, he starts getting a bad feeling about the job and the people involved.

While waiting for orders, he poses as a writer and we start to learn about a violent and devastating incident from his childhood.

Although living under a fake identity, he easily assimilates into his new neighbourhood and builds bonds with those around him.

This leaves him pained by the fact that they would soon find out that he was not only lying about who he was, but is also a killer.

As a reader, you will share the moral dilemmas that Billy faces, because although a killer, he is somewhat endearing, especially when he sets out to seek revenge for Alice Maxwell, a character that makes a surprising entry into the story and takes it in another direction.

I was easily reading this book, which is packed with American cultural references, when all of a sudden it happened − something spooky.

Not knowing if it was just a passing nod to King’s horror speciality or would become a full-blown plot, I made sure to only read the book from there on in the daytime.

All in all, this is a compelling novel from a master storyteller.