Title: Billy Summers
Author: Stephen King
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton, London
Publication date: 2021
Reviewer: Jill Fulcher
First up – if you are looking for a Stephen King horror novel, this is not for you.
Billy Summers is an ex-Marine sniper, now killer for hire, who only kills ‘bad people’.
He takes one last job which will be the biggest payday of his career and set him up for the rest of his life.
The job requires him to work undercover as a freelance author working on a novel, while waiting for the kill day.
As he waits, he makes friends with his new neighbours and becomes part of the community.
Billy is well read and while waiting, he decides he may as well try to write a novel.
Knowing the novel will never be published, he decides to write about his life.
King’s book swaps between Billy’s real life and his fictional memoir.
The book within the book tells his back story.
He doesn’t trust his client and Billy feels like the job could be his last, literally.
He takes off after the assassination and hides in seclusion from the authorities and his client’s associates.
Whilst in seclusion, Billy witnesses Alice being dumped after being drugged and raped. Billy saves her and inflicts his justice on the ‘bad people’.
The relationship between Billy and Alice absolutely makes the whole book worth reading.
Although Billy knows he is ‘bad people’, he has a moral compass. You will start by liking him, but by the close of the story, you will end up loving him.
I’ll be honest. I found the book dragged as King was setting up his characters.
The first two hundred pages seemed a chore, but the introduction of Alice changed that.
I couldn’t wait to see where Billy and Alice ended up.
The ending certainly had a twist that I wasn’t expecting.
Other stories: Book Review: Educated an eye-opening read