Top critical review
Like a bad Jack Reacher novel
Reviewed in Australia on 18 August 2021
As I am a long-time fan of Stephen King, Billy Summers was a massive disappointment. I persisted to the end hoping it would get better; sadly, it didn't.
It starts out with promise -- a slightly mysterious job for a hired killer who senses something might be amiss but just can't help doing this one last job for a big payday; the classic Stephen King trope of lead character who is also a writer (will this angle lead to some macabre twist (like in The Dark Half) or stunning insight?); the small-town Americana observations.
Once the first act is complete the story takes an unexpected turn with the arrival of a new character to play the female lead for the book's second act, but this felt random and forced - very unlike King. From there Billy Summers devolves to read like a Jack Reacher/Lee Child novel, and not a very good one I'm afraid to say.
The brief throwback reference in the second part of this book to one of King's classic early novels was bizarre and completely out of kilter with the rest of the story. Sorry to disappoint fans, but this is far from Stephen King's best work.