Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is yet another fantastic book by Stephen King. I’m too chicken to read horror books, so I’ve only read King’s non-horror ones. Reading his books are effortless, even ones with over 500 pages.

Billy Summers is a killer for hire. He’s the best at what he does, but he only kills if the men are truly bad people. Billy has decided that he wants out of the business, after one last job. It’s his biggest payout yet, and he can make the shot in his sleep. So, why does he think it’s a little too easy of a job for the money. First, he has to embed himself in a neighborhood while he waits for the target to arrive in town. Second, a local guy is involved in the setup, something that’s never been done before. And lastly, they want Billy to use their escape plan instead of his own.

Billy knows things seem off, but the money’s too good to pass up, and besides, he trusts himself to get out of whatever jam they have planned for him. So when things start to go south, Billy figures he’s got a way out. But he didn’t count on caring what people thought of him, and he didn’t plan for his past to weigh on his mind so much.

We learn about Billy’s past as he writes his life story to maintain his cover. We learn how his start in life formed his outlook on bad men. We follow along with Billy as he grows up and enters the military, where he is trained for his future career as an assassin. When his path crosses with Alice, a young woman who’s also had a hard start in life, Billy realizes how much influence he has on her fragile morality, and is determined she will make different choices than he did.

It sounds weird to describe a book about a hired assassin as “quiet”, but it’s a quiet book about right and wrong, revenge and vengeance. The book’s pace is steady as King winds his way through Billy’s life, twisting and turning like a meandering stream. We meet several lesser characters, each with their own reasons for choosing a life of crime. I thought about whether or not people that lead a life of crime ever really get a chance to retire from it like Billy wants to, or do circumstances choose for them? Is it just like Michael Corleone says, “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”?

I really enjoyed this book. I’m not quite sure what I expected from the story, but it kept my attention and I was satisfied when I finished. The ending was expected, but that’s ok. Favorites are favorites for a reason.