This isn’t a horror novel. It’s published by Hard Case Crime, known for hardboiled crime fiction by old and new writers, which some would say is a crime itself, as The Colorado Kid isn’t that hardboiled.
It’s about the telling of a mystery involving a man found dead on a bench, in a small town where strange men dressed in suits aren’t usually found dead for any apparent reason. The tale is told to a young reporter by her mentors whom you get to know well; they’re memorable characters, despite the novel’s short length. Who is the dead man? How did he die? Where is he from? This book is not a mystery. It’s not hardboiled. Hell, it may not even be crime fiction.
In the Afterward, which he seemed to write knowing the reader would think What the fuck? after finishing the book, King explains why he wrote what he did, how it came about, and that he has no regrets about it:
…if you tell me I fell down on the job and didn’t tell all of this story there was to tell, I say you’re all wrong.
He knows this isn’t your traditional hardboiled story:
…even though The Colorado Kid is probably more bleu than outright noir, I think it has some of those old-fashioned kick-ass story-telling virtues.
And it does. There’s a mystery to solve, but it’s the telling of the tale that hooks you, not any mystery’s solution. I don’t think this book should’ve been published by Hard Case Crime, though. Maybe as a collection of short-stories, or in serial form in The New Yorker.