There are good people and there are good people. But we all know that neither of them is very realistic. Then the grey characters. Their innocent hearts were tainted early on in the journey of life, causing them to have that shade of black. However, years of struggles have led them to develop a keen sense of the good and the bad. They sympathize with the victims but know very well who deserves the punishment. Billy Summers is one of them. King does an excellent job in bringing the character to life, while at the same time maintaining a strong sense of balance of Karma and vengeance. One of the best books in quite a few years, this book could easily be regarded as one of the bests of Stephen King. Here is a review of the novel. See if “Billy Summers” is a book that might suit your taste.
Billy Summers is a hitman and an ex-Marine sniper who only takes contracts of murdering “bad” guys, but now he wishes to retire. Nick, whom Billy has previously worked for, pitches Billy one last assignment, one that pays $500K up the advance and $1.5M when the job is completed.
Joel Allen, the target, is a hitman as well. He’s sought in the region for killing a man who cheated him out of a large sum of money in a poker game.
Billy’s current assignment necessitates him to live in a small town for an extended period of time, where he has rented office space. According to the ruse, Billy is actually a writer called David Lockridge, who has been ordered by his agency to attend to the office and write every day in an effort to make the deadline for his novel.
When the task is done, though, Billy begins to think that Nick wants to kill him. As a result, Billy begins to devise a second plan to assist him to escape when Nick comes after him.
During his wait, Billy begins writing the fake book his character is meant to submit in order to pass the time. He alters all the names and places. When he was 11, his mother’s drunken lover battered and killed his younger sister, and that’s the beginning of his story. A gun was found by Billy and he shot the boyfriend in the back. He was later adopted and joined the Marines at the age of seventeen. As he grew in his military career, he found out that he was an exceptional sniper. The fake book gives away some other insights into Billy’s life too.
Even though they’re doing their best to murder Billy, he escapes. This leads him to meet the victim of sexual assault, 20-year-old Alice, with whom he works to hold accountable those responsible (non-lethally). In the end, he faces Nick. His friend Nick reveals to him that Klerke was in charge of the task. In order for Alice and Billy to finish off Klerke, Alice disguises herself as a teenager. Klerke is shot by Alice.
The story ends on a tragic note as Billy Summers gets killed at the end of the novel as a form of vengeance, following a series of mind-blowing twists and turns.
As a writer, King excels at coming up with original storylines, but he’s also excellent at resurrecting tired themes. Another subgenre cliché, the “last task,” is acknowledged and explored by the protagonist in the novel.
This is a very well-written piece of work. In spite of the fact that this is Billy Summers’ last effort before he retires and disappears into obscurity, it is unlike anything else he has ever done. The man he’s been seeking suddenly appears after weeks or even months of pretending to be someone else and making friends with others. Like a man attempting to finish a novel that is nearing its deadline, he assumes a different identity.
My impression of Billy is that he is a hero-antihero who will do ethically dubious things to thrive and punish people who deserve it. On top of making new friends and feeling worse for misleading them, Billy really begins to write a book. His own narrative.
There are powerful characters, notably the eponymous hero. There’s also a moving message about what it means to be a writer, about the freedom it affords, and about the capacity to construct worlds to your liking.
You will only encounter horror in the form of evil guys and their acts. Stephen King fans may be turned off by the fact that this isn’t a horror novel, but I’m glad he’s writing novels in other genres.
It’s as though Billy is peeling back the layers of his life as he writes. What emerges is, of course, a terrible history.
He is a grey character, and one of my favorites. Despite the fact that he’s not a decent man, he’s also not a bad one. Owing to his background and his war experience, he has steadily evolved into the person we see for the first time when we meet him. In Billy, Stephen King shines a bright light on returning veterans and the challenges they face once they return to their nation. I’m proud of you, sir.
It starts off a little sluggish. The novel drags a bit till the big moment arrives. The gradual build does not bother me, but I can understand how it could annoy certain readers.
Stephen King breaks free from his usual strain of plots but holds on to his excellence. This novel is bound to touch your heart while unleashing various horrors through the pages.