The Colorado Kid
Stephen King
Read by Jeffrey DeMunn
Simon And Schuster Audio 2005
4 hours

Aside perhaps from Stephen King himself, Jeffrey DeMunn (he played Editor Webb in Paul Newman’s version of Our Town) was the perfect choice to read The Colorado Kid, the first mystery, or almost mystery, by the master of horror. This is by the way the unabridged audiobook version of the Hard Case Crime paperback novel. Caveat emptor: unabridged here means you get the novel but not the interesting and perhaps even important afterword by Stephen King.

The Colorado Kid is a story two old codgers and newspapermen, Vince Teague and Dave Bowie, tell Stephanie McCann, their young protégé at The Weekly Islander, Moose-Look, Maine’s local newspaper. In many ways, the storytelling is the way the old guys are using to initiate young Stephanie into the world of journalism and is in many ways both a rite of passage and final exam for her.

Through the story of the Colorado kid Stephen King also explores the basic rules of the mystery novel and plays with the reader’s expectations. Published in the Hard Case Crime series devoted to bringing back to life the pulp mystery novels of the good old says and some new ones, The Colorado Kid is both a mystery novel and not a mystery novel. Telling you why would spoil the fun. Suffice to say King is in fine form here and knows exactly what strings he is pulling and when, something that also comes across in the audio book version.

For the literati who dismiss King as a writer, The Colorado Kid is basically the mystery novel deconstructed. Kings takes the traditional form, examines it through the eyes of Vince Teague and Dave Bowie, and comes to an interesting conclusion.

Jeffrey DeMunn is great as the reader of The Colorado Kid. Granted, his job was made somewhat easier by the fact there are only three characters throughout most of the book so he is not stuck with a dozen or so secondary and walk-on characters to differentiate by voice alone and the text is not as replete with those annoying he saids and she saids that sometimes make the audio book experience somewhat annoying. To his credit, DeMunn is very good as both Vince Teague and Dave Bowie and makes an excellent use of his voice and tone to differentiate these two characters to the listeners. He also does a good Stephanie McCann without trying to sound artificially feminine or girlish.

The audiobook version of The Colorado Kid by Stephen King is one of the better auditory experiences out there both because of the author and the reader.

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