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Book Review: Billy Summers by Stephen King (Lots of Spoilers)

Billy Summers (2021) by Stephen King Book Cover

Probably don’t read this unless you’ve read the book. Tons of spoilers.

I read a lot of career based and productivity books but not enough fiction. Trying to expand my reading habits over time and Billy Kings by Stephen King was my latest one.

Here’s some book notes and questions I asked myself after finishing it. 

Many of the questions were taken from

My Finished Rating: 4 out of 5

Recommendated?: YES

Short Review: Really enjoyed the ending of the book. It was a great set up and was a rollercoaster of events.

Setting: Primarily New York, USA, Colorado

Book Review:

What did you think of the writing style and content structure of the book?

  • Writing a book while he’s waiting to kill Joel Allen was interesting and done well. A big bad army dude who takes up a writing hobby was an interesting dichotomy.
  • Structure of events was fun: Assassin story > Backstabbed > Jacked up love story > Revenge plot > Killing a pedo > Alice taking over Billy’s book. 

What did you like most about the book? What did you like the least?

  • Most: Felt like a movie while reading it. I enjoyed how Billy seemed like a mastermind who saw through a lot of BS and adjusted his plans accordingly. He duped Nick into thinking Billy was not as sharp as he turned out to be.
  • Least: Marge finding Billy at Klerke’s estate seemed too easy. Was she as sharp as Billy made her to be or did Nick snitch? Either way, it seemed like she was at the right place and the right time when she nicked Billy as he was running away.
    • For a billionaire, Roger Klerke was too easy to kill. Billy probably didn’t even need Alice and still would’ve got the job done.

Did your opinion of this book change as you read it? How?

  • The set up for me felt slow. Was picking up very quickly afterwards. Turned into a rollercoaster of events. 
  • Crazy turn of events that I enjoyed: Assassin story > Backstabbed > Jacked up love story > Revenge plot > Killing a pedo > Alice taking over Billy’s book. 

Which character or moment prompted the strongest emotional reaction for you? Why?

  • Bucky asks Alice “When did he die?”. The two were originally fairly nonchalant about going over the section that Alice wrote. Casual until Bucky got dead serious.

Did the characters seem believable to you? Did they remind you of anyone you know?

  • Billy seemed believable for the most part. He seemed very experienced and foresaw a lot of events happening and prepared accordingly. Seemed a little too perfect up until Marge. 
  • Transition of a wary Alice to a trusting Alice seemed too quick. 
  • Nick seemed too dumb. For a gangster and totally unarmed seemed unbelievable. Breaking into Roger Klerke’s estate also felt too easy and too sloppy.

Were there times you disagreed with a character’s actions? What would you have done differently?

  • Disagreed with Billy going after Alice’s rapists. He had a lot at stake and took a huge risk going after them. However, it resolved Alice’s storyline. And since the revenge theme is a rampant part of the story, this was a fitting decision to go after them.

What scene would you point out as the pivotal moment in the narrative? How did it make you feel?

  • Meeting Alice is where things started to really fall apart for Billy. Leaving her to die puts him on the run again or risk the police arresting him at his hideout. His story would’ve ended. Saving her led to his death and allowed someone to finish his story. 

What scene resonated with you most on a personal level? (Why? How did it make you feel?)

  • The mundane of life. Billy spends all his time in an apartment writing his book everyday while waiting to do his job. It’s not exciting.

What surprised you most about the book? Why?

  • Billy’s suffering and constant use of painkillers was very excruciating to read. Shows how resilient he actually was and after knowing what he went through in Iraq and his last job, you feel for him.

How did you feel about the ending? How might you change it?

  • Good ending. Wouldn’t change it.
  • The cabin in the woods thing reminded me of Dexter. I can just imagine if Billy got away, he’d have grown a beard and been living in Bucky’s cabin for a while before becoming Dalton Smith.

How have the characters changed by the end of the book?

  • Alice is a lot stronger after what she’s gone through. Turned into an outlaw as Billy mentions.
  • Billy goes on a revenge spree after he seems very calculated throughout the book. Took a lot of unnecessary risks after he met Alice specifically going after her rapers and even going after Roger Klerke. He was also too trusting of her in the beginning. He ultimately paid the price for it all when we knew that he wanted to go back to his Dalton Smith lifestyle. 

What do you think will happen next to the main characters?

  • Alice lives her life out. And visit Billy’s grave probably every year. She will probably listen to Billy’s advice to stay away from Bucky the bad, bad man.
  • Bucky will probably still visit Billy’s grave every now and then and run into Alice.
  • Nick will probably continue doing his sketchy deals but is probably going to think twice before backstabbing the people he hires..

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