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Book Review – Holly by Stephen King, a Terrifying Crime Fiction

Holly (2023) by Stephen King_Book Cover

Just completed one of the latest novels, Holly by Stephen King. Here are some post reading thoughts.

Main Plot Overview

A girl named Bonnie Dahl goes missing. Her mother hires Holly Gibney, a private investigator to look into what’s going on. She eventually discovers there’s other people who have disappeared and find similarities with each disappearance. She deducts that there is probably a serial killer in town behind the kidnappings.

Major Realization

It is realized early on in the book that Holly is dealing with cannibals.

Major Turning Point

Holly finally realizes that she needs to know if the Harris’ have a van or not. She parks a mile away, surveilling the area of their house. Unfortunately, Roddy is on a walk and discovers her presence and notifies Emily who goes out to deal with her. Dealing with her meant drugging her, caging her in their basement.

My Favorite Characters

Ellen Craslow was probably one of my favorite characters. Although she was just a memory, she was mentally the toughest out of all the characters, especially as a victim. Her realization that her death was imminent, and her reluctance to cave in to Emily and Roddy’s demands made her a powerhouse. Even in death, she continues to create immense anger in Emily Harris.

Recurring Themes

  • Smoking – It is made clear that Holly Gibney is a heavy smoker.
  • Holly’s joke that she’s been crafting the entire story only for the paramedic to tell her that’s not an original joke in the end.
  • Roddy and Emily aging – It is clear that the Harris’ believe consumption of human flesh makes the human body stronger, especially the liver. But they also have very severe health issues as well. Roddy is losing his memory, probably due to Alzheimer’s Disease. Emily’s sciatica has been torturing her for years even though they’ve been running their criminal activities for over a decade.

Other Thoughts – Writing

The writing felt extremely polished and organized. There were no useless characters in this story and everything seemingly contributed to the plot of the story. From what I’ve read, there’s not really any loose ends and the ending of the story was neatly tied up.

Other Thoughts – Graphic Details

The graphic details at the end of the book inside the Harris house were horrific. From the slices of meat and parfaits in their refrigerator to the jars of human lotion were downright gut-wrenching and Stephen King was able to portray that disgust perfectly.

End Thoughts

I enjoyed this book as a complete, solid book. Although the themes were fairly average to me, it did seem like a perfectly laid set up to become a movie in the future. Having it set during the Covid era also made it a unique story to unfold.

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