The horror writer talks Holly and why he chose not to erase Covid from the detective’s world
By Brenna Ehrlich, September 5, 2023
THIS POST CONTAINS spoilers for Stephen King’s new book Holly, which comes out today.
Stephen King is readying himself for a flood of hate when his next book, Holly, drops on Sept. 5. “I think that a lot of people are not going to like it,” he says. “I think that a lot of people — particularly people on the other side of the Covid issue and the Trump issue — are going to give it one-star reviews on Amazon.
But all I can say to those people is, ‘Knock yourself out.’”
While inviting bad reviews before publication may seem like an odd sentiment from one of the most prolific, acclaimed horror writers of all time, well… a lot of things are topsy-turvy these days.
And unlike many writers who have released books over these past few years, King — as is his custom — doesn’t shy away from that discomfort in Holly, which follows the PI he introduced in the Mr. Mercedes series, as she attempts to solve a string of disappearances during the height of Covid.
Emma Straub’s fifth novel is an entertaining charmer that unleashes the magic of time travel to sweeten its exploration of potentially heavy themes like mortality, the march of time, and how little decisions can alter your life.
In This Time Tomorrow, Alice Stern, faced with the imminent death of her beloved 73-year-old father, confronts her own stasis, stuck for years in the same tiny studio apartment and the same job in the admissions department of the Upper West Side Manhattan private school she attended decades earlier.
When, after a night of too many drinks celebrating her 40th birthday, she wakes up back in her childhood bedroom on the morning of her not-entirely-sweet 16th, she wonders if, by tweaking the day, she can change the way her life and her father’s have played out.