“Island living has a way of creeping into your blood, and once it gets there it’s like malaria. It doesn’t leave easily.”

This tale, published in the Hard Case Crime series and sporting a suitably pulp fiction-y cover which has little to do with the subject matter, might be called the kid brother of “From a Buick 8”. One might also say, without stooping to spoilery, that if you liked the latter you’ll likely to like this one – and vice versa, of course.

The nature of mystery is once more what King sets out to explore, for reasons he puts very well in the afterword. Two aged reporters on a Maine island tell their young, female apprentice-of-sorts about one “story” (insisting all the way that is in fact not an actual story) where the loose ends never really got tied up. A dead man found near a garbage can, a pack of cigarettes, cause of death seemingly not a crime.

Being a King tale, it’s not surprising that it also works as a written commercial on the beauty of New England and the quirky charm of the people there. An easy-to-read trifle that manages to be both frustrating and strangely fufilling.