King is having a great deal of fun here, whether he’s sounding off about Thomas’s blockbusters, which are steamily filled with “a big hot helping of good old S-E-X” performed by “strong men with fair hair and laughing eyes, untrustworthy men with shifty eyes… and gorgeous women with firm, high breasts”, or piling on the good old-fashioned scares. Later is a horror story, but it’s also a proper thriller, told by a master of his craft.
King weaves a story of adolescence with a sweetness at its heart — the touching and genuine relationship between Jamie and Tia. Therein lies the book’s strength. King captures in dialogue and description a sense of closeness, the specialness of those key years between childhood and teens, when your mom can be not just your parent but also your best friend and hero.... But maybe the fungibility of the pieces is the very quality that makes them work. “Later” is yet another example of King’s talent in building stories out of the materials of his choosing, and like so many of his creations, it’s remarkable how well the thing holds together. The pace and ease of reading, the ratio of familiar to new. A roller coaster made of Legos is still a roller coaster, and even if I’ve been on this ride before it doesn’t make it any less fun.