This post contains affiliate links.  Stephen King writes many different types of books from fantasy to sci fi to more realistic fiction.  I prefer the more realistic fiction like Misery and 11/22/63.  Recently, I read Holly by Stephen King, which reminded me a lot of Misery.  I enjoyed this book, though I think I would have liked it more if I had first reviewed the books that Holly Gibney previously appeared in.

Cover of Holly by Stephen King

About Holly by Stephen King

Holly Gibney appeared in three prior Stephen King books:

Mr. Mercedes,

Finders Keepers,  and

The Outsider

You don’t have to read those books before reading Holly, but the cases in those three books are referred to enough that it would be helpful if the reader had read the books.

In this story, set in 2021, Holly is deep in pandemic mode.  Her partner has COVID, her mother has just died of COVID, and Holly is doing everything she can to keep herself safe.  However, against her sick partner’s advice, Holly decides to take a case.

Her new client is Penny Dahl.  Penny’s daughter, Bonnie, has gone missing.  The police briefly look into the case but decide that Bonnie likely is fine but has moved away, especially since she and her mother fight often.

At first, Holly isn’t too concerned until she goes to the location where Bonnie’s bike was located.  As Holly searches, she finds an earring, which her mother confirms is Bonnie’s.  In addition, Bonnie’s helmet is no where to be seen.  Holly worries that Bonnie has been kidnapped.

However, as Holly starts to investigate the case further, she learns of other missing people.  Soon, Holly realizes that even though the victims seem to have nothing in common, they may have been killed by the same person.  Holly realizes she’s investigating the work of a serial killer who has many more victims than just Bonnie.

My Thoughts on the Book

Overall, I enjoyed this book.  Sometimes I get frustrated by detective books because the author lets you know only bits and pieces of what the investigator finds out.  As the reader, I can never figure out who did it because the author holds back some important pieces.  That’s not the case with this book.  King makes it clear from the beginning who the killer is and why they are killing.  The fun of reading the book is watching Holly piece the mystery together.  Sometimes as a reader, I felt like cheering her on.

However, there were two downsides to this book.  First, as I mentioned earlier, I would have enjoyed this book better if I knew the cases Holly worked on in the other books.  I did read two of the three books Holly Gibney previously appeared in, but I read them while recovering from surgery over six years ago, so I don’t remember what happened.

Second, King sets this book right in the middle of COVID.  I didn’t find that time particularly pleasant with all the fighting between the maskers and anti-maskers and pro-vaccine and anti-vaccine groups, and I didn’t find it pleasant to relive it again in this book.  King is particularly political in this book, which I found distracting.

I give Holly by Stephen King 4.5 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.

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