My mom (a bookworm herself) was nice enough to suggest this book to me. I was really excited because I am a big fan of Stephen King; I have read quite a few of his books over the years. My mom did warn me, however, “This is not like the usual Stephen King book”. Hearing this, I was intrigued and I could not wait to dive in.
Early on, it is clear to see that Billy Summers is a hitman. Not just a hitman, but one of the best. He has done a variety of jobs since his return from the Iraq war where he was a sniper. His name has travelled around the crime world and has done many hits. Billy wants to leave that life behind and “retire” from the business. It isn’t until he is contacted about a final job with a HUGE payout that he agrees to come out of retirement to complete. Billy has one requirement of the people that he hits: they must be bad people…like REALLY bad people. The person whom he is ordered to kill is indeed a very bad person. Also, early on in the book, it is evident that even though Billy kills people for a living, he is also a really nice, good-hearted person. I know it seems counterintuitive, but when Billy has to move to suburbia because of one of his assignments, he becomes the neighbor that has barbeques in his backyard and plays board games (specifically Monopoly) with the neighborhood kids. He is trust wholeheartedly by his neighbors and as far as they know, he is an aspiring author working on a book about his life.
Billy’s life is turned on its head when he meets Alice, a young girl who was thrown out of a van like trash on the side of the road near his house. He figures he would just let her stay a few days to clean up, but the story becomes far more interesting once Alice makes her appearance. Throughout Billy’s time with Alice, the reader falls further in love with Billy because of the care that he shows towards Alice while he demands nothing in return (for a time). Alice is gradually turned into one of the most important characters in the book, something that King does so well!
My mom was right: Billy Summers is much different than King’s other novels which are riddled with horror themes, blood, and guts. It is also uniquely written because we are able to read the book that Billy is working on. There are instances where it does get pretty intense to read, but King makes Billy into a person you would want to meet in real life. My mom and I were talking about the book and Billy as if we met him and is a family friend. We laughed about it and then spoke about how he literally was a family friend to his neighbors. I highly recommend this novel!