Holly

Holly

by Stephen King

Narrated by Justine Lupe, Stephen King

Unabridged — 15 hours, 37 minutes

Holly

Holly

by Stephen King

Narrated by Justine Lupe, Stephen King

Unabridged — 15 hours, 37 minutes

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Overview

Notes From Your Bookseller

The Stephen King fan favorite (and favorite of King himself) Holly Gibney is back, and now she’s the main character in her own feature story. Matched up against two Moriarty-esque professors, she has to continue to grow as a detective, as she has in all her other appearances.

#1 New York Times Bestseller * New York Times Notable Book * NPR Best Book of the Year

Holly Gibney, one of Stephen King's most compelling and resourceful characters, returns in this chilling novel to solve the gruesome truth behind multiple disappearances in a midwestern town.

“Sometimes the universe throws you a rope.” -BILL HODGES

Stephen King's Holly marks the triumphant return of beloved King character Holly Gibney. Readers have witnessed Holly's gradual transformation from a shy (but also brave and ethical) recluse in Mr. Mercedes to Bill Hodges's partner in Finders Keepers to a full-fledged, smart, and occasionally tough private detective in The Outsider. In King's new novel, Holly is on her own, and up against a pair of unimaginably depraved and brilliantly disguised adversaries.

When Penny Dahl calls the Finders Keepers detective agency hoping for help locating her missing daughter, Holly is reluctant to accept the case. Her partner, Pete, has Covid. Her (very complicated) mother has just died. And Holly is meant to be on leave. But something in Penny Dahl's desperate voice makes it impossible for Holly to turn her down.

Mere blocks from where Bonnie Dahl disappeared live Professors Rodney and Emily Harris. They are the picture of bourgeois respectability: married octogenarians, devoted to each other, and semi-retired lifelong academics. But they are harboring an unholy secret in the basement of their well-kept, book-lined home, one that may be related to Bonnie's disappearance. And it will prove nearly impossible to discover what they are up to: they are savvy, they are patient, and they are ruthless.

Holly must summon all her formidable talents to outthink and outmaneuver the shockingly twisted professors in this chilling new masterwork from Stephen King.

“I could never let Holly Gibney go. She was supposed to be a walk-on character in Mr. Mercedes and she just kind of stole the book and stole my heart. Holly is all her.” -STEPHEN KING

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

09/11/2023

PI Holly Gibney returns after King’s 2020 novella If It Bleeds to face off against a pair of deliciously wicked predators in this lurid if somewhat plodding thriller. It’s July 2021, and the Finders Keepers detective agency is on hiatus, with Holly taking time off to mourn her mother, who recently died of Covid. She’s lured back to work by a series of persuasive calls from a woman named Penny Dahl, whose preteen daughter, Bonnie, disappeared three weeks earlier. As Holly begins to poke around the neighborhood where Bonnie was last seen, residents alert her to the disappearance of 11-year-old Peter “Stinky” Steinman, who vanished from the same area three years ago. Additional conversations point Holly in the direction of former college professors Rodney and Emily Harris, whose veneer of elderly innocence is complicated by rumors that they may be connected to a slew of missing persons cases stretching back nearly a decade. At first, Holly investigates the Harrises as a matter of protocol, but it doesn’t take long for her to realize she’s facing down a pair of cunning foes with far darker secrets than she could’ve imagined. The narrative can dawdle, with things starting to feel especially padded in the middle stretch, but readers are likely to forgive the delay by the time the stomach-turning dénouement comes around. This pitch-black thriller ends on a high note. Agent: Liz Darhansoff, Darhansoff & Verrill. (Sept.)

From the Publisher

Holly demonstrates that one of the last true rock stars of fiction can continue to grow as a writer, and doesn’t define success solely as a continuation of what’s worked for him before.” —The Washington Post

“Stephen King does something amazing in his new novel, HOLLY... King’s storytelling skills are not dimming one bit.” —Tampa Bay Times

“Hugely successful... Holly surely deserves further episodes in the spotlight.” — Portland Press Herald

“Holly has a thrilling finish, in which our heroine looks horror in the face. The outcome is most satisfying.” —St Louis Post-Dispatch

“What makes King’s work so much more frightening than that of most other suspense writers, what elevates it to night-terror levels, isn’t his cruelty to his characters: It’s his kindness.” —Flynn Berry, New York Times Book Review

“Both intimate and sprawling in its ambitions... Holly is the imperfect but determined angel among all those demons...” —Brian Truitt, USA Today

“Holly is the heart of the narrative. Her growth from a shy, muttering mess in Mr. Mercedes to the smart, strong, smoking, slightly better, and much richer woman we see in Holly is tremendous. Please, Mr. King, give us more Holly soon.” —Gabino Iglesias, NPR.org

“In half a century of writing horror novels, Stephen King has created some remarkable villains. Who can forget the sing-song voice of Pennywise the clown, the devil incarnate Randall Flagg, or the drooling jaws of Cujo? The big bads in King’s latest novel, Holly, aren’t quite so memorable, but that’s part of what makes them terrifying.” —Rob Merrill, Associated Press

“A deadly folie a deux... Holly pursues this case to the gates of hell, figuratively—there’s no supernatural element in this powerful exploration of grief and delusion, just pure, undistilled evil.” —New York Magazine

Library Journal

08/01/2023

King gives former supporting player Holly Gibney (introduced in Mr. Mercedes) her own full-length novel to solve the case of a missing person. Private investigator Holly is supposed to be on bereavement leave after the death of her mother, but she can't dismiss the persistent Penny Dahl. Penny's daughter Bonnie disappeared while biking home from work a month earlier, and the police didn't have time for more than a cursory investigation into what seemed to be a case of an adult walking away from her own life. Holly investigates, with help from friends. She soon realizes that Bonnie's is not an isolated case; others have gone missing in the last few years. The only similarity among the disappeared people is that they were last seen in the same area. The deeper Holly goes, the more convinced she becomes that something very sinister is going on. VERDICT King's choice to set the novel in the middle of COVID works, both to develop his characters and to keep Holly off base, emotionally and professionally. He eschews the supernatural here but finds all the horror possible in the evil that "normal" people may do. Mystery and horror readers will find much to love.—Jane Jorgenson

SEPTEMBER 2023 -- AudioFile

Justine Lupe brings a beloved Stephen King character, Holly Gibney, vividly to life with her narration. When a distraught mother with a missing daughter calls Holly's investigative agency for help, quirky, brilliant Holly takes the case. She soon finds connections to other missing people and is slowly drawn into a world of pure evil. Lupe conveys the depravity of the perpetrators and the horror of the victims to a disturbing yet compelling degree. Listeners will feel like they are part of a true-crime podcast as Lupe transports them to this relentless nightmare. Lupe breathes life into every character--even if that life is not destined to last. Stephen King delivers his author's note, adding to this amazing listening experience. L.M.G. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2023, Portland, Maine

Kirkus Reviews

2023-07-13
A much-beloved author gives a favorite recurring character her own novel.

Holly Gibney made her first appearance in print with a small role in Mr. Mercedes (2014). She played a larger role in The Outsider (2018). And she was the central character in If It Bleeds, a novella in the 2020 collection of the same name. King has said that the character “stole his heart.” Readers adore her, too. One way to look at this book is as several hundred pages of fan service. King offers a lot of callbacks to these earlier works that are undoubtedly a treat for his most loyal devotees. That these easter eggs are meaningless and even befuddling to new readers might make sense in terms of costs and benefits. King isn’t exactly an author desperate to grow his audience; pleasing the people who keep him at the top of the bestseller lists is probably a smart strategy, and this writer achieved the kind of status that whatever he writes is going to be published. Having said all that, it’s possible that even his hardcore fans might find this story a bit slow. There are also issues in terms of style. Much of the language King uses and the cultural references he drops feel a bit creaky. The word slacks occurs with distracting frequency. King uses the phrase keeping it on the down-low in a way that suggests he probably doesn’t understand how this phrase is currently used—and has been used for quite a while. But the biggest problem is that this narrative is framed as a mystery without delivering the pleasures of a mystery. The reader knows who the bad guys are from the start. This can be an effective storytelling device, but in this case, waiting for the private investigator heroine to get to where the reader is at the beginning of the story feels interminable.

Loyal King stans may disagree, but this is a snooze.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940178099490
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 09/05/2023
Edition description: Unabridged
Sales rank: 200,451
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