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Stephen King reveals new, hardboiled genre detective novel 'Later' coming in 2021

By Josh Weiss
Stephen King

After the releases of The Institute and If It Bleeds, you'd think that Stephen King would take a little break from writing, but nope! The literary icon announced yet another novel this morning via Entertainment Weekly. Titled Later, the book (on sale March 2021) is a crime story with a genre slant that employs one of King's favorite standbys: a little kid with supernatural abilities.

The youngster in question is Jamie Conklin, a boy whose powers can aid his single mother and her police detective lover, but only at a terrible cost. Later will be published by Hard Case Crime, the pulp-inspired imprint of Titan Books. King previously published two other titles under the banner: The Colorado Kid (2005) and Joyland (2013).

"I love the Hard Case format, and this story — combining a boy who sees beyond our world and strong elements of crime and suspense — seemed a perfect fit," said King in a statement to EW.

"Later is a beautiful story about growing up and facing your demons — whether they’re metaphorical or (as sometimes happens when you’re in a Stephen King novel) the real thing," added Charles Ardai, the editor of Hard Case Crime. “It’s terrifying, tender, heartbreaking and honest, and we’re so excited to bring it to readers."

While no specific release date has been confirmed, we do know that the book is going to be initially sold as a paperback with original front cover artwork drawn by Paul Mann (seen in the tweet above). That will be followed by a limited hardcover edition with two illustrations (one for the cover and one for a fictional novel within the novel) by Gregory Manchess. For those of you with Kindles and such, Later is also arriving as an ebook.

Now, let's start taking bets on how long it will take Hollywood to scoop up the screen rights to this one. Who knows? If it turns out anything like The Colorado Kid, it could inspire a long-running SYFY show à la Haven.