Billy is a hired killer. But he only kills those he deems 'really bad men.' He needs to wait around until this latest job is a go and to blend in he's given a rental home in a suburban neighborhood, an office and a cover story as an author. To his surprise, Billy makes friends in the neighborhood, blends into the office strata and he actually begins to write a story. He decides that this is going to be his last job.
At least that's his plan. But nothing goes to plan, nothing.
I'm in awe of King's storytelling. Billy is so likeable despite his profession. The reader cannot help but be on his side. Even more so as we become privy to Billy's past from the book he's writing. I love the book within a book trope. It's a great way to bring the past into the present.
The plotting is intricate, detailed and full of surprises. I'm going to let you discover those surprises on your own. Billy presents what he calls his 'dumb Billy' to those who have hired him now and over the years. But Billy is far from 'dumb.' Getting himself out of this mess is going to take all his cunning, skills and tricks. King keeps the reader on their toes as the plot takes numerous turns that you won't see coming. And as I got closer and closer to the end of the novel, I had stop listening a couple of times. I didn't want the book to end and I was afraid of the ending King had chosen. I knew what I wanted to have happen, but what would I find in the final pages?
I chose to listen to Billy Summers. I've listened to the last few King books in audio format and find his already great storytelling is made even better by listening for me. I become completely immersed in the book. The right reader is key and Paul Sparks was the perfect choice. He has a smooth, slightly gravelly, low, modulated speaking voice that absolutely suits the mental image I had of Billy. It draws you in and makes you listen carefully. Sparks speaks clearly, at a good speed, enunciates well and his voice is easy on the ears. He provides distinctive and believable voices for the supporting characters, ranging from gangsters to a young girl and many others. I was able to immediately know who was speaking and the conversations were realistic. Sparks uses his voice to bring the twists, danger, tension and action to life and drops the listener right into the story. A great performance! And an amazing book! Hear for yourself - listen to an excerpt of Billy Summers.
(Faithful King readers will enjoy finding the Overlook Hotel mention.)