Book Summary for "The Colorado Kid" by Stephen King

by Bree Underwood

The master of horror, Stephen King, delves into the crime mystery genre with 2005's "The Colorado Kid." The book revolves around the 1980 murder of an unidentified man on an island off the coast of Maine. The story of the unsolved case unfolds as two veteran reporters for the local newspaper narrate the details of what happened 25 years earlier.


"The Colorado Kid" opens with the three main characters out to lunch from the local newspaper, "The Weekly Islander." The investigative chops of rookie reporter Stephanie McCann are tested by her companions, the two veteran reporters, Vince Teague and Dave Bowie. The light-hearted challenge turns into a discussion on what unexplained mysteries the two vet reporters have come across in their careers, and so the two men tell the story of the strange death of a mystery man. In April of 1980 the body of a man is found slumped against a garbage can on the beach by two teenagers. He has no identification and isn't known by the locals. Every clue only leads to more unexplained mysteries about the man. After more than a year his identity is revealed because of the work of a graduate student in forensics, Paul Devane. Devane noticed a stamp on the bottom of a pack of cigarettes the man was carrying. With this little detail they were able to trace him back to Nederland, Colorado, and he was thus named "The Colorado Kid." His actual name, James Cogan, is later determined, but how he got from where he was last seen in Colorado to Maine in five hours remains a mystery. The two veteran reporters and the rookie then speculate on possible solutions to the case.

Main Characters

Dave Bowie is the 65-year-old managing editor of Moose-Lookit Island's newspaper, "The Weekly Islander." Vince Teague is the 90-year-old founder of the paper. The two male reporters have retained a fascination with the unsolved case since it happened 25 years ago. The rookie reporter, Stephanie McCann, is a 22-year-old University of Ohio graduate completing a summer internship at the paper. James Cogan, "The Colorado Kid," was a 42-year-old man who left his home in Colorado, went out for coffee on April 23 and was found dead five hours later in Maine.


The story of the three reporters takes place entirely on Moose-Lookit Island, with locations at "The Weekly Islander" office and at the Gray Gull restaurant. The stories told by Vince and Dave take place in Maine and Colorado.

Interesting Facts

The book was released in paperback in limited edition in 2005 and is no longer for sale in any form other than e-book and audio book formats (although there are still paperback versions that can be found in used bookstores). "The Colorado Kid" also inspired a TV show for the SyFy channel that aired in July 2010; the show, loosely based on the book, is called "Haven."