Book concerns an assassin who only kills bad guys.

By clark collis
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Stephen King fans discovered this week that the writer's new novel is called Billy Summers and will be published by Scribner on Aug. 3. And we have a killer gift for devoted readers who would like a taste of King's new tale ahead of time in the form of an excerpt.

Billy Summers concerns a killer for hire and the best in the business. But he'll do the job only if the target is a truly bad guy. And now Billy wants out. But first, there is one last hit. Billy is among the best snipers in the world, a decorated Iraq war vet, a Houdini when it comes to vanishing after the job is done. So what could possibly go wrong?

How about everything.

Per the book's publisher Scriber, Billy Summers is "part war story, part love letter to small town America and the people who live there, and it features one of the most compelling and surprising duos in King fiction, who set out to avenge the crimes of an extraordinarily evil man. It's about love, luck, fate, and a complex hero with one last shot at redemption."

Exclusively check out the cover for Billy Summers and read the excerpt below.

Billy Summers by Stephen King
Credit: Scribner

"Two million. Five hundred thousand up front, the rest after." 

Billy's whistle isn't part of the act, which he doesn't think of as an act but his dumb self, the one he shows to guys like Nick and Frank and Paulie. It's like a seatbelt. You don't use it because you expect to be in a crash, but you never know who you might meet coming over a hill on your side of the road. This is also true on the road of life, where people veer all over the place and drive the wrong way on the turnpike. 

"Why so much?" The most he's ever gotten on a contract was seventy K. "It's not a politician, is it? Because I don't do that." 

"Not even close." 

"Is it a bad person?" 

Nick laughs, shakes his head, and looks at Billy with real affection. "Always the same question with you." 

Billy nods. 

The dumb self might be a shuck, but this is true: he only does bad people. It's how he sleeps at night. It goes without saying that he has made a living working for bad people, yes, but Billy doesn't see this as a moral conundrum. He has no problem with bad people paying to have other bad people killed. He basically sees himself as a garbageman with a gun. 

"This is a very bad person."

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