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Series: Bill Hodges Trilogy
Book 1: Mr. Mercedes
Book 2: Finders Keepers
Book 3: End of Watch
Author: Stephen King
Genre: Mystery Thriller
My Rating: 4/5
In a mega-stakes, high-suspense race against time, three of the most unlikely and winning heroes Stephen King has ever created try to stop a lone killer from blowing up thousands.
In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes.
In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the “perk” and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy.
Brady Hartfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born. He loved the feel of death under the wheels of the Mercedes, and he wants that rush again. Only Bill Hodges, with a couple of highly unlikely allies, can apprehend the killer before he strikes again. And they have no time to lose, because Brady’s next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim thousands.
Mr. Mercedes is a war between good and evil, from the master of suspense whose insight into the mind of this obsessed, insane killer is chilling and unforgettable.
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A driver plowed into a crowd, killing and injuring many innocent people. The killer drove a stolen Mercedes, and was never caught. Bill Hodges is a retired police officer who worked the Mercedes case. The case has haunted him, and his interest in the case is reignited after he receives a letter from someone claiming to be the Mercedes driver. Hodges starts investigating the case on his own, hoping to prevent another tragedy from happening.
Mr. Mercedes is told from multiple points of view – Hodges and the killer’s. Bill Hodges is an interesting character. He’s depressed and lonely, but also has a desire to help and the determination to solve his old case. The killer is a very disturbed character that is smart and diabolical.
“Wake up, genius.” So begins King’s instantly riveting story about a vengeful reader. The genius is John Rothstein, an iconic author who created a famous character, Jimmy Gold, but who hasn’t published a book for decades. Morris Bellamy is livid, not just because Rothstein has stopped providing books but because the nonconformist Jimmy Gold has sold out for a career in advertising. Morris kills Rothstein and empties his safe of cash, yes, but the real treasure is a trove of notebooks containing at least one more Gold novel.
Morris hides the money and the notebooks, and then he is locked away for another crime. Decades later a boy named Pete Saubers finds the treasure, and now it is Pete and his family that Bill Hodges, Holly Gibney, and Jerome Robinson must rescue from the ever-more deranged and vengeful Morris when he’s released from prison after 35 years.
Not since Misery has King played with the notion of a reader whose obsession with a writer gets dangerous. Finders Keepers is spectacular, heart-pounding suspense, but it is also King writing about how literature shapes a life – for good, for bad, forever.
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A boy finds some money and wants to give it to his parents to help his family. The boy’s father was injured when the Mercedes driver from, Mr. Mercedes, hit him. The family has struggled financially, especially after his father’s injury, so the money seems like a wonderful find. Unfortunately, the money was stolen from a writer, along with a series of notebooks containing the author’s last works. The thief buried his treasure, but wound up in prison on unrelated charges. Retired detective Bill Hodges enters the story late, with his helpers Jerome and and Holly.
I read Mr. Mercedes first, but Finders Keepers could be read without having read Book 1. At first, I wasn’t sure how Hodges would come into this story, but it all comes together in the end. This one was as good as, or better, than Mr. Mercedes. Disturbing, intriguing, and exciting.
End of Watch
In End of Watch, the diabolical “Mercedes Killer” drives his enemies to suicide, and if Bill Hodges and Holly Gibney don’t figure out a way to stop him, they’ll be victims themselves.
In Room 217 of the Lakes Region Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic, something has awakened. Something evil. Brady Hartsfield, perpetrator of the Mercedes Massacre, where eight people were killed and many more were badly injured, has been in the clinic for five years, in a vegetative state. According to his doctors, anything approaching a complete recovery is unlikely. But behind the drool and stare, Brady is awake and in possession of deadly new powers that allow him to wreak unimaginable havoc without ever leaving his hospital room.
Retired police detective Bill Hodges, the unlikely hero of Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers, now runs an investigation agency with his partner, Holly Gibney – the woman who delivered the blow to Hartsfield’s head that put him in the brain injury ward. When Bill and Holly are called to a suicide scene with ties to the Mercedes Massacre, they find themselves pulled into their most dangerous case yet, one that will put their lives at risk as well as those of Bill’s heroic young friend, Jerome Robinson, and his teenage sister, Barbara. Brady Hartsfield is back and planning revenge not just on Hodges and his friends but on an entire city.
In End of Watch, Stephen King brings the Hodges trilogy to a sublimely terrifying conclusion, combining the detective fiction of Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers with the heart-pounding supernatural suspense that has been his best-selling trademark. The result is an unnerving look at human vulnerability and chilling suspense. No one does it better than King.
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Something has awakened in Brady Hartsfield, the Mercedes killer. He has been in a vegetative state for five years, but he’s slowly recovering,. Along with his recovery, he has developed a special ability. Meanwhile, Bill Hodges and Holly Gibney are staying busy with their investigation agency, and their latest case involves victims of the Mercedes killer. They believe Brady is somehow involved with the new string of deaths, and Hodges is determined to catch him.
I do recommend reading books 1 and 2 (Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers) in the series first. End of Watch develops a more supernatural element than the previous books in the series. Personally, I preferred the previous two books, but this was still a good ending to the series. I guess this one seemed more like a Stephen King novel, whereas the other books were basically crime thrillers. Overall, I enjoyed this series. Dark and exciting.