Saturday, 26 May 2018

Book Review: Mr Mercedes by Stephen King

Retired cop Bill Hodges is haunted by an unsolved crime where innocent people were waiting for entry into a job fair when a lone driver plows through the crowd in a Mercedes, injuring and killing many. When he receives a letter from the perp threatening another evil act, Hodges becomes hellbent on preventing such horror happening again.

"Everybody likes the ice cream man."

I could read true crime until it made my eyeballs bleed, but there's just something about crime fiction or detective stories that don't really appeal to me. So to know that King's Bill Hodges trilogy is kind of a cat-and-mouse detective story didn't fill me with much excitement. But let's cut to the chase - overall, I really enjoyed Mr Mercedes, but it is nowhere near being King's best.

It's a page-turner and you constantly want to know what happens next, which propels you through the story. From the get-go we do know who the killer is, and that removes some of "mystery", but I liked getting into our villain's head - even though I fucking hate him with the passion of a thousand burning suns. I hated him until we got the backstory behind his younger brother, and then I REALLY fucking hated him, that part left me in tears.

As for the other characters, Bill Hodges is one of my new faves. I don't know what it is about him exactly, but I just find him so lovable. I loved how he treats Jerome and Holly, and those around him. He's just very likeable and believable. I know Holly is a huge fan favourite for most people, and although I like her I do find her a bit irritating at times... I'M SORRY. Jerome is cool though.

It's a strange read though. Some aspects feel very King, but others just don't feel like King at all. I'll start with those aspects that didn't feel very King-like: the lack of horror or a supernatural element (yes, it was quite unsettling at times and the methods used by our villain are terrifying but it's not PROPER horror), the storyline itself just felt un-King, the location...we're not in Maine or anywhere near it, it just didn't FEEL like a King location. However, King's fingerprints are all over it in terms of the development of his characters, the writing, and his dialogue. 

To me, Mr Mercedes felt like a well-written but kinda generic crime fiction book. It's a fun ride, but there's nothing overly substantial in there. However, this is part of a trilogy so I'm excited to see if this changes. That ending though *rolls eyes* It felt like I was watching a soap opera on a Friday afternoon and they had to make sure you tuned in on Monday. A tad cheesy and predictable. But it DID work in a way as I couldn't wait to pick up Finder's Keepers!

You can see how my thoughts are all over the place with this one. In terms of sheer enjoyment, I would give it 4 stars out of 5, but I do have a few issues.


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