Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Mr. Mercedes is Stephen King's first main forray into the world of a standard detective novel. As a master storyteller, King is more than capable of diving into this genre head first. Where he differs from many is in his inclusion of the killer's thoughts and feelings. Most murder mystery novels tend to focus solely on the perspective of the people attempting to solve the crime. King ensures that we understand the motivations of the killer from the onset.
The plot starts with the murders that Mr. Mercedes commits. It then jumps to the life of the retired detective Bill Hodges who is leading a newly mundane life. He has found a life of frozen dinners and daytime TV. The Mercedes murders are one of the few unsolved cases from his tenure as a detective. One day, the killer reached out to Hodges in an attempt to manipulate him into killing himself. The taunting has the opposite effect and it spurs Hodges into motion.
I was not surprised at how much I enjoyed King's foray into the world of the standard murder mystery genre. It's Stephen King. He's good at what he does, whatever it is. My only real complaint is so completely minor that it's not even a thing. Hodges repeatedly talks about when he was "on the cops". Unless that's a specific colloquialism to New England, I kept correcting it to "on the force" in my head. Who says "when I was on the cops"?
This was a classic cat and mouse novel with an excellent ending. Because it's King, I was left unsure of the final outcome until the very end, which I greatly enjoy. If you decided not to read this one because it didn't contain typical King weirdness, I would encourage you to do so anyway. It pays off when you get to book three in the Hodges trilogy.
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