Retired Detective Bill Hodges is toying with the idea of ending it all. Alone in his home, he spends the majority of his golden years in front of a TV, stuffing his face with processed food and keeping a watchful eye on his father’s gun; his passport to the afterlife. Everything changes when he receives a letter from the Mercedes Killer, a madman who plowed into a crowd of people using a Mercedes SL500 – hence the flashy name. Hodges retired before he could find the bastard responsible and rather than bring the new evidence to his former colleagues, he decides to track the perp (or perk) down himself.
I received a free copy from Simon & Schuster in exchange for a fair review.
It’s no secret that my absolute favorite genre is crime fiction. It’s also probably not a secret that Stephen King is one of my favorite writers. Combine the two and you should have a recipe for a surefire great tasting literary meal. Even though Mr. Mercedes is not made up of the best ingredients, it’s still pretty tasty.
It seems that the novel’s hero Det-Ret Bill Hodges is getting the brunt of the criticism, and with good reason. The man is reckless; he’s not showing any signs of a man who was largely a by-the-book detective in his days behind the shield. His plan to wind up and basically poke a homicidal maniac is pretty thin and he’s lucky the killer doesn’t self-destruct immediately. Even when Hodges’ back is against the wall and he knows he should turn the investigation over to the proper authorities, he keeps on keepin’ on.
Fortunately for us, The Mercedes Killer himself is the real star of the show here. King has crafted a real sick puppy with his newest villain. There’s no rhyme or reason why he went bowling for bodies and when his thoughts drift to what he could potentially do for an encore, the fact that the few devious plans that come to mind appear through mere flights of fancy make it all the more chilling – and don’t get me started on his beyond unsettling relationship he has with his dear mother.
Mr. Mercedes isn’t the tightest of thrillers but I’d be lying if I said I had an easy time putting it down. I’m not sure how I feel about it being the foundation of a planned trilogy but I’m sure I’ll check out to see what book two has to offer. Now, to patiently wait for Revival.