Series: Bill Hodges Trilogy #1
Published by Simon and Schuster on June 3, 2014
Genres: Mystery & Detective, Thriller
Source: Obtained at BEA 2014, Owned Audible Book
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.
I love audio books. In the author’s notes on the audio version of Joe Hill’s NOS4A2, he talks about how the first stories we learn are read to us. I listen to audio books when I’m in the car, shopping, and playing Candy Crush.
In typical book blogger fashion, I already have a tbr shelf just for audio books. Reviewing them is a bit more difficult, because I don’t take notes and I don’t always know how to spell the characters names. So these reviews will be a little different from my book reviews.
Stephen King creates great monsters. But what he really excels at our his everyday human characters. Mr. Mercedes is one of those King books you can recommend to your friends who insist they don’t read Stephen King because they don’t like “horror, because Mr. Mercedes is a straight up thriller.
Take one crazy killer, who after committing the perfect crime, can’t help but toy with the recently retired cop whose only failure was to catch him. Then add in some fantastic supporting characters: smart kid Jerome, grieving and beautiful Janey, and Holly, who’s a little off in her own world. Mix in a little poison, an annoying boy band, a lot of detecting and a smidgeon or two of explosives and you have an almost perfect thriller.
Almost perfect, because there were a few bumps. But run any Mercedes into a crowd of desperate job seekers and you’re bound to encounter a few bumps (yes, bad pun intended). Like the one character whose fate I saw coming the moment he/she was introduced (King has killed off similar characters, so I knew he/she was on the chopping block). I’ve read that some people found the killer unoriginal, but for me that’s what made him monstrous- how common his type of killer is in real life. They can’t all be Randall Flaggs.
One of my favorite parts of the book was how the detective and the killer communicated- on a private website called Under Debbie’s Blue Umbrella.
I’m guessing that are places like Under Debbie’s Blue Umbrella out there on the internet. King’s site is made up, but still accessible if you use the password and log in info from the book. Which is a great touch, I love when books have Easter eggs!
I love a good thriller, and I really got involved in this book. What made the killer stand out, at least for me, was how freaking mundane he appeared in the real world. Someone you might have smiled at, or help a door open for, someone you would have tipped for a job well done, never realizing how close you were to a true monster. That to me is more terrifying than a rabid dog, a vampire horde, or even a pet cemetery resident. Pennywise is still scarier, but only just so. The horrors the human heart can inflict on our world, the capacity to destroy those around us, that’s true evil.
Will Patton is our narrator this time around. He did Dr. Sleep, which I enjoyed a lot, but I thought his voice fit Mr. Mercedes better. Maybe because he sounds exactly how I would imagine a world weary retired detective to sound (I thought his voice was too old for grown up Danny Torrance). So far, it seems like Will Patton and Stephen King are a good mix- I was a bit surprised that he wasn’t recruited to take on King’s new book Revival, but I look forward to listening to the gravelly tones of Patton in the future!
*I received a free hardback copy of this book on the last day of BEA, but ended up buying the audiobook on Audible because I was in the mood for a thriller listen.