Mr Mercedes by Stephen King
|Mr Mercedes by Stephen King|
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng|
|Summary: Disappointing on many levels, I did like the protagonist, and wouldn’t mind reading about him again, perhaps in a better sequel.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 432||Date: April 2015|
|Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks|
|External links: Author's website|
Bill Hodges is a retired cop, spiralling down into a seemingly inescapable depression. Stuck at home each day watching dreadful American daytime TV, toying with the idea of shooting himself, it is only with the sudden arrival of a letter claiming to be from someone who committed an unsolved multiple murder, one of Hodges’ old cases, that he finds a new interest in staying alive. Is this actually the murderer? Why is he crawling out of the woodwork now? And can Hodges stop him from killing again?
Starting with the good things, I really liked the lead character of Hodges. He’s nicely drawn, and his storyline played out well through the book. The only time I felt he acted out of character was towards the end when he continues to act without police knowledge in a situation that just seems increasingly unlikely. Otherwise his character remains true as you read, and I felt at the end that I wouldn’t mind trying another story about him. Towards the end of the book, Hodges finds himself in a little crime fighting gang as he works together with his young gardener and a damaged woman who is linked to the crime. I felt things started to fall apart a little at this stage as although some of the interplay between the characters was good, the whole situation began to feel increasingly unrealistic, especially since Hodges was such a respected and decorated cop.
Although this is a crime thriller rather than horror, there are still some aspects to the story that might leave you feeling queasy. I felt disappointed by the crime aspects and it didn’t seem terribly thrilling. I’d expected more tricks and turns, and although there are a few surprise moments I mostly saw things coming before they happened. I have been left feeling slightly nervous of men in ice cream trucks, but I never felt like I was biting my nails over what would happen next. This surprised me as many years ago I read Stephen King’s novel, Salem’s Lot and I was so terrified that I couldn’t close my bedroom curtains in the dark for weeks, in case a vampire appeared at the window whilst I tried to shut them! I wasn’t sure if this was down to no longer being an impressionable teenager any more, or if the book just wasn’t that thrilling.
I really wanted to like this more. It seemed like it had so much going for it - a new crime thriller, by the wonderful edge-of-your-seat writer Stephen King with a likeable retired cop and a crazy criminal about to strike again...you know how it goes, a real race against time affair! The beginning is wonderful, with beautifully depicted characters and that eerie sense of something bad about to happen, yet the book as a whole felt much too long, and not as clever as I’d expected it to be. The criminal was no fiendish mastermind, and I think knowing his plans as he worked removed some of the suspense that might otherwise have been there. For crime fiction this is really quite run of the mill. It’s certainly readable, and I liked many of the characters, but it It was generally good and not great. I sadly had no trouble putting it down between chapters, whereas other thrillers have seen me burn the dinner of an evening because I just have to read a little bit more...worth a look from the library, but I’d save your pennies for some better quality Stephen King.
For something a little more thrilling, try Before He Finds Her by Michael Kardos
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