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Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King (2014)

Mr Mercedes

Page count: 437 [includes one page author’s note]

Format: Hardcover

Publisher: Scribner

 

When Detective Kermit “Bill” Hodges retires, he leaves with several cases unsolved. Though none haunt him more than the Mercedes Killer. A killer who used a stolen Mercedes to plow through a crowd to murder eight people and injure countless others. The case is revived when Hodges receives a taunting letter from the killer. The letter reignites Hodges’s desire to catch the killer and he brings himself unofficially out of retirement to investigate. After all, the killer may have written to say they will never kill again, but the killer doth protest too much.

Mr. Mercedes is a fantastic and enjoyable crime/detective novel.

The plot is detailed and engaging. King takes the reader’s hand and delves with them into the disturbing mind of a murderous sociopath and the bored, often suicidal, mind of a retired detective.

The protagonist and antagonist are both brilliantly developed. Mr. Mercedes isn’t a two character novel though and King has etched his secondary characters with a depth that is not easily achieved. Characters who have one or two scenes still feel as crucial to the entirety of the story as the main protagonist and antagonist. There is no fat to be cut from the supporting cast, which is a flaw that so often drags a story down by creating the need for more backstories and less organic story.

In many novels that extend over a few hundred pages, there are parts where the reader finds themselves bored or questioning why a certain scene or chapter is necessary. This is not the case with Mr. Mercedes. Despite being 437 pages long, I never felt bored or that a scene was redundant. Every passage either built to the final crescendo, or glimpsed into the mind or life of a pivotal character.

King is such a versatile writer that he leaps from genre-to-genre gracefully and with seemingly little effort. I would highly recommend Mr. Mercedes for fans of King’s past work; readers who enjoy well written crime novels; or readers who may not have experienced much of King’s work due to an aversion to horror.

Rating: 5/5

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