Review: Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

MrmercedesWow, it’s been a while. A lot longer than I anticipated, actually. In short, a few things have happened since we last talked—rather, I talked at you guys, and you guys skimmed through to the important stuff. For one, my laptop is fixed and ready to go so I no longer have to rely on my family members for some computer time. The other thing is, it’s summer… and I have slept too much of it away. I know I NEED to be productive, so each night I set my alarm for 7:30. That should give me plenty of time to eat breakfast, work out, read my Bible and what not, and be ready to sit down and write by 9:00. The problem is that I’m a teenager, and I have the sleep habits of one. It’s rather difficult for me to say no to an extra 2-3 hours of sleep when I technically don’t have to be doing anything. I haven’t gotten up earlier than 9:30 at all this summer, and I usually sleep till 11. But THAT’S why I haven’t posted as much as I said I would. I know, my priorities are mixed up.

Anyhow, a while back I picked up Stephen King’s newest book, Mr. Mercedes. Those of you that have been with me from the beginning know that I had the ludicrous goal of trying to review 52 books in 52 weeks—that idea has since gone by the wayside. I’m gonna post whatever I want, although I will review anything I read. This book is still new& relevant, so I figured I’d read it and tell you guys if it’s worth your dough.

I had been excited for this book ever since I heard the premise a few months ago. I usually never buy a book when it first comes out, but I knew I had to have this one. I’d like to tell you it met all my expectations, but it did not. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, either.  What followed was a 3 day what-the-hell-is-going-to-happen-next page turning adventure. (Did I really just call reading a book an adventure?)

For those of you unfamiliar, Mr. Mercedes is a detective novel—sort of. It begins with a crime (shocker), but quickly turns into an interesting take on the entire genre. Retired city cop Kermit “Bill” Hodges was a damn good police officer. He left the force with only 4 cases unsolved, one of those being the Mercedes Killer, a guy who drove a Mercedes into a crowd of people at a job fair and killed 8. Life after the force is not easy for the Ret. Det. (as he is referred to in the novel) and he is contemplating blowing his brains out. His life is too boring and he has no reason to live—until he receives a letter in the mail. Said letter is from a person claiming to be the Mercedes killer, and the jist of it says “It was awesome, you didn’t catch me, and you can’t ever catch me because I’m not going to do it again.”  Naturally, this gives the detective a reason to live and the novel goes on. I’m not going to say anything else for risk of spoiling.

I said earlier this is “sort of” a detective novel. That’s because you know the identity of the killer within the first 50 pages. Turn off? Not even a little. This was actually my favorite thing about the novel. It’s like watching a game of chess where you can see the best move each player can make, but you have to wait and see how they play it. It’s enthralling.

It’s rare for me to read and love a book where plot is not the strong point. Mr. Mercedes is one of those rare exceptions, and it’s all because of the characters. Each person you meet is unique and interesting. You’ll find things to love and hate about everyone. Lemme tell ya, I typically don’t get overly attached to fictional people, but something happens to one of the characters in the book that almost made me throw it across the room in anger. These guys are that real. Nobody does it better than King.

As with all detective stories, the plot is somewhat predictable. You can see things coming if you’re observant. I had a relatively good idea of what was going to happen in the end when I was about 70% done with the whole thing. I wasn’t too far off, and there were still a couple surprises, but nothing like you’ll see in the end of a Game of Thrones book.

Slightly predictable plot aside, Mr. Mercedes still thrilled me. I read the thing in three sittings. One on the day I got it, and sittings two and three have caused me to lose valuable writing time these last two days because I got sucked in. It’s a page turner. Seriously, once you start reading, don’t plan on doing anything for a while because you’ll end up neglecting whatever it is.

Good characters? Check.

Plot? Original as unoriginal can get, and still keeps the pages turning.

Writing? It’s Stephen King. You love him or ya hate him.

Here’s the thought I’m gonna leave you with. Don’t get Mr. Mercedes if you’ve read every mystery/detective story under the moon. You’ve probably heard the damn thing a thousand times. Get it if you don’t typically read mysteries and want something new. If you’re a Stephen King fan and you don’t already have the book, you’ll wanna pick it up. It’s the same quality of work he’s been putting out for the last 40 years. While it isn’t a horror book, it’ll still keep your heart racing. It sure did mine.

P.S. The story I’ve been writing… it has not been abandoned! I WILL post part six sometime within a week! Not having my laptop really made life hell, because I forgot to back up the files before we sent it away. It’s in my possession now and I’m taking care of it. Thanks for your patience. Until next time.

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