Mr. Mercedes

By: Stephen King

Bill Hodges has been flirting with suicide ever since he retired from the police force. His father’s gun is a constant companion during the depressing days of sitting in a recliner watching reality TV. Nothing makes him feel truly alive until he receives a taunting letter from the Mercedes Killer, a mass murderer Bill was not able to catch.

Emboldened to apprehend the man responsible for the deaths and dismemberment of dozens of souls including an infant, Bill sets to work to find the identity of the perp. However, meddling in an investigation while retired is outside the bounds of the law, and he would go to jail if discovered.

More importantly, what Bill doesn’t know is that his personal vendetta is about to endanger the lives he was sworn to protect including thousands of children.

I bought the entire box set of the Bill Hodges Trilogy because of how much I loved The Outsider.

As you already know, The Outsider was the first Stephen King book I ever read. I found the characters are well written and the story is thrilling, terrifying, and fun. My favorite character was Holly Gibney who was always talking about Bill Hodges, a character, naturally, I had never heard of. I didn’t get the references until I started reading the Wiki page on how The Outsidertied into the Stephen King universe (since all of the books are related). The internet, which is sometimes great, told me that Bill Hodges had his own series of books. I was floored! How could I not read them when I would get three more books with Holly and finally get to meet this Bill character she spoke so highly about?

…It didn’t go how I expected. In the beginning, and frankly through most of the book, I disliked Hodges. A lot. He was arrogant, careless, selfish, and lacked a basic understanding of his actions and the danger he was putting other people in by taunting a known mass murderer. How he was supposed to be a cop with forty years of training is beyond me.

At least he understood how stupid he was by the end. That gave him some redemption…but not much. People still got hurt because of his pride and the way he treated catching a murderer like a game.

Brady Hartsfield was an okay antagonist. The main theme King focused on with him was his grossly sexual relationship with his mother and obvious Oedipal complex. There were times I truly despised Brady and other times it seemed like I was supposed to feel bad for him.

He was psychotic, perverse, and cruel.

He was mildly memorable.

I’ve read truly unforgettable antagonists by King. Read The Green Mile and you will see what I mean.  Brady was barely a “meh” on my radar and was rather disappointing.

I think the main aspect missing in this novel was the supernatural plot King is so well versed in writing. Mr. Mercedes was too real and too possible for my taste. I enjoy science fiction, paranormal horror, and crazy things happening that are outside the realm of possibility mixed in with a splash of life. Just enough reality to make a story terrifying but not enough for a true crime drama. This story had no paranormal plot whatsoever, which made it mildly boring…or uncomfortable. I’m honestly not sure which feeling was more prominent. Let’s go with boredom.

I had to take breaks while reading it, which is why it took me so long to post a new review (sorry about that). However, I committed to reading the entire trilogy when I began this adventure with Hodges and now I must finish it.

I’m hoping that maybe the next book will be better since we won’t have as much character set-up. I’ll let you know what I think. You know I will.

Overall rating: 3

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