By: Stephen King
Six years have passed since Brady Hartsfield earned the name “The Mercedes Killer.” Five years have passed since Bill Hodges’ partner, Holly Gibney, bashed Brady’s head in to prevent him from blowing up an auditorium full of children.
Now in a semi-catatonic state due to severe brain damage, Brady is no more than a human shell barely able to move or speak. He will never make a full recovery. He will never hurt anyone again.
However, when Hodges receives a call from his old partner, Pete Huntley, he knows something is wrong. A double-suicide has left the lingering scent of The Mercedes Killer, but Hodges doesn’t understand how Hartsfield could be connected.
The only updates Hodges ever receives about Brady are rumors. The nurses often whisper that the young murderer has started manifesting telekinetic powers, but Hodges has never witnessed them. The retired detective doesn’t know if he believes that Brady can move objects with his mind, but he is certain that the evil that resided in Hartsfield is still there. Waiting.
That’s how I would describe this book. Without a doubt, End of Watch is the best book of the Bill Hodges Trilogy. I spent one day reading the last 300 of 429 pages because I both wanted to finish the series and know how it all ended. Frankly, it broke my heart more than I expected it to.
If you read my review of Mr. Mercedes then you know I didn’t start off being much of a Bill Hodges fan. By the time I finished Finders Keepers, I thought he was an okay guy. By the time I finished End of Watch, I actually believed he was a good man, and I was sad there wasn’t more.
King did a tasteful job bringing Brady back in the third book as Hodges’ mortal enemy. If anything Brady was a better villain trapped in the confines of his hospital room (217 for those The Shining fans) than he was when he could walk. He became more obsessed, more conniving, more disturbed with each passing day. He became like a caged animal. I hated him. That fact made me surprisingly happy because, while he was an evil character in Mr. Mercedes, he was the devil incarnate in End of Watch. Brady reached the point of being a true villain rather than some teenager with a death wish and mommy issues.
I would also like to mention that I may possess some bias when it comes to my adoration for this book since I finally got what I wanted from a Bill Hodges story…paranormal shit. King’s best works (at least to me) are those that focus on horror or paranormal themes rather than trying to be a standard crime/thriller story. End of Watch contained more of the essence and spirit of King than the previous two books, and I think he realized that since he continued such themes in The Outsider. I’m glad he finally got where he was meant to go with this series. I was getting worried.
The book is definitely worth a read, but, unfortunately, I wouldn’t recommend picking it up before reading at least the first book. You need the story of Mr. Mercedesto set the tone.
Now to take a momentary hiatus from King. He got me for three straight books, so Him and I are on a break.
Overall rating: 4.5