In a mega-stakes, high-suspense race against time, three of the most unlikely and winning heroes Stephen King has ever created try to stop a lone killer from blowing up thousands.
In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes.
In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the “perk” and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy.
Brady Hartsfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born. He loved the feel of death under the wheels of the Mercedes, and he wants that rush again. Only Bill Hodges, with a couple of highly unlikely allies, can apprehend the killer before he strikes again. And they have no time to lose, because Brady’s next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim thousands.
Mr. Mercedes is a war between good and evil, from the master of suspense whose insight into the mind of this obsessed, insane killer is chilling and unforgettable.
Published June 3rd 2014 by Simon & Schuster Audio (first published January 1st 2014)
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Four stars: A chilling tale that will haunt you as it features a real life monster!
Bill Hodges stares at the mindless television program as he fingers his father's service revolver. For the last few months, Bill has spent endless hours watching tv and contemplating suicide since his retirement from the police force. Being a retired detective is not all it's cracked up to be, and for Bill he is literally losing his mind. The mail whooshing through the slot jolts Bill back to reality. Amongst the bills, junk mail and catalogues is a letter. A mocking letter from the "perk" who claims to be the Mercedes Killer. The one case that still haunts Bill these months later. With this chilling letter, Bill soon finds himself plunged back into his old case, but the stakes are higher because the killer is after Bill. Will Bill finally catch the Mercedes Killer?
What I Liked:
- I have long been an avid King fan, and though this wasn't one of my favorite King novels to date, it still delivered a fantastic, chilling and creepy story, and what makes this one even more terrifying is that there isn't a trace of paranormal in this one. Instead of killer clowns and ghosts and demons, we are treated to a real life psychotic killer. King brings forth Brady Hartsfield, a young man in his late twenties, who for all practical purposes appears to be a normal, quiet and unassuming guy, but think again. In reality, he is a cold blooded killer, bent on murdering innocents. Take a walk in the mind of a lunatic, with this one. I assure you, when you are done, you will be eyeing the ice cream man twice.
- The story telling as always with King is masterful. King knows how to write one heck of a tale, he draws you in from the get go and doesn't let go until the end. He writes such strong character driven stories that capture your full attention. Heck, he had me completely invested when I met Augie, in the first chapter, only to find that this character was just a minor character. I absolutely am in awe of King's story telling ability and the masterful way he constructs his characters. The characters in this book are no exception from the intelligent, overweight and kind, retired detective, Bill Hodges, to his precocious, humorous and likable seventeen year old, African American sidekick, Jerome. Holly was the character that surprised me and ended up being my unexpected favorite with all of her weird quirks and strong intuition. Finally, Brady Hartsfield is a character who scared the pants off me because I know there are people in real life who think and act just like him. He is a true monster, not the stuff of stories and movies, but a real life crazed killer who could be living next door, or driving your friendly neighborhood ice cream truck. If you love strong character driven books, I urge you to pick up something by Stephen King.
- The story is full of suspense, sinister foreshadowing and shocking revelations. Even though this is a bit of a departure from King's normal paranormal/ creepy fare, it is still plenty scary and thrilling. This is a detective thriller book that will keep you on the edge of your seat as Bill races to capture a madman before he strikes again. It is the type of read that will keep you glued to the pages.
- Being a long time fan and "Constant Reader" I love that King always includes small references to some of his other works, in this one there is a brief snippet to Pennywise for all you IT fans out there.
- Even though this is the first in the series, it reaches a solid conclusion. No lingering questions or cliffhanger endings. You get a nice, neat satisfying finale, with one startling line at the end that left me wondering.
- The audiobook narrated by Will Patton is outstanding. Patton made me into a fan after I listened to his brilliant narration of King's Doctor Sleep. Without a doubt, Patton is one of my favorite narrators. He does an amazing job with all the characters, and I loved his renditions of Bill and Brady. I highly recommend listening to this one as well as Doctor Sleep.
And The Not So Much:
- I am a life long King reader so I am accustomed to his writing. This book definitely has some darker scenes and some disturbing material such as sexual abuse and, of course, murder. It isn't for the faint of heart. However, if you have yet to read a King book, this might be a good one to try as it is a detective thriller type book with nothing paranormal. Just be prepared for a few unsettling scenes.
- King is a master at foreshadowing, and there was numerous times throughout the book where he would drop these sinister, predictive lines that made me continue on with growing trepidation. Some panned out, and others were nothing but red herrings. Even though I am a fan of foreshadowing, sometimes he gives away too much with his hints.
- As I mentioned, King excels at character driven stories, and one way he does this is by providing plenty of detail and back story with his characters. While I am a huge fan of the way he includes his back stories, I had two issues with it in this book. The whole back story regarding Brady and his younger brother was hard to read/listen to as it was so unsettling. Second, right in the middle of the big climatic, action packed, edge of your seat moment in the book, King throws in this back story on Holly that was really jarring and it failed to make an impact on me. I could have done without it as I was so anxious to see how everything played out.
Mr. Mercedes is a riveting, thrilling and chilling departure for King. Instead of things that go bump in the night and stories of fiction that will give you nightmares, King delivers a book that will terrify you with its horrifying, psychotic killer who could be living right next door to you. This is a masterful story with engaging and interesting characters. If you are up for a detective thriller book give this one a go. It is perfect for those who want to try King but are afraid of his creepy paranormal books. However, be warned, you may not view the ice-cream truck the same again. The audiobook narrated by Will Patton is outstanding, I highly recommend giving this one a listen.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
Thanks to the wonderful folks at Simon Schuster Audiobooks, I have an audiobook CD copy of Mr. Mercedes to giveaway to one lucky U.S. winner. To enter, please read the Contest Policies and fill out the Rafflecopter. Good Luck!