Plot summary (from the publisher): 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.
Warning: Spoilers below!
- All in all, this was a pretty gripping story. King is a master of the page-turner, and this skill translates well to the crime genre. Count me in among those fans that loved the departure from horror and the supernatural!
- I enjoyed the little shoutouts to Christine and It. An author of King’s stature should be allowed to reference his past work, shouldn’t he?
- Bill Hodges was a fairly likable character. Nothing in this first book (King has indicated that Mr. Mercedes is the first of a trilogy) irked me too much or put me off from ever wanting to read about him again. I especially appreciated that he wasn’t a supercop and that his being out-of-shape/retired hampered his investigation at a few points.
- The disdain for boy bands was funny and well-placed.
- There’s no way in hell some fat shlub like Bill would get a halfway decent looking woman, 20 years younger than him, into bed. I hate these ridiculous hookups in books!
- Speaking of ridiculous hookups…Brady and his mother were…just…ewwww!!!! I will never be able to listen to a mother talking about taking care of a child’s headache in quite the same way again
- What caused Brady to suddenly reach out to Bill? Usually there is some kind of triggering event, but here it just seemed like one day Brady decided he was tired of only peeping and wanted to get involved for real. I didn’t get it.
- Another alcoholic character. Really? I know King is a friend of Bill W., but come on.
Mr. Mercedes was an engrossing, straightforward crime novel that was a refreshing departure from typical Stephen King fare. Though some elements of the plot and actions of the characters bugged a bit, I found this to be a mostly enjoyable experience. I give the book 4 stars out of 5.