Some of his books I have read tended to drag to a certain extent, it felt at times that he was dragging out a story just to get the book talked about as an ‘epic read’. Mr Mercedes on the other-hand comes in at a little over 400 pages, which in my option is just the right length, long enough to get really involved in the story, but not too long where you start to get a certain way through and you start to think ‘please, just get to the point and finish it’.
The plot summary for this book is quite simple, a retired homicide detective, Bill Hodges, is contacted out of the blue by the perpetrator of one of the few cases which ‘got away from him’, a case where a lone driver (of unsurprisingly enough a Mercedes) ploughed into a crowd of people who were lining up to try to secure a job in a mid-west down and out town, where employment is hard to come by – eight people were killed that morning and fifteen were injured.
Bill has no idea who this person is, but its soon revealed to us (the readers) that this person is Brady Hartfield, a loner who lives with his alcoholic mother where he spends his days plotting his end-game on a massive scale.
Bill teams up with a number of unlikely friends as he is snapped out his repetitive days of day time TV and thoughts of suicide to try to track down the killer, to try to erase what he sees as the biggest failure of his long career.
There is so much more I would like to write about this book, but in the interests of not revealing any spoilers I will leave it there in terms of plot description (I hope I have said enough to tempt anyone thinking of taking the plunge with this book to give it a go).
One of the biggest things that was made about this book was that its not a ‘normal’ Stephen King book – i.e. that its not a pure horror-based read. I would agree that in the past Stephen made his name writing pure horror, but over the past few years he seems to have ventured out of that ‘box’ and has wrote books covering a range of genres – two of his last three books in fact have been ‘murder mysteries’ (the other being Joyland).
One of the things I liked about this book was the little ‘hints’ he dropped about what was awaiting the reader further through the book, this is a technique I don’t recall him using so excessively in previous books, but it worked really well and made you want to soldier on through the need for sleep just to see what may happen.
Overall I really enjoyed reading this book and since it was release it was revealed that it’s the first part of a trilogy and I am keen to see how things progress through the remaining two books.