14 March 2016

Book Review: Mr Mercedes (Bill Hodges Trilogy #1), Stephen King

Mr Mercedes

Title: Mr Mercedes
Series: Bill Hodges Trilogy #1
Author: Stephen King
Published: 23/04/2015, Hodder Paperbacks
Pages: 405
Source: Bought
Format: paperback

Rating: 4.5/5

"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 Hartfield 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."

Mr Mercedes is a book within a genre that I haven't had too many dealing with in the past. It is a thriller and mystery, and I suppose given some of the content it could also be described as a horror. It's also my very first Stephen King read. And I have no idea why I don't pick up more thrillers such as Mr Mercedes. Judging by the array of high ratings I give them, I clearly enjoy a good thriller.

Mr Mercedes is a very quick read for its size (just over 400 pages). I was fascinated with the story and just couldn't put it down. I also found Mr Mercedes to be a remarkably easy read. And this really surprised me!

The protagonist is retired police detective, Bill Hodges. Hodges is your typical older man struggling to adapt to his retirement with his unsolved cases still eating away at his mind. I can understand in a way that it would be very hard to go from working such a high-powered job every day to literally twiddling your thumbs. I really liked him, though. He just had a really likeable character that is hard to explain and, for some, reason when I picture him, I see Robbie Coltrane.

The antagonist really did make Mr Mercedes. Brady Hartfield is an extremely clever psychopath with mummy issues. His upbringing wasn't the best and he was doing some pretty fucked up things from a very young age. It's no wonder he's as murderous and psychotic as he is portrayed. He's very conniving and can manipulate people to do exactly what he wants them to do. He is an utterly brilliant villain and the lengths he will go to are just mindblowing.

Mr Mercedes is told, mainly, from the perspectives of both Bill and Brady. They are written in such a way that we know what both main characters are thinking, but we don't always know the exact ins and outs of their plans. I found the story so, so unpredictable and I was sitting on the edge of my seat for the last fifty or so pages. I was desperate for Brady to be caught before he killed again. The ending was just magnificently climatic and even included a slight cliffhanger (although I don't think anything further comes of it). The characters really do go through the wringer and it was quite an emotional read, which I didn't really expect as much.

It was such a quick plot and even with all the twists and turns I found the plot perfectly logical. The plot line is nicely tied up.

I also liked the supporting characters. Hodges' teenage neighbour, Jerome, was brilliant. He brought a touch of lightheartedness to the story, especially with his "chos fo hos". Holly Gibney was also not your usual sidekick, instead, she's quite a shy and unstable woman with her own mental health issues.

I'm so glad that I've finally read my first Stephen King novel. And I'm sure that Mr Mercedes was a great starting point for me. I would highly recommend it to fans of mysteries and thrillers. I can't wait to read more now!




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