Mr. Mercedes (Bill Hodges Trilogy #1) – Book Review
I call myself a Stephen King fan even though I haven’t read many of his books. Well, I loved all that I have read so far and that seems like a good enough reason to me. I bought Mr. Mercedes casually last year, but I was reading his epic creation IT back then. It was lying there on my shelf and I got tempted.
Mr. Mercedes is the first book in the Bill Hodges Trilogy.
The book begins with the infamous Mercedes Massacre that continues to haunt a retired homicide detective Bill Hodges. Hundreds of desperate unemployed people were lined up for a spot at a job fair when a lone driver ploughed through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes. The atrocious crime took eight lives while fifteen were left wounded. The killer who would be touted as the Mercedes Killer later fled the scene.
It all comes back rushing to Bill Hodges when he receives a letter in the mail from a person who claims to be the perpetrator. On the other hand, we have Brady Hartfield, living with his alcoholic mother. He is planning to kill again.
Thus begins a cat-and-mouse chase, only the stakes are too high this time because if Hodges fail to catch him, Brady might kill hundreds or thousands of people.
I was hooked on to Mr. Mercedes right from the beginning.
The opening is intense and pulls you right into the story. Stephen King’s epic storytelling captures the ghastly details of the crime and sets up a perfect stage for the readers to understand the mentality of the perpetrator.
The book then introduces us to Det. Ret. K. William Hodges, the protagonist (if you think that Brady Hartfield was not the main attraction here). It is a rather amusing setting that offers an instant relief from the apprehensive beginning. Things start building the moment he receives the letter and the transition from a calm scenario to that of frustrations and anger is brilliant. That is the uniqueness in King’s narration and Mr. Mercedes is no different from it. He builds scenarios and creates anticipation only to let them meet a satisfying conclusion, but we will talk about that later.
Brady Hartfield is a perfect psychotic criminal.
One of the best thing about Mr. Mercedes is the character development, which is one of the strengths of Stephen King. People might have admired the character of Bill Hodges, but I loved how he built Hartfield. Right from the flashbacks of his childhood to his present state where he also wants to kill his mother, King has etched out a perfect psychotic criminal.
However, every single character in the book has been developed really well. By the time you are half way into the book, you feel like you know the characters for long. I loved Jerome and Janey as well, but the character of Holly was a bit more impressive. She even turned out to be extremely smart in the hunt for Hartfield and proved to be a great teammate.
Emotions are placed perfectly!
The relationship Bill Hodges share with Janey in Mr. Mercedes seemed authentic to be. However, that is not just it. The affection he has towards Holly and the companionship that he shares with Jerome is well knit as well. The characters care for each other and it is evident through the conversations between them. All of this adds a heart to the tale and you start worrying for them. This emotional connection is really necessary for me as a reader and I was not disappointed at all.
The end of the cat-and-mouse chase.
Though not fashionably epic, the climax of Mr. Mercedes was quite satisfying. I hate the books where I can’t admire the climax. After all, the whole build up should lead to something that can at least satisfy all the anticipation. Stephen King manages to pen down a gripping climax. I don’t remember the last time I read a thriller, but I’m definitely going to remember this one for long.
The only let down in Mr. Mercedes
was the few dragging sections at random locations. I really think a few things could have been edited out to make it even more crisp in narration. However, I really loved reading the book and would recommend it to everyone.
Every religion lies. Every moral precept is a delusion. Even the stars are a mirage. The truth is darkness, and the only thing that matters is making a statement before one enters it. Cutting the skin of the world and leaving a scar. That’s all history is, after all: scar tissue.
Life is a crap carnival with shit prizes.
Buy Mr. Mercedes: