I recently finished King’s latest book, which was an awesome gift I received on my birthday from my awesome friends. This wasn’t one of King’s acclaimed horror works, and I’m thankful for that, because I’d be getting no sleep if it was. Instead this one was a mystery thriller. This was a pretty unique read, and I really enjoyed it. So let’s commence the review.
I’ll begin with a short summary. The writing is interesting in that both the protagonist and antagonist’s points of view are shown, so the reader experiences almost the whole universe with regards to the book. The protagonist, Hodges, is a retired detective contemplating suicide because he failed to solve a major case back in his day. That case was orchestrated by the antagonist, Hartfield, a psychotic murderer. Hartsfield sends Hodges a letter mocking him and encouraging him to kill himself, but it backfires and serves to pull Hodges from the brink of suicide and instead sees him devote himself to solving the case and catching the “perk.” The rest is your typical cat-and-mouse chase, with a few plot twists and Hodges working against the clock to prevent another mass murder with the help of a couple unexpected allies. In the end, (SPOILER ALERT) the good guy wins and everyone is happy.
There’s a lot to like in this read. It’s probably one of the most unique books I’ve read, and there are a couple reasons for that. First, as I mentioned, full disclosure is given into the thoughts of both the protagonist and antagonist. However, even more unique than that is that the writing is in present tense. I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel written that way. At first I didn’t like it, but I got used to it as the story progressed. Stylistically unique, yes, but I won’t go so far as to say that it added much to the book. That’s not to take away from the story; it was unique and original, and had enough action packed in to satisfy most readers. Full points on originality, as King doesn’t resort to any stock characters, and keeps the book (for the most part) fairly unpredictable. The plot, too, is fairly exciting. Well, exciting enough.
I don’t mean that in a bad way. But a certain author by the name of George RR Martin has left me absolutely spoiled in terms of what to expect from a book, and this read comes nowhere near the standard set by him. That doesn’t mean this book is bad; don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed it. But it’s saddening to know that there’s so much better stuff out there (…if only Martin would publish a damn book sometime). I don’t have too many complaints with this book. The only thing I can say is that maybe the plot could have been more interesting, or at least faster paced, because I think King spent the first half of the book setting up the conflict. Other than that, the only other thing I’ll add is that I was kind of sad that it was a happy ending – far too predictable. One thing Martin taught me is that often, a sad ending is much more rewarding than a happy ending, because it makes for some great reading.
In conclusion, Mr. Mercedes was a solid mystery thriller, with enough originality to make sure the reader eagerly finishes the read. It’s a good book, and I would certainly recommend reading it to kill some time. I’m giving it a solid 8.5/10. It really is a fun read, and I can’t deny that it is wildly interesting. So if you’re looking for something to read soon, try Mr. Mercedes.