Sunday, August 17, 2014
Book Review: Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
Author: Stephen King
Enjoyment Rating: ***
Content Alert: pervasive language, sex, and violence. Also incest.
Now that I'm deep into my Stephen King kick, I picked up Mr. Mercedes, which is a hard-boiled crime novel instead of a supernatural thriller. The novel opens with a group of job seekers waiting for a job fair to open, only to be run down by a Mercedes sedan. Eight people die, the owner of the stolen Mercedes commits suicide soon after, and Bill Hodges, a detective, is unable to solve the crime before he retires from the police force.
Several months later, Bill has been wallowing in his retirement and suffering from depression when he gets a letter from someone identifying himself as Mr. Mercedes, the murderer. Hodges' life resumes as he works to track down the killer before he strikes again.
First and foremost, Mr. Mercedes is a book that should be 100 pages leaner than the 436 pages in the published work. It's wordy, with too much description. Way too much description. While there's no supernatural violence in the novel, that doesn't mean it's not creepy. Mr. Mercedes is one of the creepiest villains I've ever come across, primarily because he looks so normal (he drives an ice cream truck, for goodness' sake!). The two sidekicks Hodges acquires over the course of the novel are pretty great, and I enjoyed the book, but just didn't love it as much as I could have if it had been edited a little more thoroughly.