Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Book Review: Finders Keepers by Stephen King
Author: Stephen King
Enjoyment Rating: *****
Content Alert: Violence, swearing
In 1978 Morris Bellamy and his friends break into the home of John Rothstein, an author who seems to be part JD Salinger, part John Updike, part Harper Lee. While Bellamy's friends think they're just going to rob the guy and get out of there, Bellamy is after something more-- he wants to know what Rothstein, the author of three books about Jimmy Gold, has been writing since he stopped publishing in 1961. The men kill Rothstein in the heist and hit paydirt, finding more than $25,000 and a whole safe full of notebooks. But before Bellamy can read the stories, he's arrested on an unrelated charge and spends the next 38 years in prison.
Thirty-five years later, at the height of the financial crisis, Pete Saubers finds a trunk full of money and notebooks buried in the woods. It seems an answer to prayer, since Pete's father was injured at the civic center massacre a year earlier, and Pete anonymously sends the money to his family, bits at a time. But he becomes even more interested in those notebooks, and when Bellamy gets out of jail, he's willing to do just about anything to get them back. We get the same familiar cast of characters we grew to love in Mr. Mercedes-- Bill Hodges, Holly Gibney and Jerome Robinson, who try to save Pete's gravy before it's too late.
You may be reading this review in July, but I'm writing it in June, the last of more than a dozen books I reviewed over a couple of days. They were the first of my summer reads, and I saved Finders Keepers until the end because I loved it so much that I knew I'd keep writing them if I had this carrot dangling at the end of my line. I really enjoyed Mr. Mercedes, the first book in the Bill Hodges trilogy, but Finders Keepers is far better (which is practically unheard of with trilogies, right?). It's also the kind of book where you don't have to read the first one to know what the second one is all about. Yes, there are too many details (you get the sense that Stephen King is a bit disdainful of people who are overweight, for example), and it could be a little shorter, but the story itself is super exciting. And it's a book for readers. Both Bellamy and Saubers genuinely love the Jimmy Gold story so much that they share more than they'd like to admit. King writes beautifully about how a love of literature can shape a life, for good or for evil.