My crime – thriller jaunt continues with Mr. Mercedes, something that is apparently a bit of a departure for Stephen King, except I haven’t read much King, so I couldn’t tell you.
In Mr. Mercedes, depressed and rather suicidal retired detective Hodges is goaded out of his lazy boy by a letter from the ‘perk’ of one of the cases he failed to solve, the Mr. Mercedes killings. A crime where a Mercedes ploughed through a queue of job seekers, killing eight and injuring many more. Mr. Mercedes wants to talk, but what is obvious from the letter, what Mr. Mercedes really wants is for Hodges to kill himself. However the letter has the opposite effect and Hodges starts investigating again, he also starts to really wind up Mr. Mercedes and you can imagine what happens when you wind up a mass murderer can’t you?
It took me a while to get into this book, I haven’t, like I said, read much King, but I have read Under the Dome and I preferred that one much more, despite the rubbish ending. I also (and I know this is a bit of a cardinal sin) couldn’t help compare Mr. Mercedes with NOS 4R2, written by Joe Hill (King’s son), both books feature cars as key ‘characters’ and I’ll make no bones about it, I’m much more of a fan of Hill than King. However, once I got past my hang ups I did enjoy the story, some of the character motivation was a bit ???, principally why Hodges continued to wind up Mr. Mercedes and not just go to the police, King does try and address this but it did sound a bit like excuse after excuse because after all, if Hodges had gone to the police, well it’d have been a shorter story. I did think though that King wrote the characters well, particularly the ones with mental health issues, both in the family which owned the Mercedes and in Mr. Mercedes himself. Mr. Mercedes has more than a few screws loose but King handles the back story and motivation well, so you can sort of see, from Mr. Mercedes perspective, why he’s doing what he’s doing.
*** (out of 5)