Review: Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Title: Mr. Mercedes
Author: Stephen King
Pages: 448
Genre: Fiction; mystery/thriller
Publisher: Scribner (Simon & Schuster)
Pub. Date: June 3, 2014


Stephen King's latest book, Mr. Mercedes, starts off with a psychopathic killer driving his car through a mass of people waiting in line for a job fair, murdering several and hurting others. He manages to escape and his case essentially becomes cold. The owner of the car whom he stole it from then kills herself, presumably from the guilt of leaving her car accessible.

Retired Detective Hodges then enters the story; he's experiencing a newly retired life which feels pointless until he is drawn into this case, basically by Mr. Mercedes himself, and decides to try to find the killer on his own. In the meantime, Mr. Mercedes has plans for more evil, so the retired detective's search for him becomes a race to save thousands of people.

I read through this one quickly. I liked all the characters (well except Mr. Mercedes of course, but his character was done well for who he was). Mr. Mercedes, of course, was creeeepy. Reading his thoughts was often cringe worthy for so many different reasons. There were lots of cliffhangers, and I never wanted to stop reading when the chapters ended. I felt like there was an element of "true crime" to it as well in that this story was relevant to some of the scary things our country has experienced in recent years in terms of mass murders... I always find myself wanting to understand more, so even though this was fiction, reading from the killer's point of view was informative in a way (though disturbing!)

What I did not like was the significant amount of references to race... for Mr. Mercedes they made sense because they were part of his character and thoughts.. But there was a large amount of focus on Det. Hodges's lawn person and his race and how he overcomes the stereotypes, etc., but they have this inside joke about how he refers to Hodges as "Massa Hodges", and this joke is really played out, and I'm not completely sure what the point of that was. That was slightly distracting for me.

Would definitely recommend this, and a good starter for those who have not read King before and maybe are afraid of some of his scarier stuff. Also, Mr. Mercedes is apparently the first in a planned trilogy! The second book comes out in 2015.

3 comments:

Irene McKenna said...

This sounds good. I've always felt character development is one of King's strong points as an author, so I'm glad to hear your liked the characters.

Ti said...

The race thing didn't bother me so much. I did notice that Jerome seemed to lose his smarts around Holly. I questioned the addition of Holly more than anything but then again, I guess that didn't bother me too much because I didn't even mention it in my review, which posts tomorrow.

Jennifer said...

Thanks for an intriguing review. I haven't really delved into the world of King yet but this sounds like it might be a good entry level book for me. I have to admit that some of the scary horror stuff does intimidate me!

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