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Just Finished This (spoilers within)

Discussion in 'Mr. Mercedes' started by MechaBiollante, Apr 24, 2017.

  1. MechaBiollante

    MechaBiollante New Member

    It had me hooked from the beginning, there's a lot to like about this book. It was fun for me because it was the sort of story that kept you guessing even if it wasn't keeping you totally in the dark about who the killer was or what he was up to.

    That said, let me say some potentially controversial things. Stephen King's heroes aren't always that interesting. He does a good job making them feel real enough and I find that pretty important but interesting? When I was reading this I knew it was part of a trilogy but I didn't understand why and only now know it's because it's the Bill Hodges trilogy and I have to wonder what it makes me that I'd rather it was the Brady Hartsfield trilogy?

    I do plan to read the next two and I certainly hope to see Brady again but I'm expecting totally new cases in each other story. To me it's not because Bill Hodges is one of the great SK characters, it's because Bill Hodges is the portal he chose into a type of story he doesn't normally do, which is apparently detective/procedural. Maybe I'm wrong, though, and unlike countless other SK protagonists Bill really does stand out enough to have 3 books.

    I hadn't expected a detective/procedural story going in either, I limited my knowledge to just that someone in a mercedes runs people down and only found out it was a trilogy by accident when considering buying End of Watch at the store and looking at the inside jacket. The book felt most to me like classic SK in the beginning, the car coming out of the fog like some specter, the crazy letter taunting the hero like something Pennywise might do. I was very engaged but was surprised by how grounded it all turned out to be.

    To be fair, grounded is fine and I continued to enjoy it on strength of the character work and the fun of puzzling it all out with them. And while the climax was certainly suspenseful it was ultimately anti-climactic for me. It's not so much that I wanted Brady to blow everyone up, it just really all came down to him getting hit in the head a few times. I have gotten used to King novels rarely having grand endings, I know his planning doesn't usually go that far, he goes enough ahead to give us his premonition lines like "he'd regret that forever" but he certainly doesn't create an outline of a story and then write it, or do like some writers do and write the ending first. That said he has had some amazing climaxes in his stories, in his time.

    Maybe it's my sick bloodlust, and to be fair normally in a SK novel there's plenty of satisfying that to be had, but after he cut away from the opening massacre just as it got started I guess I hoped it meant that was just the appetizer and something worse was coming. I began to wonder what the last SK book was that managed to truly shock me like his old stories could. I'd have to probably go back to 2009's Under the Dome (though I haven't read everything since that).

    Overall I did like the story but for me it wasn't true SK if that makes sense. To me true SK stories are simply legendary, stories that have a permanent place in my memory, in my nightmares. It used to be I opened a King book and when I finished there was no other word to describe how I felt besides completely blown away. On that relative scale, something like this... something I found entertaining, well written and very good... is somehow a letdown. A testament to King's true quality as a writer but I hope not a testament to the idea that he's no longer that writer I once held in such high regard.
    Tooly, Neesy, GNTLGNT and 1 other person like this.
  2. Moderator

    Moderator Ms. Mod Administrator

    Welcome to the Board!
  3. MechaBiollante

    MechaBiollante New Member

  4. king family fan

    king family fan Prolific member

  5. Constant Reader XIX

    Constant Reader XIX Active Member



    I had a slightly similar reaction after having read the first Bill Hodges book:

    To avoid any possible spoilers, I'll just say this:
    If Mr. Mercedes engaged you at all, my advice is to read the next two books.

    After having read the whole story, I was, in fact, blown away.

    GNTLGNT The idiot is IN

    ....Hiya bubba!.....King's forays into the "crime thriller" genre hasn't thrilled everyone, but the totality of this trilogy is definitely superb....
    Tooly, Neesy, MechaBiollante and 2 others like this.
  7. ServantThirteen

    ServantThirteen Well-Known Member

    Welcome. The Bill Hodges's trilogy hooked me as well.
    Neesy, MechaBiollante and GNTLGNT like this.
  8. Neesy

    Neesy #1 fan (Annie Wilkes cousin) 1st cousin Mom's side


    Attached Files:

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  9. prufrock21

    prufrock21 Well-Known Member

    Welcome. Congrats on a well thought out post. Unlike you, I try not to bring any pre-conceived notions when I pick up a book by the Master of Horror. The operative word here is "Master." I figure, if it's by the Master, like a Goya Foods product, it has to be good. Rarely am I disappointed. That said, if the story is "creepy," I'm content. The characterizations may not all be spot-on, the plot may be not all that sterling, and the denoument may leave much to be desired. However, if it's creepy, my interest will be piqued and I can suspend disbelief for as long as it takes to finish the book.

    Consider the following. We no longer have one SK but at least three. There's the early King. The King of Carrie, The Shining, Night Shift, The Stand, The Plant. This is King writing at fever pitch, with no holds barred, irreverent, grossed-out and creepy. The King writing from the gut, before all the hoopla and the fame. (Richard Bachman belongs to this period.) There's the King of the middle period. The King who can consider and produce, in spite of seld-inflicted emotional constraints, the books which constitute the final chapters of The Dark Tower. And there's the King we are reading now. Mellowed, thoughtful, experienced beyond years, who can still deliver a fabulous story as well as entertain. Such as, 11/22/63.

    You might also want to consider King B.A. and King A.A. (before and after the accident).

    I have enjoyed reading them all. And I hope to continue reading them, as long as the flesh permits and before the world of The Dark Tower "moves on."

    Thanks for listening.
    MechaBiollante and GNTLGNT like this.
  10. staropeace

    staropeace Richard Bachman's love child

    Read on.
    MechaBiollante and GNTLGNT like this.
  11. Tooly

    Tooly Well-Known Member

    He did do it rather well.
    Neesy and GNTLGNT like this.

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