In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes.
In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the “perk” and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy.
Brady Hartfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born. He loved the feel of death under the wheels of the Mercedes, and he wants that rush again.
Only Bill Hodges, with a couple of highly unlikely allies, can apprehend the killer before he strikes again. And they have no time to lose, because Brady’s next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim thousands.
Mr. Mercedes is a war between good and evil, from the master of suspense whose insight into the mind of this obsessed, insane killer is chilling and unforgettable.
I will admit that when I first read the beginning of this novel, I was dumbstruck. I mean the opening is just so, unbelievable. I cried for that little baby- and she’s fictional. The opening to the book was heartbreaking but sucked me in.
I really thought King did a good job at portraying Brady Hartfield, the crazy murderer, as crazy but also smart and meticulous. He is what people are scared of- those people who go undetected because they look ‘normal’. It’s scary to think that your ice cream man could be a psycho mass murderer. Brady is smart, focuses, obsessive, and organized. But with that, he’s also a loner, and someone who just glides by in life unnoticed. He does his work at his jobs then goes home to take care of his alcoholic mother (their relationship is all kinds of messed up). His lair is his sanctuary where he devises all these murder plots. King definitely makes you paranoid and think about stuff. I know I won’t be going to any concerts soon- Thanks Stephen King.
Det-Ret Bill Hodges is a great lead character. He’s old, yes, but he’s still got it. I mean he bags a woman 20 yrs younger than him plus solves the case of the year- so yea, age has nothing to do with anything. It’s interesting how he knows what he’s doing is going to land him with possible prison time but he’s so hooked on catching the guy that he just can’t give it up. It’s not that he didn’t try, at least once, it’s just it was personal. On so many levels, it was personal. I mean that crazy Brady Hartfield blew up his truck with his lover in it, stalked him for lord knows how long, and threatened him more than once. I’d take it personal too and risk prison time (you know, if I was a fictional character). I got so sucked into the story that I was just waiting for Det-Ret to shoot him and then he had freakin’ heart attack! WTH King. I mean, yes, it added some twists but goodness, Bill should’ve been the one to at least knock the murderer unconscience. Which brings me to the crazy woman, Holly. Wow. If I had a mother like her, I would be like her too. Her mom takes helicopter parenting to a whole new level. I was SO glad and proud when she finally told her mom off that I whooped for her. And then there’s good ole Jerome. I loved his sense of humor and smarts. He was a much needed character because he also brought a sense of humor to the pages. I really liked him and he was very critical in helping figure out who Mr Mercedes was.
The one thing I was VERY disappointed with and just pissed off about was that Brady didn’t die. He gets banged in the head where it’s clear his skull is crushed and he’s in a coma for months and he survives!! Are you kidding me, Stephen King?! I do realize it’s a trilogy but give me a break. If any character needs to die out of all the books I’ve read, it’s Brady Hartfield. He’s one twisted, sick human being. I just don’t get it. I honestly thought the trilogy was going to be about Det-Ret Kermit “Bill” Hodges solving crimes, not about how this sick person survived to wreak havoc on more unsuspecting, innocent victims. I guess I’ll just have to read the other 2 books and see what happens. Damn you, Stephen King.
I HIGHLY recommend this book. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book written by Stephen King, as he’s not really my cup of tea, but this book definitely was worth the read. I started it Saturday afternoon and finished it late Sunday evening. It’s THAT good. Try it out. Get passed the opening part- meet Det-Ret Kermit “Bill” Hodges, you’ll be glad you did.
5 out of 5 stars!