I grew up in Maine. Stephen King was the commencement speaker at my undergraduate graduation from The University of Maine. He is one of the first things you think of when you think “what famous people or things have come out of Maine”? Lobster, L.L. Bean, and Stephen King. Oh and Paul Lepage but I said famous, not infamous.
I have read many of King’s books. I finally made it through The Stand two or three summers ago. I’ve started The Dark Tower series what feels like a million times now (when I was little it was just a trilogy, now it’s a finished eight book series and I get to look forward to Idris Elba in the main role on tv *squee!*) and someday I’ll be able to read through the entire thing. His books are either devoured by me immediately or I go back and forth, but whenever I have trouble getting through one, it’s just not the right time or I’m not in the right place. I’ll read them all eventually.
So when Samantha Irby, the sassy bitch who eats and reads, suggested End of Watch of course I grabbed it on my library holds list, but having been on a King hiatus, it was good that she quickly informed me that it was 3 of 3 in a trilogy, and that I would need the other two first. And so we begin in a very good place to start: the very beginning.
Mr Mercedes is definitely a psychopath, there is no doubt about that. He’s the kind of character that makes you think twice about the ice cream man or your local Geek Squad guy that you invite into your home to help with electronics. The first “family” scene made me cringe and hurry into the next section. Our antagonist is definitely a convincing crazy murderer, and the crime at the center of our story is a large crowd of people having been mown down by a mystery man in a Mercedes. We meet Bill Hodges, a retired cop who never caught the Mercedes Killer, but is drawn back in when he is contacted by the killer himself. With the help of his tech savvy neighbor/gardener and the sister of one of the Killer’s victims we go on a cat and mouse chase , watching the two get ever closer to their showdown.
If you have a weak stomach beware, there are some…queasy scenes. Also this gets very psychological at times, and one particular part made me actually think “you know, that’s probably the best way that could have happened” and it is still HORRIFYING. I loved watching Hodges rediscover his love of a mystery and the thrill of the hunt; his sidekicks are a welcome addition to that hunt. What I think I loved most of all is something that I have loved about every King novel I have ever read: the feeling of accelerating towards the end of the book. When I reached the final section, I could not put the book down. I couldn’t read it fast enough. I think I yelled at my husband for talking to me because I’M IN THE MIDDLE OF SOMETHING VERY IMPORTANT HERE didn’t he understand that I was trying to stop a murderer? There is something about a Stephen King novels that says “if you stop reading all the terrible things you are hoping won’t happen will and it will be on YOU.” Well I’m not going to be held responsible for that, MUST READ FASTER!
The ending was nicely tied up so I’m wondering about the connections that will be made in the second book, but I am also looking forward to them. I am excited to spend more time with Holly, Jerome, and Bill to see where they go next together.