Warning! Spoilers ahead for the Bill Hodges Trilogy – Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers, and End of Watch.
In 2009, a suicide obsessed killer drove a Mercedes-Benz through a crowd of unemployed, waiting for a job fair to open up, murdering and maiming as many as he could. Retired cop Bill Hodges obsessed about catching “Mr. Mercedes,” cannot stop the chase. With the help of a young boy and a a woman with “graying hair and the face of a neurotic teenager,” the trio managed to put the killer, Brady Hartsfield, down and in a coma. Mr. Mercedes was riveting excitement on every page. Finders Keepers, puts Hartsfield’s story on hold as Hodges, Jerome, and Holly reunite to save a boy from an author-obsessed lunatic killer. Although it strayed from the first novel, the connecting tendrils satisfied that basic reader need. Now, in End of Watch, Brady Hartsfield is awake and plotting, and it’s up to Hodges and the gang to stop him.
A few spoilers from End of Watch by Stephen King below.
End of Watch starts out pretty clever. It is also from that fateful “Mr. Mercedes” night, but from the perspective of 2 EMTs who suddenly got called in to witness horror. The sleeping bag with 3 crushed bodies brings us back to who they used to be. Coma Brady has gone full “Carrie” without the mobility… until he manages to walk and stalk the world, without leaving his hospital room. Soon, those connected to the 2009 massacre, and those at the ‘Round Here concert where Brady got his brains smashed, are suddenly committing suicide. Hodges and Holly, PIs at the Finders Keepers agency, are called in by Bill’s old partner. They find another weird connection – an old fashioned handheld game console from a company that went belly-up. If that wasn’t worrisome enough, Bill has lost weight and has piercing pain, but won’t see a doctor… until he does.
Why aren’t you already reading this?
Although the Constant Reader knows who is behind the rash of suicides, the clues to the impossible are so intricate and twisted, we feel triumph as genius Jerome, relentless Hodges, and robot Holly figure things out in baby steps. And that reads like hypnotic fish.
King uses language like an true artist:
Brady looks around the inside of his head like a man giving a hotel room one last check after a long-term stay. Anything hanging forgotten in the closet? A tube of toothpaste left in the bathroom? Maybe a cufflink under the bed?
I started the novel on a sunny morning waiting for a crowded train. I had to close the book at times because the horror of what Brady could do and was doing scared the s*** out of me. That is my Stephen King barometer – the equivalent of how many times I put my hands in front of the eyes. It was so enmeshed in reality that the impossible started to seem possible.
End of Watch ends perfectly. It begins perfectly. It scares perfectly. It develops perfectly. And well… I already told you about the end. It was worth the year long wait.
Now… when are the movies coming out?
The spectacular finale to the New York Times bestselling trilogy that began with Mr. Mercedes (winner of the Edgar Award) and Finders Keepers””In End of Watch, the diabolical “Mercedes Killer” drives his enemies to suicide, and if Bill Hodges and Holly Gibney don’t figure out a way to stop him, they’ll be victims themselves.
In Room 217 of the Lakes Region Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic, something has awakened. Something evil. Brady Hartsfield, perpetrator of the Mercedes Massacre, where eight people were killed and many more were badly injured, has been in the clinic for five years, in a vegetative state. According to his doctors, anything approaching a complete recovery is unlikely. But behind the drool and stare, Brady is awake, and in possession of deadly new powers that allow him to wreak unimaginable havoc without ever leaving his hospital room.
Retired police detective Bill Hodges, the unlikely hero of Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers, now runs an investigation agency with his partner, Holly Gibney””the woman who delivered the blow to Hartsfield’s head that put him on the brain injury ward. When Bill and Holly are called to a suicide scene with ties to the Mercedes Massacre, they find themselves pulled into their most dangerous case yet, one that will put their lives at risk, as well as those of Bill’s heroic young friend Jerome Robinson and his teenage sister, Barbara. Brady Hartsfield is back, and planning revenge not just on Hodges and his friends, but on an entire city.
In End of Watch, Stephen King brings the Hodges trilogy to a sublimely terrifying conclusion, combining the detective fiction of Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers with the heart-pounding, supernatural suspense that has been his bestselling trademark. The result is an unnerving look at human vulnerability and chilling suspense. No one does it better than King.