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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Page turner
This is a real non stop, riveting read with plenty of suspense that we've come to expect from Stephen King. There's no hint of the supernatural or horror that often appears in his books, rather a straight out crime thriller. The reader is hooked from the first page, Stephen King certainly knows how to create a tense atmosphere, and also has such a good grasp on...
Published 3 months ago by Ben.S

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing/anti climactic ending but ultimately a good read.
This was a page turner but there were some parts of the book I found disappointing. King focuses on colour/race a lot more than he needs to; I found the character of Jerome very frustrating. When he's not ironically shucking and jiving, he's displaying a Stephen Hawkings- like intelligence, and he doesn't ring true at either spectrum. I wish King hadn't felt the need to...
Published 18 days ago by Rayne


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Page turner, 19 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Mr Mercedes (Hardcover)
This is a real non stop, riveting read with plenty of suspense that we've come to expect from Stephen King. There's no hint of the supernatural or horror that often appears in his books, rather a straight out crime thriller. The reader is hooked from the first page, Stephen King certainly knows how to create a tense atmosphere, and also has such a good grasp on characterization. The character of ex detective Bill Hodges is well written and you feel yourself rooting for him throughout the book. Hodges is bored with his life so far since retiring, has become lazy and bordering suicidal, until he receives a letter out of the blue from somebody claiming to be the perpetrator of a crime involving the murder of 8 people who were lining up for a job fair, by driving his Mercedes into them at high speed then driving off. The crime was never solved, and this taunting letter gives Hodges a kick start into trying to solve the case, as he begins a cat and mouse style correspondence with the sender of the letter. We know from the beginning who the perpetrator is: Brady Hartsfield, a 28 year old man who lives with his alcoholic mother, who spends most of his time either at work or in his 'command centre' style basement, plotting new and manic ways of causing mass destruction.

As always in a good book, for every good protagonist there needs to be an even viler antagonist. This is definitely the case here! Brady is a misanthropic, psychotic young man, who gradually seems to get worse as the story goes on. King always has a knack at creating great villains, and Brady Hartsfield is one of them. After his initial mowing down of job seekers that begins the book, we follow his internal monologue as we are privy to his thoughts of new ways to cause mayhem, all the while engaging in back and forth correspondence with Hodges through an anonymous chat website.

The supporting characters are also well created. These include Jerome, a young black neighbor of Hodges who, like Brady, has skill with computers, who later assists Hodges. Also some tertiary characters who appear later on, such as the sister of the owner of the Mercedes used in the murder, and her cousin. The introducing of seemingly secondary characters through the main characters, and having them play a big role is a skill Stephen King has, and often uses in his novels.

I would recommend this book for any crime fans, but also for anyone who prefers King's less supernatural novels. I'm also pleased to hear this is to be the first in a trilogy featuring Hodges, so that's something to look forward to!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Looking forward to the next one, 6 Sep 2014
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This review is from: Mr Mercedes (Kindle Edition)
I find it irritating when Stephen King is typed as a straight up horror writer. Yes, while he is known, and rightly so, for some pretty amazing scary stories there is so much more variety in his work then he is given credit for. Take his recent novels 'Joyland' and '11.22.63,' both of which I found absolutely amazing. Mr Mercedes proves is another break from the general consensus.

I did enjoy this book and am looking forward to the next in the trilogy, but I did enjoy his other recent works more (those mentioned above, as well as Dr Sleep). I just felt that the characterisation and plot was lacking in places; Brady Hartsfield, the 'Mercedes Killer,' was clearly a smart guy. Yet I found him to be a bit of an inconsistent character, often fumbling his plans-yes, to the good luck of others but I don't read a book needing a happy ending-otherwise I wouldn't be such a fan of Stephen King's work! And Detective Bill Hodges also needed to live up a bit more to that savvy, decorated and commended cop reputation, by putting 2 and 2 together more.

Regardless of all that, and it's not intended as a negative, I did enjoy the book and wanted to see how it would end. I liked the contemporary feel of the novel regarding the recession and the crappy economy, which is something we can all relate to. All in all a very good book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sort of coming back to the old days, 4 Jun 2014
This review is from: Mr Mercedes (Kindle Edition)
Stephen King with ‘Mr. Mercedes’ managed to create a bit different novel compared to the ones people usually associated with this writer – inside reader won’t find demons, ghosts, evil forces or some other extraordinary things, but only an insane killer and his car.

And though his latest novel doesn’t include any supernatural elements, Stephen King still manages to bring story that has subtle horror line, while telling something which can be imagined in real life.

The story takes place in some unnamed city several years ago when a man using a Mercedes car will drive into the crowd of people leaving a multitude of bodies as a result of his mad act.

The police will find out that car was stolen from the woman who some time later will commit suicide, thought the one who was behind the wheel will remain unknown and this case open. Known as City Center Massacre committed by Mr. Mercedes, how the killer continued to be called, this event will mark the beginning of the events in this good, though not great novel in comparison with some other Stephen King novels.

Reader will meet Detective Hodges who after retirement from the force still can’t get rid of cases he wasn’t not able to resolve, one of them Mr. Mercedes. When he will receive the letter from someone who is saying that he is the unknown killer, mocking him while explaining how he enjoyed while killing people, this will motivate Hodges to once again try to connect pieces of the puzzle and find the killer…

‘Mr. Mercedes’ is somehow a sort of coming back to the old King’s days while sharing the motives of killing car - Christine, published in 1983, is still one of the best and scariest he ever wrote. Though, this time King is not pushing towards some unexplainable demonic forces but instead drives us through the exciting 400 pages until case will be resolved.

Unfortunately, the end of novel in fact is the weakest part of the story and although I cannot reveal why not to spoil the fun of reading, you'll probably just like I wish that the novel ended differently or earlier.

Still, it’s King novel and you know that with this guy you just cannot miss - fun and excitement are guaranteed. Therefore recommendations for all the fans of this great writer's oeuvre who must read anything he writes, while for those who might think what of recent King's books to read, I suggest to start from the Dome or Dr. Sleep as they are a slightly better titles.

And as one of the fellow reviewers wrote, those that are looking for ghosts and demons should skip this work because in ‘Mr. Mercedes’ you will not find such things. It seems that King realized there is enough such works on his list.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing/anti climactic ending but ultimately a good read., 2 Nov 2014
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This review is from: Mr Mercedes (Kindle Edition)
This was a page turner but there were some parts of the book I found disappointing. King focuses on colour/race a lot more than he needs to; I found the character of Jerome very frustrating. When he's not ironically shucking and jiving, he's displaying a Stephen Hawkings- like intelligence, and he doesn't ring true at either spectrum. I wish King hadn't felt the need to constantly mention his race and just portrayed him in the regular human way he did with every other character. I also felt that a lot of the dialogue in the book was quite phony and dated, which would be fine if this book were based in the 80s but King makes a point of referring to setting as being post 2009 multiple times so it's a little odd that he doesn't appear to have caught up to the times. To be honest I was quite surprised that his writing doesn't really appear to have evolved since Carrie, It, The Shining and the like. The ending also brings the book down as its not entirely believable and just a little too neat and convenient for my liking. If you're a King fan (which I am) you will enjoy this but readers new to him might struggle with the corny/outdated language used throughout the book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping thrtiller, 12 Aug 2014
By 
Sarah Durston (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mr Mercedes (Kindle Edition)
The novel starts when a retired detective receives a taunting letter from the ‘Mercedes Killer’, a man who killed a number of people by driving into a queue outside a job fair, and who Hodges was never able to bring to justice. Since retirement, Hodges has lost direction and purpose, something he finds again when he receives the letter and he begins his own investigations.

The novel then switches focus and we are allowed into the dark world of Brady Hartsfield, the killer, and his plans.

I was utterly gripped by this novel. Ok, it was implausible and unpleasant in places, but it is a Stephen King novel after all! I cared about the characters and there were a few moments when I was genuinely surprised. I won’t give anything away but I will always love that King champions underdogs. The quality of his writing also seems to be improving with every book and I’m really happy that he’s continually trying new things. Great.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic opening chapters and a darkly, comic crime ride., 9 Jun 2014
By 
JK "J. K." (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mr Mercedes (Kindle Edition)
Strange book to review. Opening chapters are brilliant and it's here King does what he does best; creates horror out of normal situations. As that infernal Mercedes plunged into a crowd of innocents and carnage ensued I was totally hooked. What followed after was somewhat different.

I was probably a quarter of the way through the book when I was ready to put it away without finishing it. I didn't and read to the end. It's a clever novel this first 'non horror' detective fiction but it's so far from what I expected and it reads in a way that's almost comic book and ringing with cliche. It's almost a 'send up' of the real genre. The plot is spoon fed to the reader and it's just a matter of; there's the good guy and there's the bad guy - watch them as they chase one another. Who'll win?. It's almost impossible to take seriously. Retired, fat ex detective who failed to solve the original Mr. Mercedes murder does battle with an evil genius who is so completely over-the-top he'd be perfectly placed in a Batman movie.

There are glimpses of the real Stephen King from time to time. The odd few chapters when I dropped back into the plot but those moments were few and far between.

I'm leaving 4* simply because the opening chapters are pretty hard to beat. Even though Mr. Mercedes isn't supposed to be a 'horror' those chapters have some of the strongest horror elements I've read for a long time. Stephen King is an author I've read for over thirty years and he has enough of a hold over me I'll be in the queue for his next horror. Can't say the same for what I believe will be the next novel in this detective series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simple and effective storytelling!, 18 Nov 2014
By 
Mr. G. Robinson "garyrobinson15" (North Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mr Mercedes (Hardcover)
This race against time thriller is a joy from beginning to end.

A Psychopathic malcontent, with a very unhealthy relationship with his mother with whom he still lives, has done something truly terrible. He enjoyed the experience so much he wants; no he needs to do it again. Only this time he wants a much bigger death toll. Can he be stopped in time?

With a retired cop, looking to enjoy one last case, before he really does start to get old, some inquisitive cute internet savvy kids, an odd woman who is more than she seems, an old unsolved police case that might be connected to our Psycho and kings ability to assemble real and believable characters and situations, we have the basis for a great read.

Mr Mercedes is lean and mean storytelling, not too short for you to feel short changed but not too long to be intimidating. The opening killer chapter should have you hooked, which can’t be said of all Kings Novels, Dr Sleep being a good example. The story ark is constant with no dips I could detect. The journey we take with these satisfying characters is always interesting and inventive; a couple of good shocks and twists along the way cement a very enjoyable read indeed. Much of Kings more tricksy habits have been banished in favour of a straightforward and more traditional linear narrative. The small cast and simple start, middle and end approach should appeal to a wider audience. As a result it would make a terrific movie. I saw Al Pacino as the retired cop whilst I was reading it.

In short Mr Mercedes is a killer read with enough horrible moments and situations to keep most ardent King fans happy, but it should also appeal to none King fans who prefer more traditional thrillers.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The pace of the book is almost unrelenting, 18 Sep 2014
By 
Mr. P. Labrow (Stockport, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mr Mercedes (Kindle Edition)
I seem to remember Stephen King announcing his retirement some years ago. And yet, the books keep coming – and I'm thankful for that.

I saved Mr Mercedes for my annual vacation (sorry to make you jealous, but I'm writing this review on my iPad, on the sundeck of the cruise ship Azura, just off the coast of Italy, while listening to Haydn’s Symphony 103 on my iPod).

I romped through Mr Mercedes in just a couple of days or so, pulled along by King's easy style – the thing I've always most admired about his writing is that it is so immersive; the words fade away in your mind and it becomes like watching a film.

The book is a cat-and-mouse story; one where it's often difficult to tell who is the cat and who is the mouse. Retired detective Kermit William Hodges (thankfully known as Bill to his friends) passes time by watching TV and gaining weight, until a letter arrives from the perpetrator of an unsolved crime, goading him back into life.

Brady Hartsfield is a man without conscience; he takes enjoyment from inflicting misery and has a somewhat unhealthy relationship with his mother. It's often said that believable villains can't be 'all bad' but there's very little to redeem Brady. And Hodges is his latest target – but far from the biggest one in his sights.

As ever, King creates characters which are as believable as the person next to you. The pace of the book is almost unrelenting – there are several natural pauses as characters develop their relationships – and the plot twists in a way that real life does. Only one event I felt was foreshadowed too clearly; I won't spoil it for you but I think you'll know which one I mean, once you reach it.

Hodges becomes our friend; his good nature balanced by the ability to be tough when the going demands it. The insight into his thought processes, as he tracks the letter's writer, is as enjoyable as the plot. Brady's mind works in a different way and he's the counterbalance to Hodge's morality – outwardly so ordinary that he's forgettable, but inwardly as dark as anyone King has created.

I've heard people say that they 'prefer classic King' but I have to say that I really like the way that his writing has evolved. I recently re-read The Shining and found it less satisfying (in terms of writing style) than his later work.

It's true, this is less horror than we're used to with King's earlier works; there's nothing supernatural here – just the perverse nature of the human race. But this book is no poorer for that. There are some enjoyable name-checks of King's other work to look out for along the way, too.

This is yet another great book from Stephen King. Thoroughly enjoyable, it's definitely one that you won't want to put down until you're done – and when you are, you'll wish it wasn't over.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Stephen King is on form for this one..., 2 Oct 2014
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This review is from: Mr Mercedes (Kindle Edition)
I was always a big Stephen King fan in my teens and twenties but I seemed to lose interest around the time of Needful Things so it was several years before I picked up another novel by this outstanding teller of great tales. 11.22.63 got me back into his novels and I've now just finished Mr Mercedes.

In my opinion it seems Mr King has morphed from writing straightforward, yet still terrifying, horror to creating horrifying characters because this wasn't supernatural in any way, unlike many of his previous books. Yet he still scared my socks off with the story of an insane mummy's boy who carried out one awful mass killing and planned another. An unlikely bunch of people set out to try to stop him, including a fat retired cop, a black teenager who was planning on going to one of the Ivy League Universities and a mentally ill, emotionally stunted woman in her forties, as well as a loved one lost along the way.

Worth investing the time in and I'd certainly describe it as a page turner.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A True Monster, 3 Oct 2014
This review is from: Mr Mercedes (Kindle Edition)
I've read the reviews, good and bad, on this one (Stephen King fans have particularly strong views) but they haven't changed my opinion that, for me, this book was a 5 star read.
Bill Hodges, retired, living alone, his life reduced to afternoon TV shows and occasional thoughts of ending the boredom and his life is the typical 'washed up' cop of fiction.
Brady Hartsfield (love the name) is a crazy killer with a warped logic and a fitting family history.
Brady taunts Bill back from retirement and the dual begins.
There are faults, mostly in Bill's refusal to inform the proper' authorities as he goes it alone to bring in Brady.
However, for me, the compensation was the interesting cast of quirky, peripheral characters (including the dog!) and the breathtaking speed as the chapters switch between Bill and Brady.
Mr Mercedes was a 5 star read for me because I enjoyed it and, though this is not a horror novel, Brady Hartsfield is a true monster.
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