4 of 4 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 27 days ago by Ben.S
3.0 out of 5 stars More of a Skoda than a Mercedes
Mr Mercedes is a departure from the Stephen King we have all grown to know and love. Horror is cast aside in this instance for a crime fiction story. We follow retired detective Kermit 'Bill' Hodges as he struggles to come to terms with the emptiness of his retirement. One day, as he again toys with the idea of suicide, Hodges is contacted in writing by the 'one that got...
Published 12 hours ago by Honest Chap's Reviews
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4 of 4 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 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!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sort of coming back to the old days,
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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Looking forward to the next one,
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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping thrtiller,
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.
3.0 out of 5 stars More of a Skoda than a Mercedes,
Mr Mercedes is a departure from the Stephen King we have all grown to know and love. Horror is cast aside in this instance for a crime fiction story. We follow retired detective Kermit 'Bill' Hodges as he struggles to come to terms with the emptiness of his retirement. One day, as he again toys with the idea of suicide, Hodges is contacted in writing by the 'one that got away', a perp who slaughtered a group of job seekers and got away scot-free. This rekindles the coals of Hodges' fire and he sets out to catch the cold-blooded killer, without the help of his former colleagues. As Hodges investigates the killer and delves deeper into his insanity, he picks up a few unlikely companions who work with him to help solve the case.
I'll start off by saying that Mr Mercedes is decent but no great shakes. Whilst it was a relatively enjoyable and engaging read (and thus deserving of the 'it's okay' rating I gave it), there were a number of things that irked me throughout. Just to warn in advance: this review will focus mostly on the negative factors I encountered in an effort to inform prospective readers and help them decide if these problems will bother them or not.
Modern day King writes like Dick Francis did before his death by trying to incorporate technology without fully understanding it. There are a number of segments where the tech savvy reader will find themselves rereading a passage in disbelief wondering how such and such an error got past all the proofreaders. The most glaring for me (though there are many other mistakes uttered by computer literate characters) is when Jerome, the straight A computer genius, tells Hodges that he has two anti-virus programs installed on his machine, a scenario that even the most computerphobic person knows is a terrible idea. Now this might not bother a lot of people but to me it shattered the believability of the story to an extent. I also wonder whether Apple were paying Mr King to mention their products at every given opportunity as it was Mac this and iPhone that all the way through the story. Dropping the name of products every five minutes is something that really annoys me - Larsson did it too in his Lisbeth Salander trilogy.
King also tries to incorporate modern day terms and teen slang, much of it ill-informed. This happens most noticably early on in the book when he mentions a tramp-stamp, a term used commonly by young folk these days, but gets the location of said tattoo completely and utterly wrong. King writes with aplomb when he creates youthful conversations that take place in the lingo of his own younger years, namely the 60s and 70s, but his writing from a young perspective in the current day seems false and out of touch.
One of the gripes many people had with the old King was his ability to ramble about situations, characters and minor details. Now King writes in a more spartan fashion and I think this is to the detriment of his work. Now that his famous expansive ramblings are gone, I no longer feel his writing is as good. There is something missing these days from his locations and characters that was so abundant in his earlier, more prestigious books. What replaces it has a disappointing and slightly amateur feel.
A number of events happen in the book that are either overly convenient or completely inexplicable. The fact that the secondary characters stick with Hodges despite him making increasingly dangerous and irrational decisions in conjunction with the threat of serious police sanctions pushes suspension of disbelief to the absolute limit. Other events happen that confound logic including the following (which could be classed as spoilers, so skip to the next paragraph if you're worried): Janey wearing the hat as she drives Hodges' car; the incredible coincidence of a huge bust just as Hodges is about to come clean; and the crowd bursting their banks at just the right time to help out our baddy. I'm aware that storytelling is all about using coincidences like these to drive the tale along, but too much only harms the realism of any given novel.
As in Dr Sleep, the bad guy is never fully convincing. Brady Hartfield comes across as hapless and incompetent the majority of the time which kills tension and dulls the fear factor. He also makes some pretty unforgivable computer faux pas despite being described as a mastermind behind a mouse and keyboard. Secondary characters such as Holly are introduced fairly late on and come across as flat and clichéd, and Jerome's 'Tyrone Feel Good' thing is embarrassing to say the least.
I read Mr Mercedes in a matter of days and, don't get me wrong, it wasn't awful but it pales in comparison to the multi-layered stories that got me into King as a youngster.I rejoiced after reading Joyland and 11.22.63 believing King had battled his way back to his best. However, successive releases have me worrying that these two were merely updates to some of his fabled 'trunk novels' shelved years ago when he still had an awesome and formidable talent.
By all means, pick this up if you're a King completionist like me, just don't expect to have your socks knocked off! If you're new and looking to get into King, I'd look to his older works such as Salem's Lot, IT, and The Stand.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mr Mercedes,
King at his best! Gripping, suspenseful and character driven, as always.He get's better and better. I highly recommend this book.
4.0 out of 5 stars An easy ride,
I count this as one of Stephen Kings in between books or good easy read and this is what Mr Mercedes is. The story line is simple enough and I suppose if you wanted to be pedantic you could pull a few holes in it, but at the end of the day I enjoyed it. I enjoyed this far more than Mr King's last offering Dr Sleep which I felt was sorely lacking particularly as it was supposed to be a sequel to The Shining. The characters slip into the story easy enough and you can see the main character of Hodges being played in the film version by any number of American character actors. Brady the psychotic bad guy was perhaps not psychotic enough and I got the impression that Mr King was unsure how far to take Brady into the twilight world of hearing voices and speaking to the dead. I would have liked a little more of this if I'm honest. Overall though a good read, not taxing, not overly long and not complicated.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thumping good read,
Oh my word, this is absolutely awesome and Stephen King at his very best. He has long since been my favourite author especially Salem's Lot, Green Mile, Dead Zone etc and I just adored 11.22.63; but not for one minute did I think Mr Mercedes could top it, but it certainly does. It is a fantastic book and I immersed myself in it from the outset and didn't want it to end at all.
From the outset it gripped me with the brutal murder of innocent people whilst they were queueing overnight to secure a job. A Mercedes ploughs into them killing 8 and severely injuring many.
We hear the story from the 'perks' point of view who is obviously as mad as a hatter, and taunts the brilliant Detective Kermit William Hodges (known as Bill) with a letter, a year after the atrocity and when Bill has retired.
Bill does a little investigating of his own and goes to meet Janelle Patterson (Janey) who is the sister of Olivia Trelawney who was the owner of the killer car and has subsequently committed suicide.
Bill has a gardener, Jerome, who is 17 years old and they have a brilliant friendship. I really liked Jerome and his alter ego, Tyrone Feelgood Delight.
Bill starts to become hot on the heels of the dreadful Mr Mercedes but he (and we) know that he misses a vital clue early on in the investigation (from one of his busy body neighbours, Mrs Melbourne) which he totally disregards and he comes to utterly regret this.
The pace never lets up and the whole thing is simply mesmerising. Be warned though there are some real tearjerking moments in this too.
This would make a fantastic movie, in the mould of the fantastic Shawshank Redemption, and I would dearly love to see the brilliant Bill, Jerome and Janey come to life on the big screen.
This man just gets better and better and I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic,
I've been waiting for this book to become available and I'm so pleased I bought it as soon as it came out. I couldn't put it down! It's not your usual Stephen King book as nothing goes bump in the night but it's definitely on my list of favourite Stephen King books. Would recommend it to everyone. The characters are likeable and it's easy to understand the choices they make and why the story unfolds the way it does.
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best King book,
'Mr Mercedes' follows retired policeman Bill Hodges who is haunted by the major case that he failed to solve, the killing of 8 people with a Mercedes car. He launches an unofficial investigation after being contacted by someone claiming to be the killer and along the way two other people get dragged into helping him investigate. There is a love story in this and mental health as well as an implied incestuous relationship and the idea of ghosts. I was really looking forward to reading this based on the plot synopsis but sadly I did not feel like it read up to expectations, I found it to be slow and quite a laborious read and I did not particularly enjoy reading it. The last 100 pages or so were quite good and certainly faster paced which helped to make it more enjoyable but I would not recommend this as a fantastic King read.
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