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23 of 23 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 8 months ago by Ben.S

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for me
Retired Detective Bill Hodges is unsettled in life, contemplating suicide he gets a letter through the post from a man who drove into a crowd of people just before Hodge's retirement killing them . Driven to seeking out the killer he befriends Janey , the sister of the woman whose car was used in the massacre and from there forms an unusual friendship with her niece Holly...
Published 2 months ago by F Keegan


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23 of 23 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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Looking forward to the next one, 6 Sept. 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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4 of 4 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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4 of 4 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Non Horror King, just as good., 4 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Mr Mercedes (Hardcover)
What is it about?

Stephen King used to be my favourite horror author, but lately he is fast becoming one of my favourite authors regardless of genre. Throughout his career he has deviated at times from his standard of shocking his constant readers (The Body, Hearts in Atlantis), but lately it seems that non horror is becoming a more frequent staple.
Mr Mercedes features recently detective Bill Hodges, a man who was exceptionally good at his job, but with a cloud hanging over him in the form of the unsolved Mr Mercedes case. Now sat at home with nothing but daytime tv for company, he feels depressed and useless, his mind wandering over both past events and his own suicide. Out of the blue he is contacted by the Killer and this proves to be the shot in the arm he needs, believing the killer will strike again Hodges once again puts his detecting skills to the test, but can he find the killer in time?

What did I like?
King has created one of his most real ‘bad’ guys in the form of Brady Hartsfield, in this character you will find no supernatural powers, no links with the dead or no demonic possession, but you may well find something even more horrifying, the concept that the most twisted criminals could very easily be living next door to you. As the novel progresses we discover more of Brady’s background history and the levels of depravity to which he has stooped, it will even make you look at your own neighbours in a different light. King allows both Hartsfield and Hodges to share their views with the reader, with almost alternating chapters being told by each character. The reader can see the cat and mouse chase from both viewpoints, and although this makes the reader aware of the killer very early in the novel, it takes nothing away from the suspense.

Would I recommend?
Definitely. But not only to fans of King, but also to readers that previously may have been put off discovering King by his being typecast as a writer of horror.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like James Patterson? You'll LOVE this. FABULOUS, 24 Jan. 2015
By 
Jason Hanrahan (Mirfield, West Yorkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Mr Mercedes (Kindle Edition)
I have been a fan of Stephen King for thirty years and used to read everything he wrote when it was released (remember those hardcover book of the month BCA book club volumes?) but seemed to drift away from his work somewhere around the release of Insomnia and had read little of his work since (From a Buick 8 and Under The Dome have been exceptions). This was the second of his works that I received as gifts for Christmas and have subsequently read, and what a real pleasure it has been.

So many of KIng's works don't sit comfortably within the supernatural horror genre with which he is often associated (Misery, Hearts in Atlantis, Delores Claiborne, Green Mile, Rita Heyworth and the Shawshank Redemption), and this is another example. But the fact is, regardless of genre, King is a superb writer. His characterisations are usually so good that his writing would be readable even without a plot. I have also long felt that despite coming up with great ideas for a story often he seems to not quite know how to wrap things up and there are some odd endings (the uncomfortable way the children "bond" in IT followed by the main character cycling around with his comatose girlfriend/wife on his bike handlebars, the skunk and shopping trolley in Misery - don't believe me, go check it out). However Mr Mercedes has a cracking plot with a washed up retired detective in a cat and mouse chase with an increasingly psychotic electronics expert, that drives along [sorry] at a great pace, and builds to a great climax which will keep you hooked. This is an engaging pure detective thriller with no hints of the supernatural. If you like the fast paced Alex Cross novels of James Patterson then this will appeal to you.

After hearing glowing recommendations from several friends I read this after King's other recent work, Revival but this detective thriller is in a different league to that other work. As a re-introduction to Stephen King this was an absolutely brilliant read - I really enjoyed this book. I can already see the film staring James Caan in the lead role.

Fabulous.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still the King, 21 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Mr Mercedes (Hardcover)
I won't waste too much time expounding on the obvious; others have stated it far more succinctly than I will ever be able to. This isn't a Stephen King horror story, per se. Oh, no doubt, there IS horror. Buckets of it, in fact. Only this time King turns his hand to the possibly more frightening realm of everyday human horror, and with chilling poignancy.
The villain of the piece is every bit as frightening as any of Mr King's more supernatural Big Bads. I was reading this, and kept hearing the ice cream van making the tour of the streets where I live. Freaked me out a little. Because the point is so beautifully made. It could be anybody. Nobody really can tell under the surface.
Constant Readers will find one or two Easter Eggs to King's earlier work, this feature becoming more prominent in his writing since he used the device as a plot staple in his Dark Tower books. They're enjoyable nods, self indulgent, and yet they made me smile. As they no doubt did with my fellow CR's.
I shan't give too much plot away, only to say that while there are no bumps in the night to be found here, Stephen King is still one of the very best character writers that I have ever had the pleasure of reading. I was fully invested in every single one of the characters in this book. Even without the horror. Maybe King's secret has been that the horror is only felt, because his character work is so good.
This is a sublime work of fiction, and I devoured it in an evening/following morning session. Utterly recommended to fans of King, and a very good place to start for the King-curious, without getting bogged down in the minutiae of his Dark Tower-centric earlier works.
Absolutely essential.
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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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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