Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

Mr. Mercedes (Bill Hodges Trilogy, #1)Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
Published by Scribner

From the publisher:

In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes.

In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the “perk” and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy.

Brady Hartfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born. He loved the feel of death under the wheels of the Mercedes, and he wants that rush again.

Only Bill Hodges, with a couple of highly unlikely allies, can apprehend the killer before he strikes again. And they have no time to lose, because Brady’s next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim thousands.

Would you believe that reading Mr. Mercedes was my first time ever reading Stephen King? And that the only reason I read this book is because of one of my book clubs? Crazy, I know. Yet, true. From what I understand, this is one of King’s tamer, more straightforward novels, which kind of makes me nervous to pick up some of his other stuff (because this isn’t exactly tame stuff), but also very, very curious.

So. I was highly entertained by this novel and am finding myself very impressed with King – I get it. He has an incredible talent for writing characters so flawed, so insane batshit crazy, but that are real people. It’s one of those rare things to find in any genre, and to find it in horror/thriller novels is even more special, I think. So first and foremost, I see his talent and am very interested in picking up more of his books.

What I thought was cool about this book is how you know who the bad guy is the whole time, yet there’s still a thrilling sense of urgency throughout the book – will the good guy find the bad guy and stop him in time? Or will thousands of people die? Obviously you need to read the book to find out, but I was furiously turning pages towards the end, biting my nails like a psycho, just desperate to find out how this whole thing turned out.

What I don’t love about these kinds of books is the fact that I’m really squeamish and when something horrible happens that is described in detail, it runs through my head for hours or days or even weeks after I finish a book. There’s only one scene in here that really did that but oh my GOD can I not get that shit out of my head. So I’m scared that more of King’s books have even MORE of this for me to deal with. Anyway.

I thought this book was super great! I will read more of King, I promise. Where should I start?


10 thoughts on “Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King”

  1. Like you I haven’t read King before. I had heard that this was one of his more thriller less horror type books so I was thinking about picking this one up. It sounds like it’s a great read though I shouldn’t read it when my husband’s out of town! Great review!

  2. I suggest 11/22/63.
    I am VERY recent to the King Fan Club and do not like the gore (even tho I am reading Pet Sematary right now), and some of us King-fans like to say that the 11/22/63 book doesn’t have too much ‘woo woo’ crazy stuff (if I remember correctly. It is certainly NOT tops of the list of his horror-inducing books.) It’s about time travel which he really doesn’t bother explaining in any detail and it has a lovely love story component that charmed me. King is SO GOOD at writing characters!!! so good. I loved IT because he totally had me cheering for this gang of middle schoolers – they were drawn SO WELL. But IT is a tough scary one (for the woo woo AND the how real life can SUCK) so I won’t recommend it to you.

    Read his On Writing.
    I read Carrie when in HS, then read ON Writing in the 90s I think. And then read 11/22/63 a few years ago. Only lately – due entirely to Twitter readalong support – did I attempt The Stand, and IT and Bag of Bones, etc. I’m totally bewildered how my King experience has thrived – it’s quite crazy, really.

  3. This is your first?!?! I haven’t read this one yet but I’m definitely interested.

    I’ll just nod my head to everything that Care said above because we’re all part of the same readalong “club” (obviously not formally…we’ve just read several of his books together). They’re FUN to read with a group, even when they’re “scary.” And I’ll second the recommendation for 11/22/63. Under the Dome was an awesome one as well and not scary, just suspenseful.

    1. I know you guys do a lot of King readalongs and I always think that I should join, LOL! Maybe I’ll join the next one…

      I think 11/22/63 will be my next King, maybe followed by Under the Dome? Didn’t they make that one into a TV show?

  4. I don’t read horror, so I haven’t read most of his books, but I LOVED his book On Writing part memoir/part how-to write). It was fabulous.

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