There is always much excitement when it comes to a new Stephen King; after keeping us in a King-drought for some years after his novel 11.22.63 (you can see my review here); he then hit us hard with the long awaited sequel to The Shining, with Doctor Sleep; and now Mr Mercedes, which side steps King’s usual style of horror/paranormal genre. In Mr Mercedes, King surely shows us that he deserves the title King of Fiction.
Imagine a Mercedes ploughing through a line of job seekers one cold morning. And so begins Mr Mercedes as newly retired, and decorated, Detective Hodges adjusts to his now dull and lack luster life after fighting crime and taking down mafia bosses; the type of life that makes him think shoving a gun in his mouth sounds like a treat, well at least now. As all retired detectives seem to have some unsolved cases, and the Mercedes Killer case bubbles to the surface when Hodges receives a letter from the Mercedes Killer himself – or so he assumes is a ‘he’.
Brady is living with his semi comatose and alcoholic mother, a disturbing story to say the least. His greatest achievement is driving a stolen Mercedes into a line of unemployed men and women, killing hundreds. It seems he is growing bored, so he decides to rub salt into the wound by taunting Detective Hodges.
Hodges grows hungry and begins to follow the lead, as the case starts to unwind, new clues begins to pop up; especially since the Mercedes killer is getting sloppy. He better work fast because Brady has a plan that will make the Mercedes murder look like child’s play.
It's no secret Stephen King is one of our times greatest novelists; he is no Julian Barnes in terms of style and lyrical prose; what King truly is: is a storyteller - the only author to make clowns feared, and the phrase redrum send shivers down your spine.
The great thing about this cat and mouse thriller novel is that King does it so well. The plot plods, an old woman on a Zimmer frame kind of plod, I felt that it was almost contrite and vastly differing from King’s usual style of writing - was I expecting pacy plot or a paranormal scene with walls coated in blood and animals howling at the moon; Oh, I don't know.Kind did not completely fail his fans with the newest addition to his repertoire. King threads the reader with a double effort of great characterization and you’re bound to be left hungrily gobbling the story up - he dishes up the suspense, if not plot, as if it were soup for the poor and hungry. You'll charge through this novel quickly - it's worth it.
Watch Stephen King talking about his inspiration for Mr Mercedes.