Jul 2, 2015
Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King (Unabridged Audio Version)
MR. MERCEDES begins with a terrible act of violence against innocent people waiting in line at a job fair. King doesn't keep the identity of the assailant a secret, rather he allows the reader to get to know him quite well. His weapon of choice is a classic Mercedes sedan that he had stolen from an unsuspecting older woman. After mowing down and killing several people (this is not a spoiler), he simply drives away, parks the car and slips into the darkness.
Bill Hodges is the detective from the case who is now retired and who has never gotten over the fact that the case remains unsolved. It nags at him daily to the point that he fantasizes about ending his own life. This line of thinking is halted when he receives a taunting letter in the mail presumably from the killer.
Admittedly, I am not a reader of horror novels and I don't really know all that much about Stephen King but when I became aware that he had written a detective novel, that intrigued me. Then I learned that it would become a trilogy and I was really interested. I do know that King doesn't normally write detective stories and with my affection for crime novels, I knew I couldn't pass this up.
With the attack at the job fair happening at the very beginning, you don't have to wait long to get sucked into the story. I liked that King doesn't hide who the killer is from the reader. Knowing who he is and also that he could be any Joe Blow down the street is actually more frightening than wondering who he is. On the outside he seemed like a normal guy but as more and more of his life and personality were revealed, he became more and more sinister. Although I didn't love the ending of the book, it was easier to accept knowing there are more books to come. It seems kind of weird to go on about a book with such a disturbing story but Stephen King takes us to a place where we would never go and that's what's so exciting about his work. .
Bill Hodges is a no nonsense type of guy who is wracked with guilt over not being able to solve this case. He's a bit rough around the edges but a very smart and likable man. I developed an affection for him right away. He's flawed but he's a good man and I think he's a great character for the focus of this new trilogy.The supporting characters in this book were diverse and very unique and I look forward to reuniting with them in FINDERS KEEPERS, the second book that was just released last month.
I would rate the story 4 stars but I easily give the audio performance 5 stars. That is due to the incredible job by actor Will Patton. I can say without hesitation he is my very favorite narrator. His interpretations of these characters were so meticulously done. He didn't just read the story, he acted it out with his voice. Simply put, he was amazing. I don't know if he received an Audie for his work or not, but he certainly deserved one. He's the main reason I chose this book in audio form and why I'll be listening to the next two installments as well. So overall, I would rate this book a 4.5 and I would recommend it highly, especially to readers who've never read Stephen King before.
MR. MERCEDES (Unabridged Audio Version)
Author: Stephen King
Narrator: Will Patton
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Published: June 3, 2014
Length: 14 Hrs 22 Mns
Source: Purchased from Audible