Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

MrmercedesHodges has read there are wells in Iceland so deep you can drop a stone down them and never hear the splash. He thinks some human souls are like that.

What it’s about: Months after someone plows a Mercedes into a crowd of job seekers, the killer sends a taunting letter to the lead investigator on the case, now retired, prompting him to restart the investigation as an amateur detective.

Why I liked it: Mr. Mercedes represents a departure for Stephen King from the horror genre he is best known for, which is refreshing for long-time fans like me who feared his more recent offerings had become somewhat repetitive. There isn’t a single supernatural element in this crime novel, although there is plenty to make your stomach turn, with a truly reprehensible villain whose head King takes us into. Although King is trying his hand at the crime genre, he shakes it up a little by making his detective a retired cop, instead of an active-duty one, and by giving him a couple of unusual sidekicks. This novel does have two typical King trademarks: engaging characters whom the reader comes to care about, and a fast-paced, suspenseful plot that keeps the pages turning. There are also one or two surprises along the way (including one scene that I won’t reveal but that just made the book for me, it was so unexpected but perfectly right). While Mr. Mercedes does not stand out as a great Stephen King novel that I’ll want to read again and again, it is a very entertaining read, which makes it a perfect mid-summer release, just in time for beach reading season.

You might like it if: You enjoy dark crime fiction, such as Darkly Dreaming Dexter.

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