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.
Mr. Mercedes is a war between good and evil, from the master of suspense whose insight into the mind of this obsessed, insane killer is chilling and unforgettable.
The opening scene of Stephen King’s Mr Mercedes is one that is depressing yet perceptible and realistic. Drawing the reader in with his attention to detail and brilliant characterisation, King was able to have me sympathising with three desperate individuals clinging to the prospect that the day’s job fair might improve their lives significantly. Hundreds of other people, equally affected by the recession take to the ever growing queue and just before the start of the event the twisted and psychopathic Mr Mercedes ploughs into the victims killing eight.
After this shocking event we are introduced to the main protagonist Det. Ret. K. William Hodges. Fallen into a routine of watching evening TV shows with a loaded gun positioned on the table next to him. Divorced and retired from the force, contemplating whether he should bite the bullet. It’s not until a letter arrives in the post that Hodges’s life regains some sense of purpose. As the lead detective in the Mr Mercedes massacre, a crime that was never solved, Hodges is shocked to find Mr Mercedes the writer of the letter.
Brady Hartsfield is a psychopath, intelligent and capable of hiding within plain sight, he shows just how psychotic he is in his letter yet it is during the internal monologue throughout the book and his actions that you truly see how disturbed and sick this individual actually is. The contemporary setting of the book and Brady’s IT expertise make for some interesting developments throughout the book and the use of a secure social networking site called “Under Debbie’s Blue Umbrella” mean that Hodges and Brady can communicate culminating into a cat and mouse game where Hodges must stop Mr Mercedes before he strikes again.
Both Hodges and Brady are compelling characters and I liked the way that Hodges develops throughout, Brady gives him a reason to live again, and having not lost any of his detective skills means Brady has met worthy adversary. Brady and his back story are unveiled throughout the novel and it is quite evident he is a damaged young man but King was still able to shock me with some of the disturbing and graphic scenes and revelations.
The novel involves a number of secondary characters, each as compelling as the two main and it is with one of them, Jerome, a young tech savvy black neighbour, Hodges cooperates with to help out with the cunning Brady Hartsfield.
This book is a great crime thriller with fantastic characterization filled with suspense. Brady’s character is believable which makes his character all that more disturbing. Hodges character has his faults which make him all the more likable as a hero having you route for him throughout. Overjoyed that the book is the first of a trilogy and news that it will be a TV series is just as exciting. A compelling read which I highly recommend.