Book Review, Stephen King

Book Review: Mr. Mercedes

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3 Stars

First of all can I just say that I’m so done with listening to older guys getting way too into awkward sex scenes when narrating audiobooks… I wasn’t that great of a fan of the narrator in the first place and after that it just got really painful. Will Patton drawled his way through this and while it was okay most of the time, sometimes he just completely lost the plot and irritated me with the way he portrayed certain characters. I’m also sure that the book was 100% longer than it needed to be because he insisted on maintaining a snail’s pace… but that’s up for debate.

Moving on… I’m a big King fan, but I’m not blind to his faults. Hey, everyone has them, so who am I to judge right? I know he’s a great writer and most of the time I absolutely adore his work, but honestly this isn’t the first time I didn’t love something he did. I’m not sure if this is true, because even though I’m a fan I haven’t read all his work, but I think this is the first time he’s tackled the crime thriller genre; and yeah I’m going to vote that he gives it up and sticks to horror… although I’m willing to stick it out for the rest of this series.

The characters felt recycled and thin, trying too hard to be either liked or hated. Hodges is supposed to be one of the best detectives his county had, but throughout this book he does the stupidest things and flagrantly disregards the law in multiple instances. Yet he’s kind of forced down your throat as the good guy, the one you’re rooting for. I mean if he was just any other old Joe who was flirting with thoughts of ending it after retiring and realizing that he created his whole existence around his work and is now nothing without it… so yeah okay maybe he needed this “case” to save himself. But I still don’t think his actions were corresponding to the person we’re told he is…

Brady Hartfield is your run of the mill “bad guy”. He’s impossibly hateful and mostly insane, but also super smart and lucky. He blames everyone but himself for his actions as well as the repercussions and his mommy issues are sometimes cringeworthy but mostly it’s recycled psycho stuff. Said mommy probably had a lot to do with how he turned out though, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she also had a nest of snakes in her brain because damn she was screwed up…

In the supporting cast nobody felt genuine or even original (except maybe Holly… she was refreshingly crazy). The plot itself was patchy and needed too many excuses to be even a little bit believable. Most of the time Hodges takes things for granted, doesn’t make obvious connections and just generally mucks things up even more than they already are. Honestly, without his “supporting characters” he probably wouldn’t have gotten far at all and Brady would have gotten his wish…

Having said all that, this was still enjoyable enough to keep me listening, and King’s writing is always uniquely riveting. I’ll give the series another chance and pick up Finders Keepers next, although I don’t have much hope of character improvement…

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5 thoughts on “Book Review: Mr. Mercedes”

  1. I spit out a mouthful of tea when I read your opening few sentences… old men reading sex scenes aloud sounds hilarious! I kept picturing my Granddad sputtering and tut-tutting. I haven’t read ‘Mr Mercedes’ yet, but want to – I have read a lot of Stephen King, and there is a certain fomulaic method to his writing and characters – but his books are more of a guilty pleasure for me, so I forgive him some misgivings often. Maybe I should start becoming more discerning? What is your favorite Stephen King novel though… maybe King has fallen into churning out books so quickly some are published ‘under-cooked?’

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    1. Oooohhh… don’t you know asking a reader their favorite book is like asking a mother who her favorite child is!? But I’d have to say The Stand is one of my all time favorites ever. Also, his Dark Tower series is darkly amazing.
      I also find his books very comforting in that he does seem to stick to a formula… I never really noticed! Even when I don’t fully enjoy something, I still do πŸ™‚
      Definitely think he gets “Best Seller” status just coz of the name though… not all his stuff deserves it.

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      1. Ha ha… I was half expecting a long list of half his titles. I find it hard to chose a favorite too. You cinched it nicely though. I’ve yet to read both The Stand and the Dark Tower Series (but I’m changing that very soon.) King’s writing pulls out nostalgia for me, because I started reading his novels in my tween years, (along with Dean Koontz and Clive Cussler) so now every time I read a novel I am transported back to when I had braces, pimples, hiding in my room reading under the poster of Michael J. Fox… oops, I think I said too much πŸ˜‰

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        1. Hahaha, yeah my first King was The Tommyknockers, and although it’ll always have a special place in my heart, there’s definite reminders of teenage acne and socially awkward emo phases… although I didn’t have the Michael J Fox poster… πŸ˜‰

          Liked by 1 person

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