Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
Setting aside his usual horror tropes for this title, King shows readers he’s not afraid the take on the detective novel. It’s still scary, but this time in a crazy human way with no help needed from the supernatural. In the early morning hours of a depressed Midwest city, the promise of one thousand jobs has hundreds of unemployed folks lined up at the civic center for a job fair. Some of them have been there since the previous evening, hoping to be some of the lucky ones who may be able to pay next month’s rent. Just before 5 A.M., a gray Mercedes sedan plowed into the crowd, backed up, ran over more innocents, then somehow escaped off into the early morning mist. The escaped mass murderer is nicknamed Mr. Mercedes and still haunts the lead detective from the case, even though Bill Hodges retired months ago from the police force. Like so many retired police officers he knows, Hodges now has little to live for and spends his days in front of the television, toying with his father’s old Smith & Wesson 38 service revolver. “On a couple occasions he has slid it between his lips, just to see what it feels like to have a loaded gun lying on your tongue and pointing at your palate.” His suicidal thoughts stop quickly when he receives a crank letter from someone identifying himself as the Mercedes Killer, and taunting Hodges about spying on him and his now-empty life. While the letter claims that the killer has had his fill of violence, the former detective knows that’s not how serial killers work, and the book becomes a fast-paced, high stakes hunt as Hodges tries to find the shrewd killer before he strikes again.
If you are expecting another fabulous horror story like The Stand or It, you will not find it here. That being said, I still think this is a super fun book and was hardly able to put it down. King is a master of suspense, and this latest title proves that in a new way. I highly recommend this to Stephen King and mystery/suspense fans.