Originally published June 2016
There are authors. Then there are rock star authors.
Stephen King, whether or not his work is your cup of tea, commands your respect as a writers whose work has stood the test of time—and whose contemporary efforts are just as engaging as his earlier work. His latest, “End of Watch,” does not disappoint.
End of Watch is the third and final book in King’s “Mr. Mercedes” trilogy, though one could make an argument that save for the last chapter or so, “Finders Keepers” could easily be a standalone novel. Readers are invited back into the world of Bill Hodges and Holly Gibney as they work to uncover the true meaning behind an unlikely murder-suicide, only to discover the cause is one very few people would understand, if they even believed it.
It’s a return to the supernatural, a theme well known to King and his fans. Brady Hartsfield, aka Mr. Mercedes, is pushing people to a suicidal brink, and given his own semi-vegetative status, that’s quite a feat. Hence, the dilemma. Who’s going to believe that Brady, who can’t control his own bladder, is controlling minds?
While many of Hartsfield’s victims are contemplating the value of their respective lives, Hodges himself, who earlier considered that kind of exit, is now trying to put this last case to bed before he’s truly out of time. And when faced with his own expiration date, he’s taking stock in not just the mental chess match he’s been engaging in with Brady, but in his relationships with those close to him and those he wishes were closer. I wish King could have fleshed out Hodges’ relationship with his daughter a bit more, but then again, this isn’t that kind of book.
If you haven’t read “Mr. Mercedes,” you need to pick that one up first to understand the backstory here. But I promise you, it’s time well spent.
Anxiously awaiting your next tale, Mr. King.