My first Stephen King novel I read was Carrie followed by The Green Mile. Carrie is the novel I enjoyed the most due to how much I rooted for Carrie as the protagonist. Carrie’s mother is one of the creepiest fictional mothers I have ever read about. Sitting on my “to be read” shelf on good reads was Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes trilogy which is more detective series than horror. Mr. Mercedes certainly wasn’t my favorite Stephen King novel, but I genuinely liked the story set up along with relationships between the characters.
Detective Bill Hodges is retired, overweight and unhappy. His job was what he lived for, so without it, he doesn’t find meaning in his retirement. When Detective Hodges retired, he left few cases unsolved. One unsolved case was the “Mercedes Case” which involved an unsub plowing a Mercedes into a job rally in 2009 killing eight including a young infant baby. In a private chat, Hodges is contacted by the “Mercedes Killer” nicknamed Mr. Mercedes by the media. This private chat brings Hodges purpose in his retirement as he is willing to risk his own safety in catching this killer.
Let’s be serious, Detective Hodges isn’t a character I particularly like. He seems somewhat selfish allowing him to put his eighteen year old house helper and a mentally ill woman into incredible danger to apprehend Mr. Mercedes. He has treated persons of interest in the Mr. Mercedes case with such disdain that it probably contributed to a suicide of a person of interest. I’m more attached to who Detective Hodges teams up with which includes the high school senior, Jerome Robinson and Holly Gibney. Even though Hodges puts their lives in danger, they both make him more human.
Brady Hartsfield is revealed to be the Mercedes killer early on in the novel. He has an inappropriate relationship with his mother and killed his poor disabled brother, Frankie, by pushing him down the stairs. He’s racist, misogynistic, ableist and more. There’s nothing unique about his character and reading his story was probably the least interesting, but necessary to build up this dual between Hartsfield and Hodges.
The mystery isn’t the identity of the Mercedes killer, but what his next plan of attack is. It’s hinted at, but his end goal isn’t revealed until the last 100 pages. The latter half of the book moves much quicker than the first half and I did have trouble getting invested into the story because of the slow build up with all the characters. I will say Brady gets what’s coming to him which I found satisfying.
Overall, I had extremely high hopes for this book and I’m a little disappointed I didn’t like the series more. Fans of Stephen King should give this a shot, but go in with lower expectations. I’m planning on reading the other two books in the series, but it’s not a high priority right now. One day I’ll get around to watching the Mr. Mercedes TV show because Brendan Gleeson was perfectly cast as Det-Ret Bill Hodges. I rated this book 3 stars on good reads.