Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Mr. Mercedes; Stephen King

 Mr. Mercedes; Stephen King
Simon & Schuster Audio - June - 2014

In Mr. Mercedes, Stephen King hooks his readers early on.  Picture the scene - hoards of people in line, waiting for the doors to open for a job fair in an economically depressed mid-west town -- I'm picturing somewhere in Ohio. People are making small talk to pass the time when a crazed psycho sees a chance to get his kicks.  The nutcase behind the wheel of a stolen "Mercedes" plows the vehicle into the crowd. Several dead, many injured, some maimed. The driver disappears, but he's not going away that easily.

The "Mercedes" driver is 30-something, Barry Hartsfield, a computer savvy loser who works fixing computers and also drives an ice cream truck. He's never had a girlfriend, lives with his doting, alcoholic mother and, she has more than few screws loose herself.

Hartsfield, still roaming free becomes brazen and begins corresponding with the now retired detective from the case, Bill Hodges. He sends Hodges a letter and continues to taunt him back into action in a game of cat and mouse.

There were several things I liked about this SK novel -- no real horror or gore, a great hook at the beginning to keep you reading/listening, and the fact that we are told who the "Mercedes" driver was early on. I loved how disturbed and creepy King made Brady and his mother feel and there was a good amount of tension at times as well. King also did a decent job fleshing out the ancillary characters --including the "Mercedes" owner. I wasn't thrilled with the very brief romantic relationship written into the story. It seemed kind of unnecessary to me. 

Overall, I'd say this story did live up to the hype that was created. The audio version, read by Will Patton, was very well done.  Readers who enjoy a good cat and mouse story should try Mr. Mercedes -- the first of a trilogy.

4/5 stars 
(audio book)

17 comments:

  1. After seeing you mentioned that Mr. Mercedes had "no real horror or gore", I'm thinking about reading it! I don't like King's horror, but loved his 11/22/63. Is Mercedes more similar to that?

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  2. A great review Diane, thank you :)

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  3. I didn't realize this was the beginning of a trilogy! Looks good.

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  4. New one for me. Thanks for the review.

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  5. I was just looking at this at the bookstore yesterday. I'm always hesitant to pick up a King novel because I'm not a horror genre lover. I do love 11/23/62. So, a murder mystery seems more my speed.

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  6. I agree with Sarah - I'm more interested in SK without the horror or gore parts! :--)

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  7. No real horror or gore makes this more appealing to me, too!

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  8. Some times with trilogies I like to wait until the whole thing is released and then binge read it!

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  9. I've been wanting to read King for awhile and this sounds like a great place for me to start. I love that it's more suspense than horror and the lack of gore is very appealing!

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  10. I agree on the romance. Seemed tacked on, to me.

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  11. The more I hear about this one, the more I think I'd like to read it. Like so many others here have said, the fact that it isn't gory appeals to me.

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  12. Diane, this sounds not-so-gory good to me, and that it would be very enjoyable (best?) as an audiobook. Terrific review of Mr. Mercedes!

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  13. We like the creepy King dude!

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  14. I love his books... creepy or not, I wanna read this one bad!

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  15. I have read several of his, the very early titles. I appreciate his talent, his gift of description, and his psychological suspense thrills, even the creepiness-- but don't appreciate his gore and violent destruction, horror-style. If this one isn't as gory, I might pick it up, so thanks!

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  16. I still have this on the to-read shelf for summer. Sounds like its a good one. I just read The Regulators, an older book under his previous pen name!

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  17. I had forgotten about the romance. King should just stick to horror and mystery! I did like this one. A little different from his usual stuff.

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