Tuesday 2 February 2016

Book Review: Mr. Mercedes

Mr. Mercedes (Bill Hodges Trilogy, #1)Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is what you get for an impulse buy in Safeway, I mean, a grocery store is a place people go to buy groceries and liquor, not paperbacks! Being accustomed the cold and hard grip of my kindle lately, I just could not turn down the irresistible feeling of all that paper in my hand. And Stephen King has and always will have captured a piece of my heart, so I consider him a trusted source of quality fiction. But his niche is horror - not whodunits!

I enjoyed the first hundred pages or more. A good setup, very interesting characters. Dialogue was sharp, and King's wit was splashed across the pages. He's not always convincing me he has his finger on the early twenty-first century, which is when the book takes place. I mean, sometimes, with words like 'milquetoast', I cannot help picturing an elderly white man penning this book. Not that there's any problem with that, but some of the language is a bit old-fashioned is all. Another nice touch is the exchange of narration from the perspective of the criminal to the perspective of the detective from chapter to chapter. He gets well inside the head of the sick bastard, that's for sure. One of King's strengths, I suppose. But the writing wasn't really special or anything, it was a bit cookie cutter. I kept on thinking, if I took the name King off this book, would I still be reading?

I think this book may have been outlined to perfection, before it was written. It just lacks that certain magic of natural discovery you find in books that are written with less of a perfect plan in place. It is very tidy. All the pieces fit snugly together all the way to the end. Like an editor took it and cut all the juice out of it, to make it more marketable, more salable. Somewhere towards the last couple hundred pages of the book, I started doing those calculations in my mind and that thing where you grab the pages between your forefinger and thumb to save your place, and check for the back matter to see really how much is left to get to the end. It just happened, I couldn't help it.

I really wanted to feel deeply immersed and captivated, after all, King was an author I grew up on and he will always be a champion of horror! Alas, this book is not horror.

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