“Mr. Mercedes” is not your typical Stephen King novel. Within its pages, you will not find ghosts (real or imagined), spooky children, anyone with telekinesis, or rabid dogs. Yet, what you will find are the same thrills, engaging characters and a scary killer that, in some ways, is the most frightening threat he has ever created because it is the most real.
On a cool and foggy morning, a large group of desperate people have gathered outside a job fair in the hopes of securing a future and improving their lives, all the while unaware that a mad-man in a stolen Mercedes is just waiting to run as many of them down, as possible. Foot on the pedal, the engine revs and thus begins Stephen King’s new mystery-thriller and an introduction to one of his most frightening characters ever.
In “Mr. Mercedes”, Stephen King takes the reader on a horrifying journey through the mind of a disturbed individual who could easily be our next door neighbor. It is this thought that is, perhaps, the most frightening aspect of Mr. Mercedes. The fact that no one is truly safe when the danger is impossible to recognize and lives on our same street, works in stores that we frequent and watches our every move is out-right terrifying, because it is all so possible.
The character of retired Detective Bill Hodges is straight out of an old television police drama. Divorced and over-weight, the job was his entire life and once that was gone, the temptation to end it all rattles in his mind like the unsolved cases of his past, including the “Mr. Mercedes” massacre.
When he is contacted through a letter by someone who claims to be “Mr. Mercedes”, Hodges is given a new purpose to his life and a reason to keep going; this time, he’s going to catch the son of a bitch.
The novel touches often upon the distance between the generations; the ease with which so many people can use and abuse the internet and the inherent problems that come from the inability to understand new technology.
To solve those issues, “Mr. Mercedes” introduces the characters of Jerome and Holly, each unique in their own way and integral to Hodges investigation.
Once formed, it will take this odd trio to bring down an insane killer and solve one of the most gruesome crimes Stephen King has ever conceived of.
As with all Stephen King novels, the characters are people we know or think we know. We are comfortable in his world but perhaps too comfortable. We are fascinated by the story but always lurking in the back of our minds is how many of these sick, twisted individuals are really out there, among us, and it is this thought that makes “Mr. Mercedes” not only a great mystery-thriller, but another masterpiece from the only person who can give life to those everyday fears that we don’t want to think about.
Reminiscent of the great cop novels by Joseph Wambaugh but with that added sick twist that only the mind of Stephen King can conjure, “Mr. Mercedes” is another great novel for the unmitigated and undisputed “Master of the Macabre”.