I am tying a string around my finger to remind myself that whenever I have a reading slump, I should pick up anything by Uncle Stevie. Whether in audio or print, I've never been let down (well, maybe a wee bit with The Tommyknockers).
But, ahhh, Mr. Mercedes. For the entire month of January, I have a boring commute from home to the Mayo Clinic in the early morning hours so I can receive radiation, and I knew I just couldn't waste that valuable time with any old audio that might make me keep saying to myself, "I'll give it another thirty minutes." I've had to do that so much recently, and it's been trying my patience. Start, stop, download new audio. This seemed to be my recent formula, but Mr. Mercedes certainly was a treat.
Retired detective Bill Hodges has a few cases that he can't quite seem to forget, and one of them is an unsolved spree-kill involving a Mercedes and a group of unemployed candidates waiting in line for the start of a promising job fair. The guy was never caught. But in Bill's retirement, as he sits studying his gun and watching empty reality shows, he just might get the chance to resurrect his love of life because Brady Hartsfield, the killer on that fateful morning, has reached out to Bill and wants to play again. And this time, he might want to go bigger.
It's sort of weird to write that I had a lot of fun listening to this book, particularly when there is a crazed murderer who likes to terrorize people and drive them to the edge. But, I think that's just the way it is with King's works, and either you love this maniacally twisted scenario of alternating viewpoints between nice guy Bill and sinister, aloof Brady, or you find it scary and don't want to continue. I tend to find King's works brilliant because of his uncanny ability to write a character so intensely and with such back story, that you truly feel each moment of their pain and their reactions are understandable. You get to know these messed up and sad folks, and I mean really, really, get to know them. And if you're not willing to dip your toe into the pool of Stephen King's works, then rest assured: Only one scene freaked me out; for the most part, Mr. Mercedes resides more in the 11/22/63 category of non-horror.
Each back story for the primary and secondary characters are thorough and sometimes tough to read/hear, but in this tale, someone must have told Mr. King to lighten up on all the detail and minutiae you would normally find in his books (I happen to like what some people might call the "tedious" details King typically adds to his books to make them so lengthy). Mr. Mercedes, however, is a tightly told story, with strong characters and intense action.
As with most of his books, it ended leaving me absolutely thrilled I had read another of his works, and also wanting more from the other characters. I desperately hope a short story will pop up from Jerome or Holly's perspective one day, the two supporting cast helping Det. Ret. Bill Hodges catch a killer.
Audio Notes: This was my first time listening to Will Patton and he was INCREDIBLE. I'm in love with his voice, a gravelly, gritty, and experienced deep voice that was perfect for a retired police detective, but he also perfectly captures the rest of the cast, everyone from a young seventeen-year-old Jerome to a mid-twenties cold and nonchalant killer, Brady. My personal favorite was Holly, a forty-five-year-old woman with self-described "issues" who still lives with her mother. Will Patton. My new favorite voice.
FTC Disclosure: I purchased this through my Audible.com membership.
About the Author
Stephen King is the author of more than fifty novels, including The Stand, The Dark Tower, It, The Shining, oh...what more can be written that one doesn't already know? So here you go, click here to visit this cool author's official website.
About the Narrator (from Audible.com)
Will Patton has recorded over forty-five audio books, including twenty titles by James Lee Burke, the 50th anniversary release of Jack Kerouac's On the Road, Al Gore's The Assault on Reason. He is a recipient of the Best Male Narrator Audie Award. Click here for his Audible.com page and to see all of the books he's narrated, and click here for the audio sample of Mr. Mercedes.