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Mr. Mercedes: A Novel (The Bill Hodges Trilogy) Hardcover – June 3, 2014
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"Classic Stephen King. Creepy, yet realistic characters that get under your skin and stay there, a compelling story that twists and turns at breakneck speed, and delightful prose that, once again, proves that one of America’s greatest natural storytellers is also one of its finest writers." (Associated Press)
"On one level, Mr. Mercedes is an expertly crafted example of the classic race-against-the-clock thriller. On another, it is a novel of depth and character enriched throughout by the grace notes King provides in such seemingly effortless profusion. It is a rich, resonant, exceptionally readable accomplishment by a man who can write in whatever genre he chooses." (Washington Post)
“Think of Mr. Mercedes as an AC/DC song: uncluttered, chugging with momentum, and a lot harder to pull off than it looks. . . . King has written a hot rod of a novel,perfect for a few summer days at the pool. Mercedes-Benz commands drivers to demand ‘the best or nothing.’ In pop-fiction terms, that motto still applies to Stephen King, too. With apologies to AC/DC, the highway to hell never felt so fun.” (Christian Science Monitor)
“A taut, suspenseful race-against-time book . . . [King is] in reliably fine form.” (The New York Times)
"A taut, calibrated thriller . . . The majority of the book is merciless and unforgiving, and the scariest thing about it is how plausible the whole scenario is." (Miami Herald)
“The nerve-shredding denouement is vintage King—a pulse-pounding race against time . . .” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
“A full-throttle sprint to the finish; the last 80 pages cannot be doled out over multiple reading sessions. You'll have to swallow them all in a single gulp.” (Sarasota Herald Tribune)
“A literary Van de Graaff generator: tightly paced and parsed with dynamic dialogue and traumatic twists.” (Columbus Dispatch)
“An oh-so-dark mystery that never shuts the door on love, loss and, possibly, redemption.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
“No one can create a villain quite like King. . . . [A]ll the elements come together in a very public, potentially explosive finale (with a surprising post script). King fans may find themselves furiously turning pages long into the night.” (Seattle Times)
“Along book that doesn’t feel like one. King’s pacing is perfect here . . . [Y]ou should read Mr. Mercedes. You’ll be checking your automobile’s back seat for months, if not years.” (BookReporter.com)
“A fast-paced whodunit.” (Esquire)
“King excels in his disturbing portrait of Brady, a genuine monster in ordinary human form who gives new meaning to the phrase‘the banality of evil.” (Publisher's Weekly)
“The most straight-up mystery-thriller of [King’s] career…Pretty darn fresh.” (Booklist)
“Nicely dark, never predictable and altogether entertaining.” (Kirkus)
“King deftly takes elements of hard-boiled mysteries and puts a fresh spin on them.” (USA Today)
“A showdown between good and evil that characterizes the best of King's work, regardless of genre.” (Los Angeles Times)
“King may have left out the supernatural in Mr. Mercedes, but his gifts for creating thoroughly believable characters and thrumming suspense are in full play. He keeps raising the stakes and ratcheting up the violence, and just when you think everything is settled there's one spine-icing little turn on the very last page.” (Tampa Bay Times)
“King creates such vivid characters—people you can picture yourself drinking a beer with or inviting over for lunch. So when he puts them in great peril, and that includes Jerome’s family and pet dog and the Mercedes’ owner’s family, it’s a race against time . . .” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
“Hartfield is sensitive, sympathetic and one of King’s most realistic characters. He is a lot like Norman Bates from Psycho, in the worst ways imaginable.You can add Hartfield to the list of great King villains, alongside the shape-shifting monster Pennywise from It and the hypnotic vampire Kurt Barlow from Salem’s Lot.” (Boston Herald)
“A fast-paced cat-and-mouse game between Hodges, the motley group of unlikely heroes that he assembles, and the Mercedes Killer.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
“As always, Stephen King draws very real people and scenes straight out of life as we know it . . .” (Raleigh News & Observer)
“A trimmer-than-usual King, but that doesn't mean he skimps on the suspense and spine-tingling chills.” (People Magazine)
“With Mr.Mercedes, [King] demonstrates that he can still rock a pure genre novel like nobody’s business. . . . a thrilling example of King’s boundless imagination.” (Bookpage)
“A war between good and evil, from the master of suspense whose insight into the mind of this obsessed, insane killer is chilling and unforgettable.” (Cemetery Dance)
“. . . barrels toward a memorable conclusion. King’s work has almost always gotten lost in translation on the big screen, but his tense, propulsive, ultra-fast-paced climax here seems like it was written with the movie in mind.” (Onion AV Club)
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Top Customer Reviews
In my opinion, there are three major buckets of Stephen King fans,
A) Readers that love his earlier works that featured densely written supernatural stories that kindled the type of mental terrorism that innovated the genre. Novels that are deep in character and plot line development to the point they easily reach the level of an 800+ page epic. (See: The Stand)
B) Readers that love his lighter works that loan themselves to the psychological thrillers of the physical and mortal world that are so terrorizing, they wish it was due to a supernatural entity. Novels that don't have as much depth (relatively speaking) or number of characters, but still great reads. (See: Misery)
C) Readers who just enjoy to be entertained and terrorized by the master of horror, regardless of the believability of the plot's premise or source of the fear.
For the hardcore fans that reside in segment A, I think they will feel Mr. Mercedes is a well written novel, but a rare miss by the author they have grown to love. That would be an unfortunate mis-characterization if readers think Mr. Mercedes is a miss due to the lack of page turning details developing voluminous characters and minuscule details of their surroundings. The development of the main characters in Mr.Read more ›
Enjoy a good story? Tired of the usual crap? Read this.
In MR. MERCEDES, King serves up a super-odd, Neapolitan triple scoop: an emotionally-disabled, milquetoast mid-40s lady who still lives with moma; a 6'5" African-American high school kid; and, the main protagonist Bill Hodges, a rather boring, recently-retired and divorced police detective in his mid-60s who failed to solve that last big case (of a Mercedes running over and killing 8 people, including an infant, waiting in line at a job fair).
The novel begins with Hodges parked on his recliner, suffering through the honks of Dr. Phil and drowning his sorrows in a bottle, while occasionally gazing into the end of a loaded revolver's barrel. In the day's mail comes a letter from a guy claiming to be the Mercedes killer, mocking Hodges for his failed efforts to find him. Without providing too many details, the best description I can find for Mr. Mercedes is a psychotic and Oedipal Ice Cream Man bent on toying with Hodges, whom he refers to as "the Det Ret."
As the plot develops, the mismatched trio eventually merge in a rush against time to try saving 4,000 screaming teeny-boppers at a "Round Here" [see, One Direction] concert from the psychotic bomb plot of Mr. Mercedes. Adding to the tension, the kid's mom and sister are in the crowd.
Undeniably, King is still on his game, even without the supernatural to aid his story. The twists in the plot keep coming to build toward a concerto crescendo. This isn't a "character-driven" plodder that'll be taught in lit classes 100 years from now. With the King, The Story Rules and the characters driving the story are sketched with enough detail that you are drawn into the narrative and care what happens.Read more ›
The plot (uncharacteristically weak, slow, and predictable as others have described) centers around an "Extreme Privacy" chat website... where of course you enter your credit card to join, and then you just log in. No password needed, just type in your username. Which is then visible to everyone else on the site. I guess anyone could just log in to your account, huh? That's King's idea of "Extreme Privacy" on the internet, I guess. Funny how that never occurred to anyone. Like, an editor maybe.
Also in this book, King has street thugs saying "bust a cap on yo ass" [sic], tech-savvy teenagers in 2010 referring to the computer case as a "CPU", a young genius bragging about his computer skills by saying "I have the best anti-virus programs money can buy", another tech wiz saying "I know MAC programs inside out", to which her black teenage friend says, quote, "go with your bad self" [sic], and on and on. It just hurts. Every page hurts. I finished it just for completion's sake, but man oh man I wish I had skipped this one.
It's too late for me, but not for you. Save yourself. Don't buy it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very interesting and great characters. The ending was a little abrupt but I guess you have to end them sometime. I would recommend this as a good read.Published 1 day ago by Sheila Ham
king has always been able to write. now he is showing he can write without monsters, supernatural, or aliens.i thought it was perfectPublished 1 day ago by I. Tucker
I love King's books and this one is a great example of his finest. I read this one out of order but it still resonated with me. Looking forward to the last book of the trilogy.Published 1 day ago by Claire Berger
Great story, a
Great story. A must read. King does not disappoint.
To me, Stephen King's books, on a scale of 1-10, rate either a 1 or the 10 with nothing in between. This is a TEN!Published 2 days ago by Amazon Customer
Far from the traditional Master King novel.
Which just goes to show how truly talented he is.
But didn't we already know that
Utter lack of suspense. I trudged through to about page 140 and then just gave up--very uncharacteristic of me. But you get to a point where your time is just not worth it. Read morePublished 2 days ago by allgirl