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Mr. Mercedes: A Novel Hardcover – June 3, 2014


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; 1ST edition (June 3, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476754454
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476754451
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,339 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #149 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

King’s interest in crime fiction was evident from his work for the Hard Case Crime imprint—The Colorado Kid (2005) and Joyland (2013)—but this is the most straight-up mystery-thriller of his career. Retired Detective Bill Hodges is overweight, directionless, and toying with the idea of ending it all when he receives a jeering letter from the Mercedes Killer, who ran down 23 people with a stolen car but evaded Hodges’ capture. With the help of a 17-year-old neighbor and one victim’s sister (who, in proper gumshoe style, Hodges quickly beds), Hodges begins to play cat-and-mouse with the killer through a chat site called Under Debbie’s Blue Umbrella. Hodges’ POV alternates with that of the troubled murderer, a Norman Bates–like ice-cream-truck driver named Brady Hartfield. Both Hodges and Hartfield make mistakes, big ones, leaving this a compelling, small-scale slugfest that plays out in cheery suburban settings. This exists outside of the usual Kingverse (Pennywise the Clown is referred to as fictive); add that to the atypical present-tense prose, and this feels pretty darn fresh. Big, smashing climax, too. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: No need to rev the engine here; this baby will rocket itself out of libraries with a loud squeal of the tires. --Daniel Kraus

Review

"Pays off exuberantly... Surprising and invigorating." (Megan Abbott The New York Times)

"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)

More About the Author

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes Doctor Sleep and Under the Dome, now a major TV miniseries on CBS. His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller as well as the Best Hardcover Book Award from the International Thriller Writers Association. He is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.

Customer Reviews

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  • "Characters" 286
  • "Writing" 253
  • "Suspense" 101
  • "Action" 55
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

104 of 120 people found the following review helpful By charlotte raines on June 5, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you want aliens,cats that come back or creepy clowns,this is not the book for you. If you love well written King storys, it is. If you enjoyed Shawshank and Stand by Me ect., this book will make you happy. 11/22/63 was good, but still used the supernatural to move the story,here it's just people. I think King is at his best when he uses the characters that always feel real.

Enjoy a good story? Tired of the usual crap? Read this.
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241 of 286 people found the following review helpful By Mathlete on May 25, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love this new and improved Stephen King 2.0. I am not going to rehash the publisher's summary or go too deep into the plot as some consider writing about ANY plot points as spoilers. There are no spoilers here, just my opinion of the type of readers that would enjoy Mr. Mercedes as much as I did.

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.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Johnny on July 22, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
King negates a heavy hand for an authentic, subtly crafted story. Mr. Mercedes offers dual perspective, enabling a more interesting plot development for King's group of unlikely heroes. A fascinating adventure!
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By W. Perry Hall on June 3, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Like the Ice Cream Man's (stop me when I'm passing by), all Stephen King novels are guaranteed to satisfy.

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.
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70 of 95 people found the following review helpful By trugirl on June 13, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had to check several times to make sure that I was actually reading something by Stephen King while I was reading this novel. Mr. King's narrative usually flows with ease and captures my attention from page 1 to the end of any of his tomes, but this one was easy to put down. I only stayed with it out of curiosity, and my hopes were dashed by the neat bows that were tied at the end. It felt as if he were pandering to a younger or less intelligent audience than he actually has. This was not nearly as good as Gingerbread Girl, any of the stories in All Dark, No Stars, Carrie or 11/22/63. I adore Stephen King's body of work, and purchased this on pre-order (a first for me), and was extremely disappointed in my experience.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By mariela on July 6, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Loved it. Fast paced, nail-biting and wonderful characters
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54 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Avery Wade on June 4, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
All the way through, I kept thinking there must be some mistake; that I must've ordered a book by Dean Koontz. It certainly read like Koontz, minus some of Koontz's clunky rhetorical flourishes. Koontz has made a career of quasi-mysteries featuring stock villains who are always disturbed and fairly perverse. (Koontz even slaps on helpful monikers like "the freak," "the weirdo," etc., just to be sure you get it.)

Although he never goes that far, King does much the same here, and while he certainly can still spin a decent story, every character here is stock: the retried, semi-suicidal detective; the brainy kid-sidekick; the psychiatric basket case of a villain who is, of course, pathetic, inadequate . . . blah, blah, blah; the guy's a hodge-podge of dysfunction. King means this to be somehow explanatory, but in the end, this reads as if King flipped through a psychiatric menu: one from Column A, one from Column B, and oh yeah, quasi-incest in Column C, that's good. Of course, there's a very rich, no-BS, knockout of a dame . . . er, woman. There's even a dog.

It doesn't bother me that there are no supernatural or paranormal elements here. A few of King's better, more grounded and focused books--like THE GIRL WHO LOVED TOM GORDON--have very little of that. The problem here is that the entire plot feels contrived, tired, wan, and forced, and not the least bit convincing. The motely crew assembled to deal with the killer is both obvious and ridiculous. While the writing is strong and King can really set a scene, the story is stale and the end very flat (but I've noticed that from a lot of King's recent work).
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