MR. MERCEDES by Stephen King

MR. MERCEDES

KIRKUS REVIEW

In his latest suspenser, the prolific King (Joyland, 2013, etc.) returns to the theme of the scary car—except this one has a scary driver who’s as loony but logical unto himself as old Jack Torrance from The Shining.

It’s an utterly American setup: Over here is a line of dispirited people waiting to get into a job fair, and over there is a psycho licking his chops at the easy target they present; he aims a car into the crowd and mows down a bunch of innocents, killing eight and hurting many more. The car isn’t his. The malice most certainly is, and it’s up to world-weary ex-cop Bill Hodges to pull himself up from depression and figure out the identity of the author of that heinous act. That author offers help: He sends sometimes-taunting, sometimes–sympathy-courting notes explaining his actions. (“I must say I exceeded my own wildest expectations,” he crows in one, while in another he mourns, “I grew up in a physically and sexually abusive household.”) With a cadre of investigators in tow, Hodges sets out to avert what is certain to be an even greater trauma, for the object of his cat-and-mouse quest has much larger ambitions, this time involving a fireworks show worthy of Fight Club. And that’s not his only crime: He's illegally downloaded “the whole Anarchist Cookbook from BitTorrent,” and copyright theft just may be the ultimate evil in the King moral universe. King’s familiar themes are all here: There's craziness in spades and plenty of alcohol and even a carnival, King being perhaps the most accomplished coulrophobe at work today. The storyline is vintage King, too: In the battle of good and evil, good may prevail—but never before evil has caused a whole lot of mayhem.

The scariest thing of all is to imagine King writing a happy children’s book. This isn’t it: It’s nicely dark, never predictable and altogether entertaining.

Pub Date: June 3rd, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4767-5445-1
Page count: 448pp
Publisher: Scribner
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2014




9 NOVELS SO SCARY YOU’LL BE TRICKED AND TREATED:

ChildrenTHE CURE FOR DREAMING by Cat Winters
by Cat Winters
ChildrenTHE FALL by Bethany Griffin
by Bethany Griffin
ChildrenINTO THE GREY by Celine Kiernan
by Celine Kiernan
FictionMR. MERCEDES by Stephen King
by Stephen King

OUR CRITICS' TAKES ON MORE BESTSELLERS

See full list >
Cover art for VANISHING GIRLS
VERDICT:
SKIP IT
Cover art for A DANGEROUS PLACE
VERDICT:
BORROW IT
Cover art for DOROTHY MUST DIE
VERDICT:
SKIP IT
Cover art for WOLFIE THE BUNNY
VERDICT:
BORROW IT

MORE BY STEPHEN KING

FictionREVIVAL by Stephen King
by Stephen King
FictionDOCTOR SLEEP by Stephen King
by Stephen King

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

FictionMYSTIC RIVER by Dennis Lehane
by Dennis Lehane
IndieCOLD AS ICE by Ralph Motley Jr.
by Ralph Motley Jr.
MysteryRED LIGHT by Graham Masterton
by Graham Masterton
FictionCARRION COMFORT by Dan Simmons
by Dan Simmons
FictionLAST STORIES AND OTHER STORIES by William T. Vollmann
by William T. Vollmann