Detective Novels Meet the Master of Horror

Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

I had no idea that this was a detective story when I picked it up from the library a few weeks back. I have enjoyed every single Stephen King story that I have ever read. He just has a way with words and storytelling. However, this one seemed to be a bit different right off the bat.

I almost stopped reading it. I wasn’t interested in reading a story about a serial killer who never got caught and then decides to taunt a retired detective. It’s a tried and tired trope. When I told my wife about my reservations, she said, “It’s Stephen King though, he probably will put a twist on it.”

She was right. This time, it is the detective who strings along the bad guy. The detective was at a really low point in his life at that start of the story. He didn’t have much to live for now that he wasn’t wearing his badge. The thought of finally solving this case and catching the Mercedes Killer rejuvenated him.

The Mercedes Killer is a man totally without conscience. He is the type of guy that is bland, forgettable, but always outwardly pleasant. He hides in plain sight and is easy to hate and fear.

One of the interesting things about the fictional world of this novel is that Stephen King books exist within it. The main character makes reference to a few of the author’s previous works including Christine and It.

Stephen King did a great job in what he calls “his first hard-boiled detective novel.” This is normally a genre I stay away from. But I just discovered that King has written two more books and this is now part of the Bill Hodges trilogy, I might just have to dip back into the detective novel genre.

My List of 2018 Reads – coming soon


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