The master of horror is back with a new novel that surprisingly lacks horror. Not that this is a bad thing. King most recently did this with Joyland, where there was a ghost story lurking in the background of what was a great little murder mystery. In Mr. Mercedes, it is indeed another crime thriller, except you know right from the first few pages who committed the crime. This is a story about a retired detective and two unlikely associates who track down the bad guy before he can commit another mass murder. His first mass murder takes place in the first chapter, when the bad guy drives through a crowd of people waiting in line for a job fair.
I like it when Stephen King steps away from the horror genre and tries something different. There are no supernatural monsters in this story, but there is a real one, and King takes you right into the killer’s warped mind. I loved the story of pursuit as the retired detective broke a lot of the rules of protocol when tracking down this killer. There are some excellent psychological exchanges between the killer and the detective that will keep you wondering if the good guys will actually win. This book is also not incredibly long—sometimes King can crank out eight hundred pages or more, but this one is rather brief. The action keeps it moving along until the exciting conclusion.
I give it a B+.
Stephen King recently announced that there are two more books coming that involve these characters, so be ready for a sequel.
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