Friday, July 11, 2014

Mr. Mercedes

His name is Brady Hartsfield, and he's a killer. Of course, you'd never know it if you were meeting him for the first time. He certainly seems like a nice young man. As a member of the Discount Electronix Cyber Patrol, he fixes computers (and makes house calls--maybe he's resuscitated your ailing PC?), and on his afternoons off he drives an ice-cream truck. Heck, your kids might have even bought a cone from the nice Mr. Tastey man just the other day. But behind the smile and the neighborly yes-sir-no-ma'am demeanor lies a bottomless pit of pure wrong, the sort of wrong that once compelled Brady Hartsfield to plow a stolen Mercedes SL500 into a crowd of innocents. Depravity like that doesn't just fade away, and Brady's about to scratch the itch again. . . .

Detective Bill Hodges, six months retired, is on his last legs, his best days seemingly behind him. He now marks his time parked in his La-Z-Boy, watching the idiot box and dying a long, slow death of boredom while contemplating an even quicker demise with his father's .38 Smith & Wesson M&P revolver. His job was his life, and without that, what else is there? But one afternoon, on a day no different than the one before it, Hodges receives a nice, "Hi ya, pal!" letter from the one scumbag he never caught: The Mercedes Killer. Brady. And far from having the intended effect of pushing Hodges completely over the edge and into the business end of that .38, it lights a fire under his can and puts him back on the case. Unofficially, of course.  

Mr. Mercedes, Stephen King's latest thriller (yes, thriller), is the story of the cat-and-mouse chase that ensues between one retired, overweight detective, and one cunning, murderous freak. Does Hodges finally get his man? Can he stop Brady from going out in a blaze of glory and taking even more lives with him? I'll leave that up to you, dear reader, to find out, and trust me: it's one heck of a ride.

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