When we last left retired detective Bill Hodges and his friends Jerome Robinson and Holly Gibney in Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes, they’d just put the wraps on murderous nutjob Brady Hartsfield (a.k.a., the Mercedes Killer), preventing him from detonating a bomb (and himself in the process) at a music concert. Despite suffering a heart attack during the final pages of Mr. Mercedes, Hodges recovers with a new outlook on life and opens his own private detective agency, which brings us to the second book in the Bill Hodges Trilogy, appropriately titled Finders Keepers. This one involves the thirty-year-old unsolved murder of famed (and reclusive) writer John Rothstein, author of the famous Runner trilogy, at the hands of his number-one fan, Morris Bellamy. That’s not a spoiler, by the way, as this crime takes place in the first chapter. No, it’s the long-reaching consequences of this crime that drive the plot of Finder Keepers.
See, Mr. Bellamy not only got away with murder (he was incarcerated for something else, mind you), he also got away with some very extremely valuable items filched from Rothstein’s house, items a collector would pay a fortune for. Unfortunately, decades after Bellamy stashed them near the house he grew up in, a good kid named Pete Saubers (now living in that same house) stumbles upon their hiding place and seizes an opportunity to help his struggling family out of a rough spot. But with Bellamy recently released from prison, it’s only a matter a time before the rabid old wolf comes sniffing around his hidey hole, and when he discovers his ill-gotten gains missing, he won’t stop until he finds them, no matter who he has to kill to reclaim them.
Unless Hodges can stop him first.
Just like Mr. Mercedes before it, Finders Keepers is the kind of wild ride only Stephen King can give you. I enjoyed this book immensely, and I loved the slapstick chemistry between Hodges, Jerome, and Holly as they worked together to stop Bellamy. My only criticism would be that it was sometimes frustrating waiting for Hodges and the gang to catch up with what’s already been revealed to the reader, but that aside, the story—particularly Bellamy’s backstory—makes for some serious page turning. And, King lays out a few unsettling hints (of the supernatural variety) about what to expect in book 3 of the Bill Hodges Trilogy. Next summer can’t get here soon enough.