As most of you know by previous posts, I am a fan of Stephen King. A big fan. But not of everything he’s ever written. There were a few I choked my way through, although most I enjoyed.
Today I finished reading Finders Keepers, somewhat of a continuation of Mr. Mercedes from a number of years back.
I enjoyed everything about the book. The writing was tight as you’d expect from a King novel, details panned out, the characters were better than great because many of them were reappearing from the aforementioned novel so they felt like old friends right from the beginning. The new characters were just as well-developed: Peter Saubers, a young man who finds himself in the right place at the right time, which eventually becomes the wrong time. In a way, he reminds me of a young Jerome, gutsy, street smart, but still possesses enough innocence to feel real.
Peter’s father was injured in the Mr. Mercedes killings and because of that horrific ordeal, has fallen on hard times. He and his wife struggle to stay afloat, and to save their marriage as things become increasingly difficult, until magic money begins coming in. Each month another envelope of $500, totaling $20,000 plus or minus. The benefactor is none other than their 13-year-old son, Pete. When Pete first found the small fortune, he had no idea who it had once belonged to or where it had come from. But once he has mailed his parents the last of it and there is still a need for more, he begins making decisions that become costly.
Enter the trio from Mr. Mercedes, Bill Hodges, Jerome, and Holly. Still the same, but different. Jerome is now a Cambridge man, Holly, although still riddled with issues, has begun to come into her own and is as sharp as ever, holding down the fort at Hodges new business named, Finders Keepers.
With laser precision, King keeps you turning page after page while losing all track of time.
There was a single element of the story I was not a fan of, but this might just be me. I take no issue with a writer ending a book with a question mark, as he did in this novel. But this particular question mark has a different feel to it. Brady Hartsfield, the Mercedes Killer has been locked up since the tragedy. After coming out of the coma he wasn’t supposed to come out of, Hodges has been visiting him every week or two, always to the same sight. Brady is usually sitting in a chair at the window staring at a parking garage. Hodges talks, asks questions, but nothing. Even though Brady is as mute as a doorknob, Hodges always has the feeling there is life behind his dead eyes.
Rumors circulate around the hospital that “things” happen around Brady: pictures fall over by themselves, bathroom faucets turn on and off, again, by themselves. Hodges is there to experience one of these phenomenons when a framed photograph falls face down as he is leaving the room. Brady, who is still seated in his chair, doesn’t seem to notice. After Hodges last visit, once he’s gone, an eReader on Brady’s bedside table turns on and switches between three or four different screens before going dark.
That one brief scene left me feeling like King is setting himself up for a sequel of sorts. Maybe he is and maybe he wanted us to think that. Either way, that’s cool. What I didn’t like about it was that it had an other worldly feel to it, as in something more Sci-Fi, or paranormal. If you’re into that kind of read, I might be getting you all excited at the prospect. For me though, not so much. Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers were both realistic reads, meaning I could see myself there, I could see it happening, there was nothing far-fetched about it. If (and that’s a big if at this point), if he intends to stretch these characters into another book, I hope he will stick with the genre he created them in. Normally, I would say that I don’t see how it could work otherwise, but this is the Stephen King we’re talking about. Twisted $*(&~*& genius.
Would I recommend the read? Absolutely. Especially if you’ve read Mr. Mercedes. Click on the cover below for Amazon’s Look Inside feature and more reviews. Enjoy!