I’m not sure I’ve read a Stephen King thriller before (Joyland might count but that was more of a coming of age story masquerading as a Horror/Thriller) so Mr. Mercedes is likely my first (but won’t be my last if only because there are two more stories left in the Bill Hodges Trilogy).
Bill Hodges is the retired protagonist of our story who is woken from his suicidal stupor when he receives a letter from the killer of one of the unsolved cases his department had when he retired.
Like any Stephen King book he makes you care about his characters. Even the ones you only spend five minutes with. In the first few pages he introduces a man who meets a woman who is is waiting in line at a job fair with her baby. You feel for their situation right before they are mowed down by Mr. Mercedes.
You’ll find characters to love and to hate and you’ll find sympathy in the unexpected. It wouldn’t be a Stephen King book if any of these weren’t the case.
It is wrapped up in a pretty bow by the simplicity and elegance of his writing. I know I can’t bring it up enough. The words aren’t poetic (King has no illusions of trying to be a literary fiction writer) but yet they flow in such a natural way that reading it is akin to breathing.