Finders Keepers stands as a good book on its own though it doesn’t seem like it had to belong to the Bill Hodges storyline. Sure Hodges is in the book and the ending is set up for the third – and final – book in the trilogy but the three characters from the first book (Mr. Mercedes) are only in a quarter (or so) of the book. Another way to say it is that Finders Keepers (the namesake of Hodges PI agency) main story takes place completely outside Bill’s frame of reference (only coming together at the very end) whereas the events of Mr. Mercedes were predicated around and because of Hodges. The letter that starts Bill on his investigation (in the first book) is delivered to him. In Finders Keepers Hodges finds out at the last minute that Pete Saubers (the main character of this book) needs help. Anyone could have provided that help and it was the only thing about this book that irked me.
Despite that long diatribe I quite liked the book. The main narrative was compelling if not as pulse pounding as Mr. Mercedes.
Pete Sauber’s parents are on the verge of divorce as their finances aren’t great. Pete’s father was a victim of the City Center Massacre (the only other thread that connects these books) left having to walk with crutches and in perpetual physical therapy. Pete happens upon a buried trunk that had been hidden some thirty or forty years earlier by the person who killed an author and stole his money and unpublished works. He sends this money anonymously to his parents in 500 dollar increments to help them out of their financial hole; their marriage also improves. After the money run out and has become obsessed with the author’s work he feels that he needs more money so that he can send his sister to a special school. He decides to sell the unpublished works. This is where the bulk of the novel takes place as things go awry. The person who originally buried the books comes looking for them.
The story is great – as usual – though as I said I couldn’t shake the fact that it seems like the entirety of the story could have taken place outside of the Bill Hodges universe.
The only other detractor is that Stephen King’s work seems safe as of late (though we’ll see what happens in the third book). He seems to be all about the happy or happyish ending with fewer casualties than his earlier work. I might be reading too much into it or maybe he is saving the best (deaths) for last.