Sometimes I wish I were less of a Type A personality. Because I had listened to the first two books in the Bill Hodges trilogy, I just had to listen to the last instalment, even though I was not particularly impressed with Stephen King’s foray into detective fiction. I wish I had walked away.
The book begins with Bill and Holly being told about a suspicious murder-suicide case linked to Brady Hartsfield, the Mercedes killer. The woman who was murdered was one of Hartsfield’s victims in Mr. Mercedes; she was supposedly killed by her own mother who then committed suicide. Brady had a fascination with suicide and in the past encouraged others to end their lives, so Holly thinks of him as a suicide architect and wonders whether Brady might have a connection to this case.
The problem is that Brady suffered a traumatic brain injury and is unable to leave the hospital where he has been for years. Since this is a Stephen King novel, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Brady has acquired supernatural abilities; telekinesis and mind control. He is so adept that he can hijack the bodies of others to do his bidding and even destroy someone’s consciousness and replace it with his own. Brady is also able to convert a child’s game on a cheap game console into a brainwashing program that hypnotizes people into committing suicide.
Can Bill and Holly and Jerome figure out what is happening and put a stop to Brady’s dastardly plan? Yikes! It’s as if King gave up on writing a detective thriller and returned to the supernatural/horror genre he is best known for.
Besides requiring readers to accept paranormal abilities, King also expects readers to ignore so many other flaws. As in the previous books, Bill, though he is a retired police detective, continues to hide critical evidence for law enforcement. Then he and Holly set off to a remote location in a snowstorm for what can only be called a suicidal confrontation. The climactic scene is over the top in terms of gore and in terms of how much physical injury people are able to survive. It’s like watching a Rambo movie.
A friend had suggested I give Stephen King’s detective fiction a try since I was not impressed by his other fiction. Well, I read all three of King’s crime novels and am now going to walk away. I would not recommend them and certainly hope that King, considering the end of this trilogy, won’t attempt a Pete Huntley trilogy.