When most people who have never actually read a Stephen King book think about Stephen King, they immediately think of stories like The Shining, Pet Semetary, or Stephen King’s It. What they don’t realise is that it is the human beings in Stephen King novels that make the books great, not the monsters, werewolves and supernatural beings.
In the Bill Hodges Trilogy, the latest books by Stephen King, which consists of Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers, and End of Watch, Stephen King places all the emphasis on the antagonist, Brady Hartsfield, and he leaves the werewolves and ghouls behind. So, if you haven’t read Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers, or End of Watch, here’s a review of The Bill Hodges trilogy to tell you what you’ve been missing.
Mr, Mercedes is where the Bill Hodges Trilogy begins and, in all of the three books, the event that occurs right at the beginning of Mr. Mercedes underpins the whole story. This momentous event is the massacre of a line of out of work people desperately seeking jobs at a job fair. Many of these people are killed or injured when Brady Hartsfield drives a stolen Mercedes into the queue. Hartsfield, who is the Mr. Mercedes of the title of the book, has a fascination with death and suicide and he is determined to kill as many people as he possibly can, or drive them to commit suicide.
The Mistake that Mr. Mercedes makes is to make a target of the retired police officer who was in charge of the Mr Mercedes investigation, Bill Hodges. Instead of driving Bill Hodges to suicide, as was his intention, Brady Hartsfield gives Hodges a new purpose in life and so, the game begins.
Bill Hodges, along with Jerome Robinson and Holly Gibney, gets caught up in a game of cat and mouse as they race against time to stop Brady Hartsfield driving any more people to suicide and to thwart his efforts to carry out an even more deadly massacre than the one at the beginning of the book.
In the second Stephen King book of The Bill Hodges Trilogy, Finders Keepers, the story initially focuses on a family that have been affected by the original Mr. Mercedes massacre. Brady Hartsfield, meanwhile, is lying in a vegetative state in a hospital bed and has not been able to stand trial for his crimes. In Finders Keepers, it’s a new antagonist, Morris Bellamy, who takes centre stage. Bill Hodges doesn’t make an appearance in Finders Keepers until quite late on, when the plot has already begun to unfold.
Our new antagonist, Morris Bellamy, is a man who murdered a well-known author, John Rothstein, and stole unpublished manuscripts he found in the writer’s home. Bellamy doesn’t want to sell the manuscripts, he intends to keep them for himself, but, when Bellamy is convicted of another crime and sent to jail, the manuscripts are never found.
It’s Peter Saubers, a man whose father was injured in the Mr. Mercedes massacre who finds the manuscripts and the story unfolds from there. In the meantime, we see the first signs of the paranormal in The Bill Hodges Trilogy when Bill Hodges appears back on the scene and taunts Brady Hartsfield, because Hodges is convinced that Brady is faking his illness. Nurses in the hospital say that they have seen strange things happening Brady Hartsfield, like objects moving around, and that’s the first sign of the paranormal in The Bill Hodges Trilogy.
End of Watch
The most recent Stephen King book, End of Watch, is the finale of the Bill Hodges Trilogy. In End of Watch, the tale moves on from one of ordinary human beings and we discover more about the strange abilities that Brady Hartsfield has developed. How he got those abilities is never really explained, but we do learn that he gained the power of telekinesis and the ability to inhabit other people’s bodies.
To begin with, Hartsfield seem to be content using has abilities to escape the confinement of his own broken body, but he soon starts to plan his revenge on Bill Hodges, as well as his own violent finale that will finish the job he started in Mr. Mercedes.
End of watch brings The Bill Hodges Trilogy to a dramatic conclusion, unlike Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers, it returns firmly to the more familiar Stephen King territory of the paranormal. Readers of The Bill Hodges Trilogy who are new to Stephen King books could be a little disappointed by this, but regular Stephen King readers won’t be surprised at all.
The Bill Hodges Trilogy is a great series of Stephen King books that starts out as a murder mystery and ends with Stephen Kings own unique brand of horror. This latest Stephen King book is an epic tale on an epic scale and it’s all told in Stephen King’s, highly readable, style. Constant readers and first time readers of Stephen King books alike will love reading The Bill Hodges Trilogy.