Category: Review

Sunday Series Review: The Bill Hodges Trilogy

Today Kim brings you a Sunday Series Review of the Bill Hodges trilogy by Stephen King!

Books in the Series:
Mr. Mercedes

Finders Keepers
End of Watch

Mr. Mercedes
Published: June 3, 2014
437 Pages

In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes.

In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the “perk” and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy.

Brady Hartsfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born. He loved the feel of death under the wheels of the Mercedes, and he wants that rush again. Only Bill Hodges, with two new, unusual allies, can apprehend the killer before he strikes again. And they have no time to lose, because Brady’s next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim thousands.

Finders Keepers
Published: June 2, 2015
434 Pages

The genius is John Rothstein, an iconic author who created a famous character, Jimmy Gold, but who hasn’t published a book for decades. Morris Bellamy is livid, not just because Rothstein has stopped providing books, but because the nonconformist Jimmy Gold has sold out for a career in advertising. Morris kills Rothstein and empties his safe of cash, yes, but the real treasure is a trove of notebooks containing at least one more Gold novel.

Morris hides the money and the notebooks, and then he is locked away for another crime. Decades later, a boy named Pete Saubers finds the treasure, and now it is Pete and his family that Bill Hodges, Holly Gibney, and Jerome Robinson must rescue from the ever-more deranged and vengeful Morris when he’s released from prison after thirty-five years.

End of Watch
Published: June 7, 2016
432 Pages

The spectacular finale to the New York Times bestselling trilogy that began with Mr. Mercedes (winner of the Edgar Award) and Finders Keepers—In End of Watch, the diabolical “Mercedes Killer” drives his enemies to suicide, and if Bill Hodges and Holly Gibney don’t figure out a way to stop him, they’ll be victims themselves.

In Room 217 of the Lakes Region Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic, something has awakened. Something evil. Brady Hartsfield, perpetrator of the Mercedes Massacre, where eight people were killed and many more were badly injured, has been in the clinic for five years, in a vegetative state. According to his doctors, anything approaching a complete recovery is unlikely. But behind the drool and stare, Brady is awake, and in possession of deadly new powers that allow him to wreak unimaginable havoc without ever leaving his hospital room.

Retired police detective Bill Hodges, the unlikely hero of Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers, now runs an investigation agency with his partner, Holly Gibney—the woman who delivered the blow to Hartsfield’s head that put him on the brain injury ward. When Bill and Holly are called to a suicide scene with ties to the Mercedes Massacre, they find themselves pulled into their most dangerous case yet, one that will put their lives at risk, as well as those of Bill’s heroic young friend Jerome Robinson and his teenage sister, Barbara. Brady Hartsfield is back, and planning revenge not just on Hodges and his friends, but on an entire city.

In End of Watch, Stephen King brings the Hodges trilogy to a sublimely terrifying conclusion, combining the detective fiction of Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers with the heart-pounding, supernatural suspense that has been his bestselling trademark. The result is an unnerving look at human vulnerability and chilling suspense. No one does it better than King.

Kim’s Ratings of the Series: 4 Stars

Kim’s Thoughts on The Bill Hodges Trilogy:

Such a great series! I’m all about some criminal psychology and then King threw in some amazing characters and now I’m almost perfectly happy! I watched the TV show, Mr. Mercedes, first, and got to know Bill and Brady and Jerome and Holly before ever reading them on the page. They drew me in and having faces to go with the story was an added bonus. Obviously there was some rather uncomfortable ideas flying around in Brady’s head, hence he’s the villain and such a good one.

I read Mr. Mercedes quickly and loved it. King doesn’t shy away from making tough decisions for his characters and while I may not have liked them all, his story reflected harsh reality pretty accurately. Finders Keepers was an interesting stepping stone for Bill, Jerome, and Holly. I’m not gonna lie, I feel like King should have nixed it from the trilogy and made it a standalone but I liked learning more about the core characters so I can’t complain too much. The Finders Keepers plot line was actually my 2nd favorite of the series so King definitely delivered. My inner booknerd was thrilled and appalled at the same time.

Then he concluded with End of Watch. And what a conclusion it was! Y’all know I hate loose ends and if a series ends, then it needs to end. End of Watch ended it and it was bittersweet. Saying goodbye to characters you love and even to ones you hate can be hard, but I felt complete and content. To me, End of Watch felt more classic King than the other books did. A lot of improbabilities, but still believable and even plausible. It gave me some anxiety and I loved every second of it!

Overall, this is a great series for pretty much everybody. It was far more true crime than horror. I absolutely recommend it!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

The Year We Turned Forty by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke

The Year We Turned Forty

Liz Fenton
Lisa Steinke
Published: April 26, 2016
319 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: May 2-8, 2020

Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

If you could repeat one year of your life, what would you do differently? This heartwarming and hilarious novel from the authors of The Status of All Things and Your Perfect Life features three best friends who get the chance to return to the year they turned forty—the year that altered all of their lives, in ways big and small—and also get the opportunity to change their future.

Jessie loves her son Lucas more than anything, but it tears her up inside that he was conceived in an affair that ended her marriage to a man she still loves, a man who just told her he’s getting remarried. This time around, she’s determined to bury the secret of Lucas’ paternity, and to repair the fissures that sent her wandering the first time.

Gabriela regrets that she wasted her most fertile years in hot pursuit of a publishing career. Yes, she’s one of the biggest authors in the world, but maybe what she really wanted to create was a family. With a chance to do it again, she’s focused on convincing her husband, Colin, to give her the baby she desires.

Claire is the only one who has made peace with her past: her twenty-two year old daughter, Emily, is finally on track after the turmoil of adolescence, and she’s recently gotten engaged, with the two carat diamond on her finger to prove it. But if she’s being honest, Claire still fantasizes about her own missed opportunities: a chance to bond with her mother before it was too late, and the possibility of preventing her daughter from years of anguish. Plus, there’s the man who got away—the man who may have been her one true love.

But it doesn’t take long for all three women to learn that re-living a life and making different decisions only leads to new problems and consequences—and that the mistakes they made may, in fact, have been the best choices of all…

Jessica’s Review:

I just had my big 40th birthday at the end of April and thought that this novel would be a good one to start my new decade of life, and it was!  The authors, Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke have been BFFs for many years and written quite a few novels together, but this is the first one of theirs I have read.

The Year We Turned Forty focuses on three ladies (Jessie, Gabriela, and Claire) who have been friends forever.  They have all just recently turned 50 and are given a special opportunity to go back ten years to the year they all turned 40 and re-live that year.  This was the year that changed everything for the ladies in different ways and they all have their reasons for wanting to go back.  But will going back in time and making different choices make life better or worse?  And what ultimate choice will they make?

This is a thought provoking and also very enjoyable novel.  Who hasn’t thought about if you could go back and change something?  If given the opportunity, would you actually do it and what happens to the rest of the world with changing just one decision????  One decision can change so much, and it might not actually be for the better. 

The Year We Turned Forty may have been my first novel by ‘Liz & Lisa’ but it will not be my last.  I will be reading them again! 

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


The Dark Side of Nowhere by Neal Shusterman

The Dark Side of Nowhere
Author: Neal Shusterman
Published: August 14, 2012
240 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Jason is having a bad day. The kind of day when you just don’t feel like yourself. Only for Jason, it’s not just a feeling. He really isn’t himself. Not anymore. Who is he? That’s the problem. Jason isn’t sure. And it’s not just him. Everyone in town is acting weird. His friends. His parents. Everyone. Billington is usually such a normal town. As Jason is about to discover, nothing will ever be normal again…

Kim’s Review:

We love Shusterman here at Jessica’s Reading Room. He hooked us with Scythe and the more I’ve read, the more I love him! While most of his books come in series, he does have some standalones. This is one, and a short one at that. He seems to know exactly the right length for his books. The Toll was nice and big and I didn’t even care, this one is short and concise and I enjoyed it!

I’ll admit that the plot twist was a little obvious. However, I still liked it and the characters fit the story well. I was engaged and I couldn’t wait to see how the story concluded. I didn’t see any loose ends dangling and I was a little surprised that I liked the ending as much as I did.

Overall, I think this is a great book for teens who don’t normally like reading, but want to try it. I thought it was fun and interesting and Shusterman stays upon his high pedestal of excellence!!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK