Today Kim brings you a Sunday Series Review of the Bill Hodges trilogy by Stephen King!
Books in the Series:
End of Watch
Published: June 3, 2014
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.
Published: June 2, 2015
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
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!