“Wake up, genius.”
So begins a terrifying tale about an obsessive reader and the extraordinary lengths he will go to get his hands on what he wants.
A sequel to Stephen King’s 2014 thriller, Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers is another book that follows the adventures of the retired detective Bill Hodges and his two companions, Jerome Robinson and Holly Gibney, after the events of the first novel. This time, they must save a young teenager from Morris Bellamy.
Morris Bellamy is a reader and writer. His favorite novels are that of the famous John Rothstein. The novels in question follow a young man named Jimmy Gold. Morris adores the first two books, The Runner and The Runner Sees Action, but is more than disappointed with The Runner Slows Down, which sees Jimy Gold sellout for a career in advertising. Driven by anger and his desire to read more about Jimmy Gold, Morris tracks the reclusive Rothstein down and kills him, taking all of the old man’s money and dozens of Moleskine notebooks filled with unpublished writing with him. After also killing his two friends who were at Rothstein’s with him, Bellamy stashes the money and notebooks away in a trunk under a large tree in the woods behind his house and plans on coming back for them. Only he never does because he is then arrested for a crime completely unrelated to the murder of Rothstein.
Decades later, Pete Saubers, also a fan of Rothstein’s work, finds the trunk along with the money and Moleskines. Pete’s father was injured in the Mercedes attack four years ago and his family has been going through hard times as a result. Everything seems to be going fine until Morris Bellamy is let out of jail and comes back for what is his.
While Finders Keepers is about Hodges and his cohorts, King focuses on both Moris and Pete for the first 150 pages of the novel. During this time, King explores the different effects literature can have on people, whether they are good or bad. King also takes the time to explore what makes a great novel. As a writer myself, I enjoyed what he had to say very much. One of my favorite quotes is, “A good novelist does not lead his characters, he follows them. A good novelist does not create events, he watches them happen and then writes down what he sees. A good novelist realizes he’s a secretary, not God.”
Last year, some people criticized Mr. Mercedes for being too slow. I had no issue with the pacing and actually enjoyed it being to slow-burn that it was. Even before the release of the first book, King himself said that the novel was a hardboiled detective novel. The thing about hardboiled eggs is that it takes time for them to be completely cooked through. Finders Keepers follows this tradition, though I do think that it is paced a little faster than Mr. Mercedes.
In Mr. Mercedes, King ended the story with the awakening of Brady Hartsfield– the man responsible for the Mercedes Massacre– in the head trauma center after being whacked pretty hard in the head with Hodge’s Happy Slapper. Finders Keepers lets us in on what is going on with Hartsfield throughout the book which makes the reader anxious to see what will happen with the character later on. The last book in the trilogy, titled The Suicide Prince, will reveal everything, and I absolutely cannot wait to see how the final confrontation between Hodges and his nemesis will play out.