I was a huge fan of Stephen King’s recent thriller Mr Mercedes, an uncharacteristically realistic crime novel about a retired detective who finds purpose when he is contacted by the perpetrator of an unsolved crime – the City Centre Massacre, where hundreds were mowed down by an out-of-control stolen Mercedes. It was genuinely clever and taut, a well-plotted thriller with a likeable and cluey protagonist in Bill Hodges. The follow up novel, Finders Keepers, is equally good, although some may be surprised to find that Hodges has a somewhat smaller role in the proceedings.
As a book lover it was a plot to die for. In the dead of the night, a famous but reclusive author named John Rothstein is woken by several men in ski masks. Before the author is killed, a large sum of money and several moleskin notebooks were retrieved from his safe. Morris Bellamy, the killer was a huge fan who resented the narrative direction of the final book in the series. So he kills him. The notebooks contain exactly what he was after – subsequent unpublished novels in the series that resolved the ending. But before Bellamy can read them, he is sent to prison for an unrelated crime. The books and cash remain hidden until a teenager stumbles upon them many years later. Little does he know that someone is about to come looking for them… And this is where Bill Hodges is re-introduced.
The novel celebrates the power of the written word, as both Bellamy and Pete Saubers, the teenager who finds the books, become obsessed with Rothstein and his writing. It’s the motivating factor for so many plot points. A novel certain to appeal to King fans, lovers of crime thrillers an readers everywhere.