The Audio Book Challenge of 2019, originated by “Hot Listens” and “Caffeinated Reviewer”, which was pointed out to me by my blogging friend, Carla at “Carla Loves to Read” was a perfect “fit” for me. I rarely listen to audio books because I am primarily a visual reader. However, taking on this challenge (I have agreed to listen to 30 books; Carla is aiming at 50.) has been a growth experience in many ways.
The third book I have heard since I began the challenge in January is Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes. Like all of King’s books, it is wonderful and terrible at the same time. King’s main character, Bill Hodges, a “ret-det” (“retired detective” to us civilians), of the police force in a distressed American city is haunted by “the perp who got away, ” “Mr. Mercedes” (so dubbed by the media), plowed a stolen, classic Merdcedes into a pre-dawn gathering of desperate people lined up to apply for a few scarce jobs, killing eight and wounding fifteen others. Hodges blames himself for Mr. Mercedes’ escape, and his crime and case will ever remain “open” to Hodges.
Assisted by an African American computer whiz, still in high school, and a seriously neurotic relative of the woman Hodges loved, Hodges tracks down an email which pulls him out of his depression and into a full-fledged investigation of the psychotic killer.
Brady Hartsfield, the sender of the email and, indeed, the true Mr. Mercedes taunts the tormented detective and decides to kill not only Hodges, but as many people as possible in a terrorist act of violence. Will Hodges figure out who Mr. Mercedes is, and more importantly, stop his devious plan? With King, the reader can be fairly sure he will, but the fingernail-chewing route to King’s conclusion keeps the reader on the edge of his seat! The characterization of this insane killer is one of King’s best as he returns to his frequent theme of Good vs. Evil.