The Premise Bestselling, critically acclaimed author John Rothstein has retired from public life. He keeps his current work unpublished and3.5 Stars
The Premise Bestselling, critically acclaimed author John Rothstein has retired from public life. He keeps his current work unpublished and tucked in a safe in his house, along with twenty-thousand dollars cash. Enter Morris Bellamy, a troubled young man who's Rothstein's biggest fan until Rothstein, in Bellamy's opinion, 'sells out.' Normal fans bitch on Facebook. However, this is the late '70s, so Bellamy does the next logical thing: murder the author, steal his work and cash, and bury both treasures until the heat dies down.
Then Bellamy does some other stuff and winds up in jail for a different crime. Because he's a jerk.
Fast forward a few decades and Bellamy is released, only to find some punk kid named Peter has discovered the treasure, spent the money to protect his troubled family, and -- the worst crime of all -- has read Rothstein's notebooks. Bellamy doesn't take too kindly this. Havoc ensues.
Thoughts, Opinions, and Sundry Items I would like to say that "Bill Hodges returns in thrilling new mystery" but, as you can see from the above premise description, in which Hodges plays no part, Hodges is really peripheral to this story...and I think it would actually be a stronger novel without the recurring characters. Bellamy and Peter were both so engaging that having Bill, Jerome (whom I love), and Holly interfere in the exchange between the two was almost an irritating distraction.
For example, the thread pulling these three characters into the situation was tenuous at best: Peter's sister's old best friend is Jerome's sister. So Peter's sister gets concerned enough about Peter's behavior to go, not to her parents, but to a former best pal that she doesn't hang out with that much...and trusts the people that said former best pal says to trust.
Yeah, not really feeling it. It read forced to me. Especially when you have an even better, built-in opportunity to ask Hodges for help: Peter's father was injured in the Mercedes murders. Hodges caught that killer. Peter's sister (maybe even Peter himself) could have gone to Hodges directly because of newspaper articles, proven track records, etc. without the weird convulsions of sister's-best-friend's-cousin's-roommate.
Totally dug the exchanges between Peter and Bellamy though. At first, I wasn't too sure about Peter -- but I think it might've been an unfair expectation on my part. Because of the 'Hodges Mystery' series label, I really kept expecting Hodges to show up and be the central hero. By the time I figured out that Peter was a kid who could hold his own, I was almost two-thirds in and, when Hodges does come into play in the story, I was ready for Peter to do all the butt-kicking and thinking against our villain Bellamy...so I was actually disappointed that Hodges kinda turns into a deus-ex-machina hero. Don't get me wrong -- Peter starts out strong and doesn't give up. I like that kid.
Bellamy is an interesting villain. The dude is messed up in the head. His NEED is palpable.
Also found the bits of myth-making in regards to Rothstein's fictional work very entertaining. Throughout Finders Keepers King intersperses bits of 'wisdom' from the Rothstein books. Including such gems as "Shit don't mean shit." Most of it sounds whack-a-doo...which is terrifying considering that, if you think about it, most of the quotable material or plot lines of any given work sounds whack-a-doo when taken out of context. We build whole societies on what we find quotable. ...more
Overall, this seems like a nod to Frankenstein: Be careful of the forces you tangle with. The dedication page lists Mary Shelley as one of the writersOverall, this seems like a nod to Frankenstein: Be careful of the forces you tangle with. The dedication page lists Mary Shelley as one of the writers who 'built his [King's] house.' Frankenstein being one of my favoritest books, there's a lot to enjoy here.
The bulk of this book is Jamie Morton Growing Up. It begins with Jamie at six years old, playing soldier. It ends 55 years later, when Jamie is 61. So, just keep in mind there's a lot of growing up to do in fifty years. Annnnd some of the growing Jamie doesn't effectively do.
All in all, there are interesting bits and less interesting bits. But what keeps this at three stars for me is that there doesn't seem to be a whole lot driving the story.
The whole mess between Pastor Charles Jacobs, the Frankenstein of this particular story, and our hero, Jamie, begins when Jacobs loses his wife and child in a tragic accident. Jacobs freaks out, tells his congregation God doesn't exist, and then heads out into the world cursing God.
While this is an understandable reaction, and a great premise for a horror novel, I had a hard time buying into it for a very simple reason: I, as the reader, didn't love or care about Jacobs' wife or child. Patricia Jacobs is blonde and perfect and can play the piano really well. The narrator says that all the little boys had a crush on her -- but there's no real, actionable evidence of that in the text. No one offers to stay after to help her clean up the church, or is caught spying on her through keyholes. Ditto the little girls crushing on the pastor himself. But all I really get is blonde, perfect, piano player, dead.
I also didn't fall in love with the little toddler -- who was cute but could be just about any toddler.
It may sound cold, but if the death of these two people is the fuel driving the story it leaves me a little, well, cold.
(An aside -- at one point the narrator, Jamie, explains that the pastor has blue eyes and his wife has green eyes but the little boy has brown eyes...I'm not a geneticist, but I kept expecting Patricia Jacobs to turn out to be a cheating, drinking whore, who had the little boy with another man. That would've been a twist on the pastor's twisted twistedness. Strangely enough, I might've liked Mrs. Jacobs better.) ...more