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Mr. Mercedes

(Bill Hodges Trilogy #1)

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  281,003 ratings  ·  18,837 reviews
In the predawn hours, in a distressed American city, hundreds of unemployed men and women line up for the opening of a job fair. They are tired and cold and desperate. Emerging from the fog, invisible until it is too late, 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 ...more
Hardcover, 1st Scribner hardcover edition (US/CAN), 437 pages
Published June 2014 by Scribner
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Darren I've read everything Stephen King has written and can say, without trepidation, that Mercedes Man is NOT a book that will go down as a good example of…moreI've read everything Stephen King has written and can say, without trepidation, that Mercedes Man is NOT a book that will go down as a good example of why folks love his writing. 11/21/63 is fantastic. Had you started reading King much earlier you could have lived through the thrill and anticipation of waiting for each new serial in the original Green Mile, which had some of the same qualities of tone.

If you really want to experience Stephen King at his best though, you have to go back... Way back. For my money, "It" is the pinnacle, along with "Pet Cemetery," "The Stand," "Tommyknockers" and even stretching as far back as "Salem's Lot" (still the only book to give me nightmares). As far as his more recent work; "Duma Key" is as close as he's come to replicating his peak in the last few years.

To love Stephen King is to love a certain style and to trust that the author will deliver. Most folks who have come to his work anew in the last ten years don't have the same attachment to him/it as those of us over forty,but if you want to understand why those of us of a certain age will always buy whatever he writes, go back to the mid 70's and start there. You'll have the bejeezus scared out of you, you might cry, you'll read some of the best short story collections of one author ever printed and you'll enjoy timeless writing in multiple genre's.

I really believe that there is something for ALMOST everybody in StephenKing's work.(less)
Jeremy Coss I disagree. I found the book to be boring and uninspired. I forgot the villains name until you said it. Now, Randall Flagg or Pennywise I'll never for…moreI disagree. I found the book to be boring and uninspired. I forgot the villains name until you said it. Now, Randall Flagg or Pennywise I'll never forget.(less)

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Average rating 3.99  · 
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Warning! Some Stephen King fans (Of which I am one.) may be angered by this review and feel the need to tell me one or more of the following:

1) I missed the point.
2) I haven’t written a best selling book and therefore have no right to be critical of someone who has.
3) I should quit being so nitpicky and just relax for gosh’s sake!
4) It’s called FICTION, not REALITY. Idiot!
5) I should burn in hell for all eternity for daring to impugn the honor of their favoritest author ever and this super aweso
I have been a King fan since I was 9 years old, which I'd say qualifies as lifelong fandom. I've read every book he's written that I can get my greedy fangirl hands on... but this... This was a clusterfuck. I had to literally force myself to finish it - a first in my 20+ years of Constant Readership. Even his weakest books have always kept me turning the pages out of a need to know what happens next. But this one... I truly didn't care. It was my need to be a King library completionist that kept ...more
Mario the lone bookwolf
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
The thriller writing King is a completely different experience than the oldfashioned horror King, but his ingenuity at characterizing is even more impressing when the focus on it isn´t disturbed by worldbuilding or horror elements, just focusing on the madness. Although it feels different and one recognizes that King isn´t so used to write, as he called it, his first hard boiled detective novel, because finetuned, plotted thriller storylines are something different than his normal approach of le ...more
Will Byrnes
Dec 22, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: stephen-king, fiction
Every religion lies. Every moral precept is a delusion. Even the stars are a mirage. The truth is darkness, and the only thing that matters is making a statement before one enters it. Cutting the skin of the world and leaving a scar. That’s all history is, after all: scar tissue.
Detective Bill Hodges is 62, overweight, divorced and retired. He lives alone and has an uncomfortably familiar relationship with his father’s pistol. The two spend long hours together in front of the tube, taking i
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Jun 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2014, the-king
Is this book perfect? Nope. Did I go completely fan-girl over it. Yep.
Stephen Fricking King. You never fail to surprise me.
This book did lag in a few spots for me. There was a insta-love going on. I don't give a sheeet.

Hodges..a 64 year old retired cop gets a letter from one of the worst characters I've ever met in a book. The hunt is on.
I got swept up in this book and now I'm crying a little (yes my cold heart does that occasionally). This book has characters that I was cheering so hard fo
Sep 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Let's talk about three-star reviews for a minute.

I feel like three-star review in today's world means whatever is being reviewed isn't good. And, man, I just don't know if that's fair. I feel like our expectations are too high now, and I'm right there in the mix thumbing at my nose at anything rated an average three stars.


I'm currently in freaking Honolulu hot damn Hawaii (which I think is the closest thing we have to what heaven will be like) and I'm finding myself on Yelp or TripA
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own-it
Freakishly fantastic book!! Stephen King is one of the authors that never disappoints me. And Bill Hodges is a new book character favorite of mine!!!
Edward Lorn
May 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
MR. MERCEDES has an opening that epitomizes Stephen King's mastery of character. In a few short pages, King captures with well-placed dialogue and introspection the struggles of two people who are trying to keep their heads above water in our unstable economy. Then everything goes terribly wrong for these two people (three, if you count the most unfortunate soul in the crowd), and the reader realizes that anything, and everything, is possible in this shocking and brilliant thriller.

When we're in
Sean Barrs
This is only the second Stephen King book in which I’ve actually managed to get past the first few pages. I don’t know what is about his writing, but it really does not draw me in. This, however, was an exception. The fast nature of the plot resulted in a novel that was a real page turner, but it's not without its faults.

A cold trail

Detective Hodges has solved all of his cases but one: the Mercedes massacre. Just a few months before he was to retire a madman drove into a crowd of job seekers
Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
Sep 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2-star, year-2017
"Comparison is the thief joy." - Theodore Roosevelt

The above sentiment couldn't be more true, even in the context of comparing books. This comparison may be a small insult to these novels but for me, Mr. Mercedes read like a less clever cross between Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba & You by Caroline Kepnes.

The dynamic between depressed, retired cop, Bill Hodges & your friendly neighborhood psychopath, Brady Hartsfield, is reminiscent of that between L & Light Yagami. Two intelligent men caught up in
This didn't read like a Stephen King book at all! In fact, I genuinely sort of forgot it was a Stephen King read, until I finished it! A horrific and unsolved crime was committed with a Mercedes. Overweight, depressed, contemplating suicide, the once heavily decorated and revered former police investigator Bill Hodges sits most nights in his La-Z-boy with a gun in his hands. When the killer reaches out to Bill, he finds a reason to start living again. This is the story of a duel of two minds tha ...more
Charlotte May
“I would like to close with one final thought from the one who got away. That thought is: ‘FUCK YOU LOSER. Just kidding! Very truly yours, The Mercedes Killer.”

Slowly working my way through the SK backlog, and I thoroughly enjoyed this thriller.

Bill Hodges is a retired police officer. His days are spent watching daytime TV and and often contemplating using his gun on himself.

When he receives a letter from the infamous ‘Mercedes Killer’ a man who stole a Mercedes and drove it into a crowd ful
Jun 05, 2014 rated it liked it
I can't deny that I still need to read a lot to get to know Stephen King's work in novels. Basically my contact with his work has been on the adaptations of his works on films, mini-series, and on, that in that regard it has been quite a lot since I have watched almost all the major adaptations made.

However, I thought that this book can be a priceless option since not only didn't require having read any other book before, but also, himself had described as his first "hard-boiled" detective novel
Dan Schwent
May 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
A madman driving a Mercedes plows into a crowd of job seekers, killing eight and injuring many more. A year later, the retired detective formerly in charge of the case gets a letter from the killer, taunting him. Can retired Detective Hodges bring in the killer before he kills again?

Stephen King tries his hand at writing a straight up thriller in this outing. Was he good at it? Of course he was.

Mr. Mercedes is a page turner, a cat and mouse thriller pitting a retired detective against the one
Jun 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Detective Bill Hodges is basically a contemporary version of a Humphrey Bogart character. Even Jerome jokingly tells Hodges he looks like him with his new hat. This novel was a thrill and the villain is wonderfully well written. I became hooked on this immediately once Brady’s true character started to unfold. Holly Gibney even makes her first appearance here. King can sure write a mystery thriller!
Dec 10, 2013 rated it really liked it

This is a case where the star system really fails me, or I feel like I must explain my rating. Four stars does not make Mr. Mercedes one of King's best. In fact, stacked up against some of his better known works, it pales and withers fraught as it is with giant plot holes, some incredulous leaps in logic and a hero who behaves more moronic than heroic (if you want a list of these weaknesses look no further than Kemper's excellent review where he takes King to task on all these matters and more
This was a great book to read in October. There are horror elements in the story, but this is more of a mystery book. I felt like it was very well crafted by Stephen King. He is a master a characterization in my opinion. Each character is a well rounded person with their own motivations.

In this novel he focuses on a retired cop who doesn't know what to do with himself in retirement and a murderer that brings him out of retirement and gives him something to do. The opening scene is grisly and th
Nov 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Verdict is: This is lukewarm-at-best Stephen King.

Still, not as notoriously awful as more recent literary attempts (yuck Dr. Sleep yuck!). There is notable strength in the back story of the sociopathic killer. Also, a healthy handful of Stephen King elements that makes one chuckle for their inclusion in such a, well, pedestrianish tale of savagery & woe. Regular tokens such as the car-as-weapon, retiree-as-hero and death-of-secondary-protagonist midway are all happily included in this tome.
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Jun 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2014
Find all of my reviews at:

When I first saw the cover art for Mr. Mercedes I thought , “Awwwww, how sweet – Stephen King wrote a book about a guy who drives an ice cream truck” ; )

I didn’t bother to read the synopsis. I rarely do – especially when it comes to anything by King. He writes it. I read it. End of story. Then the ratings started coming in, and boy were they polarized. I still didn’t bother reading any blurbs or reviews, I just braced myself and pre
Mar 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, thriller, buddy-read
And six years later after this was published, I finally have gotten to Mr. Mercedes and the Bill Hodges series!
I liked this book more then I thought!

If you are a Stephen King fan, you'll still get the characterization in this book that he does so well. Mr. Mercedes is different then his horror books though since it's more of a crime thriller.

The main characters of Bill, Holly & Jerome are great!
I enjoyed how each character was uniquely different and complex.
The evil piece of shit in this book wa
Johann (jobis89)
May 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Everybody likes the ice cream man."

Retired cop Bill Hodges is haunted by an unsolved crime where innocent people were waiting for entry into a job fair when a lone driver plows through the crowd in a Mercedes, injuring and killing many. When he receives a letter from the perp threatening another evil act, Hodges becomes hellbent on preventing such horror happening again.

I could read true crime until it made my eyeballs bleed, but there's just something about crime fiction or detective stories t
James Tivendale
Sorry for being sentimental, however; I am probably in the most depressive state I have ever been within. This book has helped me, bizarrely as it is about a "hard-boiled" ex-cop and a well-created mother loving charismatic and clever serial killer.

I do not give many books five stars and Stephen King with his commercial success - I did not think this day would ever come except perhaps the Dark Tower series which I did appreciate.

I can't start to analyse how good this is. I am depressed reviewer
Joey R.
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
5.0 stars—- I decided to read “Mr. Mercedes” by Stephen King after another Goodreads member recommended it to me due to my high praise for “The Outsider”. After finishing it last night, I can honestly say it was one of the best Stephen King books I have ever read. Who would think that Stephen King could write this type of mystery, with no supernatural elements, that is written from the perspectives of both a retired investigator and a mass murderer as the investigator continues to try to identif ...more
Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
While no doubt global and domestic terrorists and active shooters have caused most of the damage, this book makes me wonder how much Stephen King has contributed to our national paranoia.

He comes up with some f***ing creepy s***.

I mean, we KNOW it’s Stephen King and he cannot just keep scaring us with the same old themes, he’s got to come up with new stuff. But even considering that, I was still shocked a couple of times and thought “who thinks like that”???

Stephen King, that’s who.

Mr. Mercedes
James Thane
Aug 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Bill Hodges is a retired detective in a city that's seen better days. For that matter, Bill has seen better days himself. He's divorced, living alone, and now spends most of his time in his recliner watching dopey daytime television shows while playing with his gun and wondering what it might be like to just stick it in his mouth and end it all. He's let himself go to seed and is now twenty pounds overweight; clearly, he's on the downhill side of life.

Like a lot of retired detectives, though, Ho
Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
“Every moral precept is a delusion. Even the stars are a mirage. The truth is darkness, and the only thing that matters is making a statement before one enters it. Cutting the skin of the world and leaving a scar. That’s all history is, after all: scar tissue.”
- Stephen King, Mr. Mercedes

Stop me if you’ve heard this storyline before.

A psychopathic killer (or terrorist or abductor) taunts the detective (or ex-detective) who is trying to catch him.

Okay, I’ve stopped. You have heard this before.
Jun 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio, library
Another challenge I set myself at the start of the year was to return to some authors I hadn’t read in years. Stephen King certainly fits the bill as I haven’t read anything of his in over 15 years or more. Mr. Mercedes seemed like it would fit nicely as it’s mystery, not horror.
Bill Hodges is a retired detective. One of the cases he never solved was who drove a Mercedes through a crowd of folks waiting for a job fair to open. When he gets a letter from the perk (sic) he decides to resolve the
For a suspense thriller this was pretty average, and for a Stephen King novel it's pretty weak. Mr. Mercedes is a departure from most of Mr. King's other work in the sense that it has none of his trademark mixture of the fantastic with the ordinary - it is a pure thriller, dedicated to James M. Cain and prefaced with the opening line of his noir classic, The Postman Always Rings Twice.

Mr. Mercedes opens somewhere in the American Midwest, in a depressed, unnamed town hit hard by the recession. A
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

*. . . and I thought the chances were at least 50-50 that I would get caught. I didn't care. And I SURE didn't know how it would haunt me afterward. I still relive the thuds that resulted from hitting them, and I still hear screams. Then when I saw the news and found out I had even killed a baby, it really came home to me what a terrible thing I had done. I don't know how I live with myself.*


That was actually just a load of bull he was feeding someone. I mean he got off on what he had done.
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-german
There's something I need to mention beforehand:
I was in a giant reading slump last year and read less books than ever before. I made it one of my biggest New Year's resolutions to get back on track. So I made sure to pick a book by my favourite author as my first read of the year.
However, I was still nervous that I might not be able to get out of my slump, especially because I normally don't read detective stories anymore. I used to read them constantly when I was younger, but after a while I g
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Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father's family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, M ...more

Other books in the series

Bill Hodges Trilogy (3 books)
  • Finders Keepers (Bill Hodges Trilogy, #2)
  • End of Watch (Bill Hodges Trilogy, #3)

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For the past decade, the Goodreads Choice Awards have put the power in our readers' hands by letting them decide the best...
103 likes · 48 comments
“Every religion lies. Every moral precept is a delusion. Even the stars are a mirage. The truth is darkness, and the only thing that matters is making a statement before one enters it. Cutting the skin of the world and leaving a scar. That’s all history is, after all: scar tissue.” 100 likes
“Life is a crap carnival with shit prizes.” 61 likes
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