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Bill Hodges Trilogy #2

Finders Keepers

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Librarian's Note: Alternate cover for this ISBN can be found here.

A masterful, intensely suspenseful novel about a reader whose obsession with a reclusive writer goes far too far—a book about the power of storytelling, starring the same trio of unlikely and winning heroes King introduced in Mr. Mercedes

“Wake up, genius.” So begins King’s instantly riveting story about a vengeful reader. The genius is John Rothstein, an iconic author who created a famous character, Jimmy Gold, but who hasn’t published a book for decades. Morris Bellamy is livid, not just because Rothstein has stopped providing books, but because the nonconformist Jimmy Gold has sold out for a career in advertising. Morris kills Rothstein and empties his safe of cash, yes, but the real treasure is a trove of notebooks containing at least one more Gold novel.

Morris hides the money and the notebooks, and then he is locked away for another crime. Decades later, a boy named Pete Saubers finds the treasure, and now it is Pete and his family that Bill Hodges, Holly Gibney, and Jerome Robinson must rescue from the ever-more deranged and vengeful Morris when he’s released from prison after thirty-five years.

Not since Misery has King played with the notion of a reader whose obsession with a writer gets dangerous. Finders Keepers is spectacular, heart-pounding suspense, but it is also King writing about how literature shapes a life—for good, for bad, forever.

448 pages, ebook

First published June 2, 2015

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About the author

Stephen King

2,075 books815k followers
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, Maine, for good. Her parents, Guy and Nellie Pillsbury, had become incapacitated with old age, and Ruth King was persuaded by her sisters to take over the physical care of them. Other family members provided a small house in Durham and financial support. After Stephen's grandparents passed away, Mrs. King found work in the kitchens of Pineland, a nearby residential facility for the mentally challenged.

Stephen attended the grammar school in Durham and Lisbon Falls High School, graduating in 1966. From his sophomore year at the University of Maine at Orono, he wrote a weekly column for the school newspaper, THE MAINE CAMPUS. He was also active in student politics, serving as a member of the Student Senate. He came to support the anti-war movement on the Orono campus, arriving at his stance from a conservative view that the war in Vietnam was unconstitutional. He graduated in 1970, with a B.A. in English and qualified to teach on the high school level. A draft board examination immediately post-graduation found him 4-F on grounds of high blood pressure, limited vision, flat feet, and punctured eardrums.

He met Tabitha Spruce in the stacks of the Fogler Library at the University, where they both worked as students; they married in January of 1971. As Stephen was unable to find placement as a teacher immediately, the Kings lived on his earnings as a laborer at an industrial laundry, and her student loan and savings, with an occasional boost from a short story sale to men's magazines.

Stephen made his first professional short story sale ("The Glass Floor") to Startling Mystery Stories in 1967. Throughout the early years of his marriage, he continued to sell stories to men's magazines. Many were gathered into the Night Shift collection or appeared in other anthologies.

In the fall of 1971, Stephen began teaching English at Hampden Academy, the public high school in Hampden, Maine. Writing in the evenings and on the weekends, he continued to produce short stories and to work on novels.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 11,126 reviews
Profile Image for Kemper.
1,390 reviews6,745 followers
July 9, 2018
The good news is that it isn’t as bad as Mr. Mercedes, and that there’s actually a halfway decent plot lurking in here. The bad news is that this makes it more clear than ever that Stephen King does horror a helluva lot better than he does crime thrillers.

The story starts out with an acclaimed author named John Rothstein who pulled a J.D. Salinger and hasn’t published anything in decades. Morris Bellamy is a huge fan of Rothstein’s most famous creation, a disaffected rebel without a cause named Jimmy Gold, but he thinks that Rothstein ruined the character in the final book of a trilogy by having him become just another suburbanite working in advertising. Since this is occurring in the ‘70s, Morris can’t go on Goodreads to complain about it so instead he breaks into Rothstein’s house and murders him. He also takes over 160 notebooks filled with all the writing that Rothstein has done since quitting public life as well as over $20,000. Before Morris can read the notebooks, which include new material about his favorite character, he gets waylaid on another charge and sent to prison. For 35 years Morris dreams of getting out and reading the notebooks that he had hidden before being arrested.

In 2009 a teenage boy named Peter Saubers and his family move into Morris’ old house. The Saubers have fallen on hard times after his father lost his real estate job in the market crash of ‘08 and then had the bad luck to get run over and badly injured while standing in line at a job fair. Pete stumbles across the notebooks and the cash, and he uses the money to help his family through their financial crisis. He also reads the notebooks which turn him into a nut for literature and another fan of Jimmy Gold. Several years pass, and Morris is released from prison which puts him on a collision course with Pete. That’s when retired police detective Bill Hodges gets involved along with his trusty assistants, Holly and Jerome.

One thing that Stephen King knows how to do very well (Other than spoiling major character deaths on Game of Thrones via Twitter. Thanks again, Uncle Stevie…) is writing about books. He’s often examined them from both sides in his work: as the act of writing/creating and from the standpoint of being a fan of reading. King knows there something magical in both aspects, but in his world there’s also black magic.

King has created what’s probably his own worst nightmare with Morris Bellamy, the fan who feels an ownership of a character and becomes violently angry when he feels like the author is mistreating him. There are shades of Annie Wilkes in this although the key difference is that Annie understood that her favorite character was a creation and wanted to control what happened to her while Morris sees Jimmy Gold as a real person that Rothstein has been a poor guardian of. This contrasts with Pete, the reader who is content to fall under the spell of an author and admire well-written things, and who feels guilty that he’s had to hide this literary treasure from the world in order to help his family.

The book is at it’s best when it’s about these two as polar opposites because it isn’t just about the conflict and tension of who possesses the notebooks, it’s King writing about the love of reading. I did question the coincidence of Morris and Pete both growing up in the same house years apart and both being the kind of guys who will absolutely fall in love with a literary character like Jimmy Gold, but that’s a minor quibble.

The real issues come when King tries to take this story and make it part of his on-going trilogy featuring Bill Hodges. I found Mr. Mercedes to be a mess, and Hodges was a big part of that as a hodge-podge (Pun intended.) of poorly conceived motivations and plot twists that made the character seem irresponsible and reckless. (Something that King even acknowledges in this one when Hodges reflects on his backstory and admits that he nearly got a bunch of people killed “by going Lone Ranger”.) He doesn’t do anything that egregious here, but the problem is that he is completely unnecessary.

Hodges doesn’t even appear in the story until almost halfway through the book, and when he does the main plot comes to a screeching halt as King has to explain exactly who he and his friends are as well as the backstory of Mr. Mercedes. Then his only real contribution comes at the very end and could have easily been done by a new character. The main reason that Hodges is in this book at all seems to be to set up the third book, and there’s even an element at the end that feels like the bonus post-credits scene in a Marvel movie.

In fact, the appearance of Hodges underlines that King, for all his vast storytelling talents, just really doesn’t have a handle on the kind of plotting and pacing required for a tense crime thriller. I’ve joked before that King has two speeds: dead slow and all-hell-breaks-loose. He very often can make that work, but it’s telling that a lot of his books take place over extended periods of time from weeks to months to years. King is at his best doing a slow burn, and there’s no question that he knows how to do suspense and a sense of dread in his usual kind of stories, However, he just has no natural feel for making that work in crime fiction.

For example, this plot is structured around two characters, Morris and Pete, and the readers know their whole story and can see where the trains are going to collide. However, once he brings Hodges and his friends into the story, he tries to turn it into a mystery with them trying to solve the riddle of what Pete has been doing. As the action ramps up at the end, a big chunk of the story is Hodges trying to figure out what we already read so there’s absolutely no tension to it. A good thriller often has the hero trying to figure out something the reader knows, but there should be some kind of climatic pay off. Like some bit of info held back, the revelation of which should provide a satisfying A-HA! kind of breakthrough that is critical to driving the plot forward. (The pivotal clue in Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon is a great example of making this work.) But here we’ve just got Hodges putting together what we already know and trailing uselessly in the wake of the real action.

King also sometimes has trouble with plotting when he can’t say that some supernatural force is helping push things along. There’s a great illustration of that here when Morris is trying to clean up a particularly nasty mess he’s made at one point, and he has every reason to remove a certain item. He even thinks that he should take it with him, but then he leaves it only because of a powerful hunch. Sure enough, he later has an opportunity to use that object to his advantage through events he could not have predicted, but the mere fact that it’s in the room shows that King decided to disregard the logic of the crime genre which dictate that you should always get rid of the evidence just to use it as a plot point later. Then to add insult to injury that object almost immediately become irrelevant after this twist which highlights how it wasn’t really necessary to begin with. So King introduced an element that he knew didn’t make a lot of sense, didn’t bother to come up with a convincing reason that it could have been logically kept in play, and then immediately dropped the whole thing so it was pointless anyhow.

King himself has even gone on record in a recent interview about how he’s had a hard time with these books and doesn’t understand how mystery writers do it regularly. While I like that he gave something new a try, I also think that he’s just not suited to doing this genre, and that he’s usually at his best when he has some kind of fantastic element to lean on.

Also posted on Kemper's Book Blog.
Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,563 reviews5,865 followers
June 3, 2015
Shit don't mean shit.

That's a "famous quote" by the author John Rothstein, who penned the Jimmy Gold books. Rothstein pretty much didn't give two craps about his fans whining about only three Gold books being released. Rothstein didn't give many craps at all about much of anything. Until he is awakened by Morris Bellamy and his gang of accomplices.

Morris was introduced to Jimmy Gold's character by a well-meaning teacher who told him.
You and Jimmy Gold will get along. He's a sarcastic, self-hating little shit. A lot like you.
Thus begins Morris's fanboying. He cons his buddies into helping him rob and kill the author because he knows that Jimmy Gold's story has to exist. And it does.

Morris ends up going to prison for a different crime but ended up hiding the notebooks and money where he thinks no one can find it.
But one of the victims from Brady Hartsfield's Mercedes rampage has bought the house that Morris grew up in and his kid Pete finds the money and the notebooks.

Pete engages his teen self into a big old clusterfuck. He wants to help his family way more than I found believable for a young kid. His sister Tina wants to go to a private school and I almost found her pushing her older brother to "help" out the family so that would happen.
Usually, King's characters are some of the very best parts of any of his books. But these? Just no. I didn't really care about any of them. They just all felt like duds, and not milk-duds. I like those.

The first part of the book is told in flashbacks from the 1970's and present time and it's Stephen King so that part is done well. Then it is later in the story when Hodges and his crew is finally introduced into the story. I thought I would fan-girl then..but it just didn't happen.

There were some teases of what is hopefully to come in the third book and that part had me interested. This book just didn't have that spark I wanted. (It's not horror for the ones of you that don't read King because of that but I just didn't think it was his best work.)

P.S. Thanks again to my book-fairy friend for my copy of this book.
Profile Image for Baba.
3,530 reviews790 followers
December 17, 2022
In the late 1970s, bookgeek and all round obsessive hard-ass Morris Bellamy, who blanks-out and gets ultra-mean when provoked, or high, or drunk, commits an heinous crime for his love of ...literature! Three decades later, a 13-year old Peter Saubers finds the buried stash from Bellamy's crime. Five years on, and Bellamy's out and so happy now he can get to read what he stole? Oops, so maybe it won't be a case of finders keepers for Peter?

Hodges and his friends/colleagues are reunited in the mad dash to save Peter from himself as he becomes as secretive and obsessive about the stolen works as Bellamy was/is. Once again King out-does countless 'full-time' thriller and crime fiction writers with the second part of this seemingly wonderful trilogy. He uses multiple persons' points of views and concurrent reporting of their thoughts and actions which dragged headlong into a heart stopping third act, where I simply could not put the book down, almost as if my delaying reading the outcome, would endanger Peter and co.

I haven't enjoyed King's work as much as this since the first time I read Gwendy's Button Box: as yet again, even though I knew I was in King's world, I felt like I was in this new world of Bill Hodges, no Dark Tower, no Maine, no monsters, no supernatural, just humanity - good, evil and that bit in between. In hindsight, I should have known I was in a King world, because of his expertise in writing about the inner workings and outer actions of children, which he excels at, and does so again in this book!

I never truly know how I feel about any book, 'til I've read it more than once, but by golly do I like the world of Bill, Jerome, Holly and Barbara, mainly because in a modern creative universe where almost everyone is an anti-hero, vigilante, killer with a heart etc Bill Hodges and co. are just good people, who appear to becoming rarer and rarer in popular fiction. I say thank ya! 9 out of 12

Still here? I probably should have mentioned that (and it might be a bit spoiler-ish, hence me adding it here at the bottom of my comments), that there is an ongoing underlying theme in this book about what we expect from creators and the characters that they create. How much should we really relate to them, and how much are their paths dictated to them by their creators. It's all a bit meta, but I really liked it. A great example in case could be HBO's Game of Thrones, were we angry because the creators failed us, or were we angry because the characters took paths we did not feel they would take? King clearly states in this book that characters chose their own paths, that which creators, writers go on to share. Is it all gibberish or something to really think about it?

2020 read
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
3,922 reviews35.4k followers
September 30, 2017

It took me 2 years to return to this series. I was lukewarm about “Mr. Mercedes”.....not bad but not FANTASTIC.....
But....I kept wanting to return to this series after hearing little bits and pieces of ‘positive’ — STRONGER THAN POSITIVE — comments about book #2 and book #3.

I thought this was a TERRIFIC Stephen King ‘mystery’.....
not a die hard thriller - not paranormal- ( a little gore)- but mostly WONDERFUL CREATIVE STORYTELLING.....( totally interesting: ABOUT WRITING)....etc.

Thrilling ride ....loved meeting all the new characters and the struggles in their lives....but it was the dialogue itself between characters I loved the most.

I LIKED IT!!!!!! Cliffhanger too!!!
Profile Image for John Connolly.
Author 157 books6,867 followers
June 7, 2015
This review originally appeared in the Irish Independent, June 7, 2015:

On the surface, the mystery and horror genres have never entirely been on speaking terms with each other. Mystery's roots lie in rationalism, or the belief that reality is essentially logical, and truth intellectual: consider Sherlock Holmes using his powers of deduction to solve crimes, or Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot exercising his "little grey cells" to identify a murderer. Horror - along with supernatural fiction, its close cousin - suggests that reality is much odder, and people do not always behave in rational ways. Or, as Stephen King puts it in his latest novel, Finders Keepers: "Deep below that rational part is an underground ocean … where strange creatures swim."

But for much of its history, the mystery genre has looked down its nose at what it perceives to be the poor, mad relatives obsessed with ghosts and ghouls, even though Edgar Allan Poe, the creator of the first series detective in English, wrote both horror and mystery stories; one of the earliest novels of detection, Wilkie Collins's The Moonstone, is steeped in fears of the paranormal; and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, was a passionate believer in spiritualism.

The truth is that the two genres have much more in common than either might like to admit, for both mystery and supernatural fiction are curious about the impact of random forces on ordered lives. In mystery fiction, these forces take the form of a criminal - frequently a murderer - while in supernatural fiction it's a non-human entity, but the effect is still the same: suddenly the victim's assumptions about order and the nature of existence are altered forever.

Mystery and horror are closer still. Horror is at its most powerful when it deals with the body's capacity for suffering, whether physical, psychological or emotional. In that sense, Thomas Harris's The Silence of the Lambs is as much a horror novel as it is a thriller, just as King's Misery, to which Finders Keepers might function as an interesting companion volume, is as much a thriller as it is a horror novel.

King has long had a relationship with the mystery genre. He has written perceptive introductions to the work of the great noir writer Jim Thompson, produced two novels for the Hard Case Crime series, and even went so far as to make Lee Child's Jack Reacher a character in his 2009 novel Under the Dome, while frequently including thriller and crime elements in his supernatural fiction. Therefore, it wasn't a huge surprise when he made that interest explicit, and published his first non-supernatural thriller, Mr Mercedes, in 2014, to which Finders Keepers is a sequel.

The elegantly structured Mr Mercedes had some wonderful characters and any number of brilliant moments, including the opening vehicular slaughter at a job fair and a gruesome death by poisoned hamburger meat, but its nods to genre conventions - the retired policeman contemplating suicide, the killer with a mother fixation - diced with cliché, and the middle section moved a little too slowly, as though King were determined to show how willing he was to play by the rules.

But perhaps what Mr Mercedes lacked most was sufficient strangeness; there was the sense of a uniquely odd imagination being held in check by the perceived demands of the mystery genre. So it was that readers who had steered clear of King's supernatural fiction would have been pleasantly surprised by just how respectful Mr Mercedes was of the mystery tradition, while those who had followed his work for decades may have been slightly disappointed for precisely the same reason.

Reading the book was a little like going to the world's best sushi restaurant and having the chef serve you a very fine curry. The fact of the curry's existence might surprise and delight you, and eating it would be a pleasure, but a small part of you would still be wondering why it wasn't sushi.

Mr Mercedes, it seemed, was not to be an interrogation or re-imagining of the genre, but a gifted writer's tribute to it. It proved that King could write a straight crime thriller that was as good as almost any out there, but the question remained: was that what we wanted of Stephen King?

Finders Keepers offers a partial answer. It's a more idiosyncratic novel than its predecessor, and returns to a theme clearly close to King's heart, one previously explored in Misery and Lisey's Story, among other works: a toxic relationship between an author and a fan.

John Rothstein, a reclusive novelist reminiscent of the late JD Salinger, is murdered by an obsessive reader named Morris Bellamy, in part because Bellamy is unhappy with the way that Rothstein ended his famous "Runner" trilogy of novels many years earlier.

But Bellamy discovers that Rothstein had continued to write, if not publish, and sees a way to make a fortune off the previously unknown works. Unfortunately, Bellamy ends up in jail before he can put Rothstein's manuscripts to use, which is where everything starts to get interesting.

In its fascination with books, writers and readers, Finders Keepers is more recognisably a Stephen King novel than Mr Mercedes. It's also a slower burn, in part because its timescale covers more than three decades, and is so classically ordered that the ending is never really in any doubt, although that's part of its pleasure: the reader is not so much tied up with what unfolds, but how it unfolds.

Finally, the touch of the weird so absent from Mr Mercedes is present in Finders Keepers. Either King rapidly grew tired of adhering too closely to the genre's rationalist roots or, as is more likely, he was playing a long game from the start with this proposed trilogy of books. (The Suicide Prince, the final instalment, will appear next year.)

For now, Finders Keepers is a first-rate crime thriller, but it's also to King's credit that, more than 40 years into his career, he continues to experiment, and his talent, curiosity, and generous, humane spirit show no signs of flagging.
Profile Image for Johann (jobis89).
628 reviews4,259 followers
October 21, 2019
"For readers, one of life's most electrifying discoveries is that they are readers - not just capable of doing it, but in love with it. Hopelessly. Head over heels."

Petty criminal Morris Bellamy robs and murders acclaimed author John Rohnstein after feeling unsatisfied with the ending of his famous trilogy of books. Morris ends up going to jail on a rape charge, but years later Peter Saubers finds the trunk that Morris buried containing the stolen money and Rohnstein's unpublished works. A few years after Peter's discovery, Morris is released from prison and wants back what he feels is his....

You love books, I love books. We all love books. But King takes this book obsession to another level with two of his characters: one of which is the simply iconic and unforgettable Annie Wilkes, and the other is the despicable Morris Bellamy. Please never go this far, guys. Holding your favourite author hostage/murdering him so you can steal his unpublished works is just...too much. Let's just stick to fangirling over our favourites on all forms of social media.

Finders Keepers is an enjoyable detour away from the main story found within Mr Mercedes. The pace itself completely changes. Mr Mercedes is a fast-paced page-turner where your heart is in your mouth on multiple occasions. Finders Keepers feels more KING to me. That slow burn where King builds the foundations of a great story and then turns up the heat. I'm here for it!!

Very quickly I am fully absorbed in the story of the Saubers family. They've fallen on hard times after the father Tom was injured in the incident at the job fair, and the very likeable Pete thinks of a way to relieve the tension building between his parents after finding a trunk full of money and notebooks. For a while you're left wondering how exactly this will fully tie into the mish-mash trio of Hodges, Holly and Jerome, but King weaves it all so perfectly. For approximately the first half of the book, King flips back and forth between present day and the past, and as always, he does so seamlessly.

King explores literature and the love of reading in Finders Keepers, and that was one of my favourite things about this book. King so perfectly depicts how it feels to fall in love with reading, and it is very easy for him to do so because he is an avid reader himself. He gets us. His passion for reading is just as obvious as his love for writing. It's interesting to see how two passionate readers, the two main characters Pete and Morris, differ in their obsession. One is significantly more unhealthy than the other.

Holly is growing on me the more I get to know her, and my love for Bill Hodges continues to grow. I can take or leave Jerome - I just find it uncomfortable when King lets Jerome fall into speaking in his demeaning, and frankly unfunny, dialect. I think it's unnecessary.

Otherwise, I really enjoyed Finders Keepers. I love when King explores the relationship between an author and the reader. Really excited to see how the entire trilogy wraps up in End of Watch! I give this one 4 stars.
Profile Image for Amora.
186 reviews137 followers
June 28, 2020
The Bill Hodges Trilogy has to be my favorite Stephen King series I’ve read so far because the villains in it are the most well-written villains in fiction I’ve seen. This villain in this book is Morris Bellamy, who is the male equivalent of Annie Wilkes from Misery. He’s also just as crazy and devoid of mercy as her. I can’t say this novel was anywhere near as intense as the first book, but it is still quite entertaining. I can’t wait to finish the last book!
Profile Image for *TANYA*.
1,002 reviews287 followers
March 28, 2017
Yeah!! Fantastic book!!! Ugh, and that cliffhanger???!! Yup, I'm obsessed. "Shit don't mean shit!" Lol.
Profile Image for Trudi.
615 reviews1,406 followers
February 29, 2016

Sigh. This almost got two stars. Almost. I mean, I liked it. There are things to like, but it's so far underachieving for King, so sub-par of his talent and storytelling capabilities that it made me cringe in parts and left me embarrassed for the guy. The last third of the book with Hodges and Holly and Jerome running around trying to solve a mystery like an after-school special mixed with an episode of Scooby-Doo was just paaainful. Nothing about any of that was worthy of King for me.

I know Mr. Mercedes had its many problems and weaknesses: I present to you Exhibit A and Exhibit B. But I really liked it. A LOT. Mainly because the villain -- Brady Hartfield -- is some nasty piece of psychotic work. One of the better, more convincing villains King has written about in a long time. Brady isn't just a one-dimensional evil dude with sick tendencies and impulses -- King managed to flesh him out some and gave him an appropriately damaging childhood replete with a disturbed and abusive mother. There was some context there. Some texture and layering.

Unfortunately I do not feel the same about the villain presented to us in this book -- Morris Bellamy. Bellamy is a petulant, spoiled asshat -- entitled and vicious. I HATED him. He did not interest me in the least and the only satisfaction I was able to take from his legacy of brutal violent impulses was .

For me, the most terrifying villain King has ever written is Annie Wilkes. On cold, dark winter nights I can still have feverish nightmares about her. Annie is the consummate fangirl gone wrong. She is a study in complexity and contradiction, a woman suffering from real mental illness and a menacing determinism and world view that bears no bargaining with. You're either one of the good guys (a "do-bee") or one of the bad guys (a "dirty bird"). And god help you if you turn out to be a "cockadoodie brat".

Morris Bellamy is just a selfish, shallow, ignorant prick who loves to blame the world for all his problems. He blames his mother for the first time he ends up in juvenile detention. He blames author John Rothstein for "selling out" and destroying his favorite literary creation thus setting in motion a terrible series of events. And most pathetic of all, he blames his "friend" -- future rare book proprietor -- of making him so mad that he goes out and

Whenever King writes about writing and the synergy that happens between reader and author I'm there. He captures some of that magic in these pages but I feel like it all gets poisoned with the less than inspiring creation that is Bellamy.

Since King is determined to get to the end of this foray into crime fiction, I am hopeful that the final book in the trilogy (if there has to be one) will return its focus to Brady Hartfield who may have developed some unusual skills. ::cue ominous music::
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,406 reviews9,540 followers
July 31, 2016
Did anyone else notice the little smiley used as the dot after Mr. on the front of the book? I have had this book for a couple of months and been reading on it for a few days and finally noticed it. I thought something spilled on my book and was trying to rub it off until I figured it out! Lol, I thought it was cool, the smiley, not thinking something spilled on my book!


I enjoyed this book with the new and old characters. I thought it was well written and all of the characters were nicely played.


The story is told in two time lines and ultimately makes its way to present day. In the 90's a nutcase named Morris Bellamy kills a famous author named John Rothstein. He then steals his money from the safe and a collection of Rothstein's books that have never been published.

Morris panics and hides all of the stuff away in an old trunk at the back of his family house in the woods. Then Morris goes to jail on a totally different charge where he gets what he deserves from his cellmate in my opinion.

Jump ahead to 2010 and you have a family living in Morris old house. The parents are having a hard time financially when Mr. Saubers was hit by Mr. Mercedes in the City Center Massacre. Now Mrs. Saubers is the only one bringing in a little income. They have two children named Pete and Tina.

One day Pete is out in the back woods and ends up finding the truck with all of the money and novels in it. Pete proceeds to send anonymous envelopes to his family over the few years and it helps them out of their money issues. He keeps and hides the manuscripts in the house.


When the money runs out, Pete tries to find a away to sell the manuscripts without getting caught. Well, this doesn't go over too well, especially after many years, Morris is let out of jail.

Pete's little sister, Tina gets in touch with Holly and Mr. Hodges at their place of work called Finders Keepers. They decide to help find out what is going on with Peter. It was nice to see some of the old gang back together. Even Jerome comes home from Harvard to visit and he gets in on the hunt for answers. We get an appearance of Odell, Jerome's dog. :-) I have to mention that because I love dogs and I loved Odell in the first book.

Anyway, things finally get figured out and some peeps die and some craziness happens and more peeps die but mostly it works out.

Also Mr. Hodges keeps going to visit Mr. Mercedes in the hospital. Hodges thinks he is faking his craziness or veg state, whatever you want to call it. I'm really hoping something more happens with that in the next book!


MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
Profile Image for Calista.
3,803 reviews31.2k followers
October 21, 2019
One of my new favorite Stephen King books to date. I loved this book about writers. I feel like King always tells an excellent story when a writer in the the book (Shining, Misery, etc). I think Stephen King is getting better with age. This is mostly a suspense book I believe. There are some horror elements, but it's not most of the book.

This book also ties into the Mr. Mercedes Killing from the previous book and it's a nice tie-in. Being the middle book in the trilogy, Bill Hodges also goes to the hospital to check in on Brady who is in some sort of coma with brain damage and he has woken up. Weird things happen around him. This is foreshadowing for the final book is my guess and setting up the final confrontation.

We meet two people, Morris, who sets the story off by murdering a famous author name John Rothstein. He goes to jail for a different murder, but he takes the notebooks from John's safe. Our other character is Peter. He finds the notebooks. Both characters are parallel to each other and also opposites. They each relate to Jimmy Gold from the best selling book series by Rothstein. They each react differently to the story. I love seeing these two people push the story forward.

I think Stephen is one of the best authors at characterization. He is a master; so good at what he does and what motivates a character. Also, I love the set-up of a famous series and how fans react to that fictional character. I'm sure King has more than his fair share of what's that like.

(Personally, I would love to see Stephen write a sequel to Firestarter. I love this book and I want to see what her life looks like now, today. It's one of my favorites and Dr. Sleep was so good that I want to know about this one.)

He puts Peter through the ropes as a character. I am so surprised at the ending. I really am. The choices made at the end felt real and appropriate and I'm simply surprised that it turned out that way.

One of the notable oddities of this book was that Bill Hodges doesn't show up in the story until almost halfway through the story. Seeing that it's his trilogy, I found that interesting. The truth is that I was so engrossed in our new characters and what was happening that I almost didn't miss them. Bill and Holly were most welcome back into the story. They make a great team and it was good to have them back. There wasn't a whole lot of detecting for them, but enough to make them needed in the story.

I think I am going to go ahead and get the last volume in the trilogy and read it this year instead of waiting a year. I am loving this. Also, I hear Outsider is a triology for Holly Gibney and I am excited to get into that book. Maybe I will make the rest of this year a Stephen King year and catch up with some of these series. I want to own this trilogy.

Profile Image for Will M..
304 reviews615 followers
June 11, 2015
Here's my review of the first book: Mr. Mercedes

I wasn't expecting to be completely amazed by this. Yes, King is my favorite author, but I know his strong point is Horror, and not Crime. The most important thing that I learned after reading this latest novel of his was that Stephen King can write anything he fucking wants. While I was satisfied with Mr. Mercedes, it's a different game when it comes to Finders Keepers. FK exceeded my expectations. This is an amazing novel, add that to the list of great novels King has written over the years.

Bill, Holly, and Jerome are back. The amazing trio we learned to love in Mr. Mercedes, but they're not the only stars in this novel. We have the honor student, the ever so curious Pete Saubers. Everything stared to go wrong the moment we get that flashback of the Mercedes incident, where Brady killed and injured a lot of people. Brady injured Pete's father, Tom. That accident started all the commotion in Pete's life. Then all of a sudden another antagonist named Morris Bellamy contributed to more chaos. Morris, the obsessed reader of Rothstein's novels decided to kill him and steal all of the things inside the author's safe. What happens next made this novel the piece of treasure that it is today.

This is a crime novel, and not a horror one. This is not a typical King novel in terms of the genre, but it's still King in terms of the greatness. He delivered what a crime novel should, and that's suspense. The last few chapters contained nothing but heart racing scenes. King doesn't hold back with his vivid portrayals of scenes, and FK was no different. When he wants to write something violent, he will. In terms of plot alone I could already give this a 5. I didn't see some of the things that happened in the end, but some were predictable.

The characters were incredible. That is King's talent, his characters. I liked everyone of them. Even the father, because the the flashback chapters in the beginning were great. Perfect way to build momentum. Then after all the flashbacks, King handed out chapter after chapter of suspense. The trio were still fun to read here. They had the same humor as the last novel. King didn't focus much on them though, all the attention was given to the Saubers. Pete and his family were also very well developed characters. I couldn't stand not knowing what would happen to them next. This novel should be the perfect example of a page turner.

I would've finished this in one sitting but I got a bit sick. I read 70 pages and decided to sleep first. The next day, cured from all illnesses, I finished the rest in one sitting. If that's not a page turner then I don't know what is. I'm not sure if this novel's really shorter than his other works or maybe it's because of the font and it being a hardback? It felt shorter, or maybe I was enjoying myself too much to notice the number of pages left. Rarely happens, only with some King books, not even all of his works. This is one of my favorite King books to date.

5/5 stars. If you're looking for horror from King, then don't expect it here. This is a straight out crime-thriller, and if you manage your expectations right, then you'll most probably enjoy this. I can't wait to read the third novel. That last paragraph was a huge cliffhanger. One more dreadful year of waiting. Write faster, King.
Profile Image for Andrew Smith.
1,035 reviews570 followers
December 16, 2022
I'm a relatively new convert to the story telling skills of SK. But I'm a long standing reader of crime fiction, so Stephen King’s foray into this genre with Mr Mercedes was a welcome surprise. And I loved it.

This is the second book (a trilogy is promised) featuring retired detective Bill Hodges, though until his appearance half way through the story you’d be hard pressed to believe it. There are, however, enough elements carried over from the previous book to provide continuity – it’s always clear that the spectre and the legacy of Mr Mercedes is present here.

I always enjoy books that feature writers and here we are introduced to the fictional John Rothstein who, reminiscent of Salinger, has secreted himself away from public view for many years after achieving success. His trilogy of books about Jimmy Gold (SK possibly used Updike’s Rabbit books as his reference here) became an obsession for a dark and creepy character called Morris Bellamy, who goes looking for Rothstein in the hope of finding a fourth, and maybe even a fifth, adventure. Suffice to say, a pile of Moleskin notes books are obtained and hidden by Bellamy – who promptly gets arrested and locked up for a long stretch following a violent rape committed whist drunk. All this is covered in the opening section of the book.

Over 30 years later the notebooks are found by Pete Saubers, whose family is in a dire financial position - partly as a result of his father having fallen victim to the Mr Mercedes tragedy. What happens from this point is the essence of the tale. And what a tale it is. The tension mounts and the pace of the action increases the deeper we get into the story. Hodges appears and another echo of the Mr Mercedes tragedy is introduced. Bellamy, of course, has not forgotten the notebooks and is seeking release from prison. It’s all geared up for an almighty collision.

It’s brilliantly handled and in my view even more riveting than the previous book. Sure, some of the same criticisms regarding actions taken could be levelled at this book as were put forward by some reviewers about Mr Mercedes. But once again, all I'd say is that I was totally wrapped up in the story, engrossed in a brilliantly woven narrative that hauled me mercilessly to a brilliant conclusion. I didn't have the time or the inclination to second guess why people did what they did. To me it all worked so well I wouldn't have changed a thing.

Perhaps the only jarring note for me comes right at the very end and is not directly connected to the outcome of this particular yarn, but involves the fate of the original purveyor of misery in Mr Mrecedes. I'll not comment further here but rather let you be your own judge, should you read this book. And if you're a lover of a good story you should do just that.

As a final point, I'd say to all fans of audiobooks that this is one of those occasions where the medium works perfectly. Will Patton (who also read Mr Mercedes) has just the right gravelly voice to bring the story to life. His pitch, tone and pace are just perfect. So if you like audio it’s definitely the way to go on this one.
Profile Image for Joey R..
236 reviews299 followers
October 7, 2021
3.0 stars — I enjoyed “Mr. Mercedes” so much, I waited almost 8 months to read book two of the trilogy: “Finders Keepers”. Since Stephen King has always been one of my favorite authors since I was a teenager, I thought to myself “what could go wrong with this book to make me not just absolutely love it and cause me to lower my rating to 3 stars?” First of all, the story itself was so predictable that by page 50 I knew exactly where the author was heading and what the final climax would be. Unfortunately, I was 100% correct. No book should be that predictable with no twists and turns to keep you guessing. Second, the author gets lazy with his plot allowing Bill Hodges, Holly and Jerome to make massive deductions about what is happening to the main character, Pete Saubers, and be on the mark every time. They also treated a young girl’s suspicions about her brother possibly coming into some money as if the brother was in the clutches of a serial killer. For example, they send Bill Hodges’ whole team to the school to cover every entrance and exit in order to find and interview Pete Saubers about the money his sister suspected he had secretly donated to their family. By chance, this just happens to be the day Pete’s whole world implodes and he has an unexpected encounter with a crazy murderer who is trying to rob and kill him that Pete didn’t even know about until he slips through the team’s grasp and they chase him around the city. The team then guesses correctly where Pete was going and how he was going to get there with amazing accuracy with no basis for these guesses. Cue the 🙄. However, the book is very fast paced and interesting and King does his usual great job of making his protagonists wonderful people that you really root for. The underlying plot of a boy finding a treasure and then being hunted down by a terrifying killer is also good. But due to the predictability and lazy writing I didn’t enjoy this one nearly as much as “Mr. Mercedes”.
Profile Image for Nicole.
718 reviews1,787 followers
August 23, 2021
I seem to be enjoying King's mystery books much more than horror. Although not as good as Mr. Mercedes, this book was very fun to read. I liked the new set of characters and the overall mystery (especially seeing events unfold from both sides). I think things were depending on coincidence too much in this book. While the climax took place on a single day, the few days leading to the said day stretched out a bit too much. Other than that, I have no complaints.

I'm glad I ended up buying these books (I have finally read all of my Stephen King's paperbacks) but I don't think I'll be buying the rest as physical copies, maybe The Stand and End of Watch (to complete this trilogy) but other than that, I'll stick to ebooks.

I recommend this series to any mystery or Stephen King fan. Even if you didn't like his other books, this trilogy is quite different from his usual publications so you might end up enjoying it!
Profile Image for Matt.
908 reviews28.1k followers
January 2, 2021
“For readers, one of life’s most electrifying discoveries is that they are readers – not just capable of doing it…but in love with it. Hopelessly. Head over heels. The first book that does that is never forgotten, and each page seems to bring a fresh revelation, one that burns and exalts: Yes! That’s how it is! Yes! I saw that, too! And, of course, That’s what I think! That’s what I FEEL!
- Stephen King, Finders Keepers

This is a novel that celebrates great literature. No, not just great, but transformative literature. The book that hooks you like a street drug, that teaches you the power of words; the book that, perhaps, for the first time, convinces you that you are not alone.

Finders Keepers, the middle entry of Stephen King’s Bill Hodges Trilogy, is the vessel used to transmit this powerful and resonant theme. Unfortunately, it is a decidedly average, at times even mediocre work, saved only by King’s innate ability to spin a yarn.

Middle installments of trilogies are famously hard to produce. You need to do contradictory things, by both moving forward and holding still, advancing the storyline but withholding the finale. The problems here have nothing to do with that. King has a good enough story, I think, but it is marred by lazy plotting and poor execution.

It could, in fact, have succeeded as a stand alone thriller, far away from the multiverse expanding around Bill Hodges.

The best part of Finders Keepers comes within its first section. King’s opening gambit is brilliant. In two alternating storylines, one starting in 1978, the other in 2009, King builds a clever back-story that had me absolutely on the hook.

In 1978, a psychopathic literature fan named Morris Bellamy breaks into the home of the reclusive and retired author, John Rothstein. Part Salinger and part Roth, John Rothstein is most famous for his Runner trilogy, featuring a protagonist named Jimmy Gold (who seems to be a cross between Holden Caulfield and Rabbit Angstrom). Rothstein is reputed to have a trove of unpublished material, including sequels to his Runner books.

Morris steals this paper treasure from Rothstein, deals with his accomplices, and then buries a chest full of Moleskine journals while he tries to figure out what to do with his haul.

The burial takes place behind Morris’s old home, in an unnamed Ohio industrial city that is fast becoming Castle Rock 2.0.

Meanwhile, in 2009, we meet Tom Sauber, who is about to go to the job fair at City Center. He is injured by Brady Hartsfield, a.k.a. “Mr. Mercedes,” in the bloody crime that opened volume one of the Hodges Trilogy. Injured and out of work, in the midst of the Great Recession, the Sauber family tries to hold together. King has always had a frighteningly good ability to deconstruct a family. With incredible economy, King traces every fracture and fault line, viewing most of the collapse through the eyes of young Peter.

One day, Peter, who is also a John Rothstein super-fan, goes out back behind his house, which was also once the house of Morris Bellamy. He finds the manuscripts buried in the backyard.

And that’s when the real story begins.

I absolutely loved the opening sequences, the toggling back and forth, the excruciating and precise tracing of shattered psyches and splintered families. To me, this was a master-class of writing. King uses it as buildup, but it stands alone as its own story. It is some of the best writing King has done.

And it is followed by some of the worst.

It’s strange that it takes so long for Bill Hodges to enter his own story. Strange, but not unwelcome. I don’t think much of the Hodges character. To me, the retired detective is one-half stereotype, one-half bad decisions. When we meet him, he is running a skip tracing firm called Finders Keepers, dedicated to locating people who have gone underground. The crew he gathered in Mr. Mercedes, including Holly (a computer expert) and Jerome (also a computer expert) are still around, though Jerome’s page time is down (possibly because there is no need for two computer experts).

For reasons that I will not spoil, and which are frankly too convoluted and stupid to explain, Hodges and Finders Keepers is pulled into the Bellamy/Sauber saga over the missing Rothstein manuscripts. Suffice to say, it does not make sense to call Hodges, except that the novel is putatively about Hodges. So, Hodges gets the call.

I will freely admit that I am a bit fixated on this turn of events. This shoehorning of Hodges, Holly, and Jerome into a perfectly good story. If I could have swallowed this, I probably would have enjoyed the rest of the meal. But I could not. It stuck in my throat like a big chunk of dry beef.

The reason: The entire endgame is based on the premise that no one is smart enough to call 9-1-1.

If anyone, at any time, had picked up the phone, dialed three numbers that my four year-old knows by heart, and spoke to the person on the other end, all the twists, turns, and unnecessary danger is immediately averted.

Yet, despite learning this exact lesson in Mr. Mercedes, Hodges refuses to make that call. Even when he is standing at the scene of a homicide!

The contortions that King undertakes to rationalize this obstinate refusal to contact authorities is ridiculous. King seems to sense this ridiculousness, and keeps trying to explain it. It probably would have been better just to ignore the plot hole, instead of drawing attention to it. We all know it’s just an excuse to let Fool & the Gang in on the fun.

King’s best work is not necessarily based on intricate designs. When I think back to my favorite King novels, expert plotting is not what sticks out in my mind. In Finders Keepers, everything falls into place. There are no lose ends. The gears spin without a hitch. The problem, though, is that this mechanism is constructed of wild coincidences, acts of god, and a bevy of questionable choices by the characters, ranging from impossibly prophetic to implausibly stupid. The denseness of the characters is really grating, especially Peter Saubers, who despite being a precocious reader has the decision-making abilities of a sack of bent nails. At one point, he tells himself to think hard, and I nearly shouted, Hard? As soon as you think at all, it’ll be the first time!

This is a book in which the heroes don’t alert law enforcement, even when they desperately need to get to a location 20 minutes away…This is a book in which characters who don’t seem to recognize the need to alert law enforcement, can nevertheless make incredible inferential leaps that allow them to stay on the trail of the baddie…this is a book in which a teenage girl, at a crucial, life & death juncture of the story, leaves her cell phone in the house.

In none of the infinite worlds existing parallel to our own would a teenager voluntarily leave the house without her cell phone. Life and death situation or not.

All the slipshod scene construction, the papering over of huge logic gaps, the very Scooby Doo-ish nature of Bill Hodges and Co. tracking down the bad guy, eventually started to grate on me.

King is so talented that even his worst stuff is still readable. That’s the bottom line here. This is some of his worst stuff, and it’s still readable.

I will move forward to the final installment, to see who Bill Hodges will track down next, knowing full well that the person who really should be in jail, for the safety of all, is Bill Hodges himself.
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
684 reviews1,050 followers
January 7, 2022
Really enjoyed this second instalment!

I will say it took a while to get going, we don’t even see Bill Hodges until page 180! But once it did I was hooked.

In 1978 Morris Bellamy is obsessed with the Jimmy Gold books, written by John Rothstein. But when he is disappointed by the final book in the trilogy, he decides to visit John and give him a piece of his mind.
What he ends up doing is killing the poor guys and stealing a load of cash and notebooks from his safe. Notebooks containing further Jimmy Gold novels.

2010. Morris is in prison; Pete Saubers’ family move into Bellamy’s old house. They are struggling financially since his father was brutally injured by the Mercedes killer a few years back.
Pete finds the cash and notebooks buried in the woods. What will he do with it?

2014. After 35 years in prison, Morris is up for parole and hellbent on getting back his treasure.

Full of action and suspense. I was desperately cheering on Bill and the team, and praying that Pete and his family would be ok.

I also liked the brief tie in with book 1 - Mr Mercedes. What a cliffhanger at the end! Cannot wait to pick up the third book.
Profile Image for Justin.
273 reviews2,248 followers
October 14, 2016
I started typing out a review of the book, and I might get back to doing that, but not yet. First, a few things that annoyed me with this book followed by stuff I really enjoyed.

1. What's up with old man Hodges always hanging around people that could be his grandchildren? His story at the beginning of Mr. Mercedes was so pitiful, but now he's like the cool old guy that the kids hang out with because he buys them beer. I still have issues with his friendship with Jerome. And Holly is a really annoying character. I'm putting too much into one point. Oh well.

2. Stephen King is stuck in the 20th century when it comes to the way people talk, especially when it comes to characters like Jerome. Even when Jerome does his stupid voice of some character he invented to sound more black, it just comes off as forced and awkward. He could really use some help in writing dialogue for younger characters, especially young black characters. Sometimes things would be moving along just fine and someone would say "homegirls don't play that" and I would have to stop reading for a second to give my eyes time to roll back into place.

Alright, I'm good.

I really did like the beginning of the story and the ending, like the ending ending. Like the ok cool I'm glad I have End of Watch ready to go ending. Whoa oh boy that was interesting.

But, where this book really got my attention is with its book talk. I immediately wanted to read Rabbit, Run and American Pastoral and all the other newer classics of last century. It had a Mr. Penumbra kind of vibe at times, and I just really liked watching Pete's story unfold.

I actually liked Morris as the villain more than Brady. I don't feel like King shoved how bad Morris was into my face like he did with Brady, and It was cool to see Morris unravel as the story progressed. More crazy author and obsessed fan stuff that we have all seen before with King, but it played out pretty well.

I'm still not ready to call this a trilogy. I'll read the final book and see what happens, but this felt like a story that didn't need Hodges and the gang at all. It actually may have stood up on its own without Hodges and been a better story. King did a nice job weaving in events from the first book, but I almost forgot this was a Bill Hodges story until he finally made an appearance. Even after he was on the scene he felt like more of an afterthought. Still chillin' with his homeboys and homegirls though. Still keep on' gangsta.

I'm excited for the grand finale, and I'm really hope it's going where it seems like it's going. Now it's time to read Rabbit, Run.
Profile Image for Carol.
824 reviews482 followers
February 7, 2017
The Hook - No daily walk would be complete without an audio book to listen to. Finders Keepers and its fine narration by Will Patton. Patton differentiates between characters, young, old, male or female with out missing a beat.

The Line - ”You know what kid? It’s guys like you who give reading a bad name.”

The Sinker - The first line of a review is often much like the first line of a book. What one has to say sets the tone and the promise. I don’t know where to begin but I know I want your attention.

My sense of deja vu in the opening scenes of Finders Keepers were strong allying my fears that the six months between reading the second in The Bill Hodges Trilogy was too long. I shouldn’t have worried as one honestly could be read without reading the other, yet the enjoyment of returning to remembered ground was doubled by having read the first.

“Finders keepers, losers weepers.” Can you really keep it if you find it and no one lays claim to your prize? This is the question thirteen year-old Peter Saubers wrestles with when he unearths a chest containing $20,000 in small bills and several leather journals penned by the revered author, John Rothstein, who was murdered in his home several years before. His family sure needs the money as his father is unemployed and disabled after being gravely injured when a Mercedes plows into him and others at a job fair at the City Center Auditorium. Pete decides to anonymously feed the cash in monthly mailings to his family. But the real find is the long-lost notebooks, what to do with these? This is where the true dilemma for Pete begins. It is the crux of this thrilling story, which brings characters old and new, including the now retired Detective Bill Hodges.

Stephen King, I love you for having no shame in dropping names throughout your novels. Finders Keepers is no exception and I reveled in the many references to authors, books, songs and more.

Finders Keepers shines in King’s exploration of the relationship of reader and writer. This kinship is what it is all about. One cannot exist without the other. King gets it.

Profile Image for Jonathan Janz.
Author 42 books1,677 followers
August 16, 2017
Have I mentioned how much I'd love to meet Stephen King? See, he changed my life. Without him, I wouldn't be a reader, a writer, or an English/Creative Writing teacher. And he also rescued my self-esteem when I was fourteen years old and convinced me I wasn't an idiot.

So, yeah, he's sort of special to me. But since this is a book review, here are the the things I'm noticing about King lately (and keep in mind that his older books--'SALEM'S LOT, THE DEAD ZONE, and THE STAND, to name just a few--are among my favorite novels of all time):

--He's still improving. King is what happens when a generational talent exhibits an inexhaustible devotion to his craft.

--His characterization is as good as ever, and in many ways, it's more subtle. Morris Bellamy, for instance, is a fascinating villain. When you read him, King makes it look so easy that you forget just how complicated and twisted Morris is. But King so completely inhabits Bellamy that even the most convoluted justification of a depraved action seems reasonable to you...because you *are* that character while you read. That's an extraordinary ability.

--He can still punch us in the gut. Take the opening scene of FINDERS KEEPERS. Good. Freaking. Gravy. I don't think I breathed until the thing was over, not only because I was terrified of what was about to happen, but because when it *did* happen I fancied I could feel King's hard white knuckles crashing into my belly somewhere in the vicinity of my navel. King can still sting with the best of them. Better than the best of them, actually.

--I genuinely love his characters because *he* genuinely loves his characters. Bill Hodges. Pete Saubers. Jerome and Holly. King cares deeply about these make-believe people, and as a result, I wouldn't be surprised if one of them came walking into my writing room right now. In fact--Oh, hey Bill! I didn't know you were stopping by! Sorry about being in my underwear and all but--what was that? Oh, you're worried about that creep locked up in the hospital ward, huh? Yeah, me too. I get the feeling Brady Hartsfield isn't done with us yet. More specifically...and I hate to say this because you know how much I like you, Bill, but...I've got a feeling Brady isn't done with *you* specifically. I'm worried about you. I want you to work through your guilt and see the great man I see. I want you to triumph over Brady once and for all.

I guess I better go read END OF WATCH to find out if that happens...
Profile Image for Christy.
56 reviews108 followers
October 14, 2016
Seems like its been awhile since I read this book, but since I just updated the other two in the series, I thought I needed to add my thoughts on this one. *****I feel a need to add (after reading some reviews), that although King often uses writers, I agree with Rick Urban who said 'they are variations on a theme'...as composers do. And that is a perfect picture of King through the years--a gigantic composer, creating his own universe--and as far as this being a "redone Misery, I feel that perhaps they should be read back to back...gosh--the writer in this book is only really around in the introduction to the real story, which is so different there are other people saying it doesn't even seem like a King book (while I am happy to let him try different styles). Other than that, everyone is entitled to like a story or not, based on it's own merits, and be respected for it....now to my review....

Out of the trilogy, I really liked this one, though End of Watch i loved. Both great. Both tied together in many ways; yet the genres are completely different. To me Finders Keepers is almost a straightforward crime thriller, and I believe King has proven that he can write any style he chooses. I think it's unique for an author to have a distinct trilogy using divergent styles. I don't remember having seen it done before, and for that I only feel my respect for King growing. Avoiding, like most actors, to be "typecast", and spreading his wings a bit. I guess that if I was in the "horror only" camp, this book would have been a disappointment. It wouldn't have made it a "bad book"--just one that wasn't my cup of tea.

With the whole storyline very well laid out above in the intro, there's no need for me to waste anyone's time explaining what this story is about. I loved the development of the characters in this book, especially Holly. Other than their story growing and expanding, this book could *almost* be a stand alone crime thriller, and I'm sure it would be very possible to enjoy this book on it's own, though in my opinion it would be a mistake.

I liked the tie-in to Mr. Mercedes, with Pete's father... Seeing the damage one family endured from the first book up close and personal. And Pete was such a great character(by far my favorite!), his story was so fun an uplifting to read....his love of literature and his family was so endearing. (Hope there are a lot of boys like him out there...and that he pops up again in King's books, he has to be one of my favorite characters in a long time!) I also loved the literary angle the whole book had--wouldn't it be great to find a trunk filled with masterpieces no one else had ever read?? Then the trouble with Morris eventually bringing Hodges and team in....pretty far into the book... Their role was small, but enjoyed seeing (Jive talking'...ugh) Jerome and his sister again. ... The struggle with the despicable, manuscript stealing, murdering Morris kept me on the edge of my seat.

Then the tease at the end with Brady.....it was too much.....and made me realize that Stephan had a big one coming our way! Wow, I'd never anticipated a book's release more than the end of this trilogy (End of Watch).
Profile Image for James Thane.
Author 8 books6,910 followers
February 8, 2017
With the second novel in the Bill Hodges trilogy, Stephen King returns to an exploration of the sometimes obsessive ties that bind authors and readers together, a topic that he explored so chillingly nearly thirty years earlier in Misery.

In this case a writer named John Rothstein has retired to the seclusion of an isolated home in the country after creating a fabulous character named Jimmy Gold who appealed particularly to large numbers of young men who were trying to find their way in the world. Decades later, rumors swirl that Rothstein has continued to write even though he hasn't published anything since the last Jimmy Gold novel, which disappointed many of his readers who felt that, at the end, Rothstein had allowed Jimmy to sell out to the establishment.

One of those disappointed readers is a young man named Morris Bellamy. Bellamy is so outraged by the perceived injustice of it all, that he recruits a couple of marginal criminals and the three of them break into Rothstein's house late one night. Bellamy has promised his illiterate confederates who wouldn't know John Rothstein from Jacqueline Susann, that the author has a large sum of money hidden in the house, but Bellamy himself is determined to find the notebooks in which Rothstein has allegedly been writing since he withdrew from public life. Rumor has it that Rothstein may have even written another Jimmy Gold novel and, if so, Bellamy is determined to have it all for himself.

Things do not go exactly as planned, and Bellamy winds up killing his literary idol, but not before making Rothstein open his large safe. The safe contains about $20,000 in cash and a trove of notebooks. Bellamy buries the cash and the notebooks in what he hopes will be a safe place behind the house in which he grew up. But before he even has a chance to look at the notebooks, fate intervenes and he gets sent to prison for a crime totally unrelated to the murder of John Rothstein. It will be thirty-five years before he has a chance to dig up the cash and the notebooks.

Well, as we all know, a lot can happen in thirty-five years. Another family will move into the old Bellamy home. Hard times will descend on the family, which is headed by a man who was badly injured in the massacre that opened Mr. Mercedes, the first book in this trilogy. In the family is a bright young son named Pete Saubers who will stumble across an old buried trunk that has been exposed by a storm.

When Pete opens the trunk, what he discovers will change the course of his life, along with that of a large number of other people, including Bill Hodges, the retired detective who was the principal protagonist in Mr. Mercedes. This is a gripping tale from first page to last, and it will appeal particularly to readers who are obsessive in their own ways, although one hopes, not to the extent of Morris Bellamy. The characters are very well drawn; Pete Saubers is especially sympathetic, and it's nice to see Bill Hodges and some of the other characters from the first book again. As in most Stephen King novels, there are lots of thrills and chills, and having read it, I'm very anxious to finally get to the concluding volume of the trilogy, even though I understand that, due to the size of my TBR stack, I'm already well behind most other readers in this regard.
Profile Image for Ginger.
739 reviews342 followers
May 17, 2020
Finders Keepers was a good second book in a trilogy!

I thought the plot of the book was well done along with the ending.
Bill Hodges, Jerome and Holly don't even show up until half the book has been established. I thought this was an interesting way of writing a book and I don't think it took from the overall rating and satisfying ending.

Finders Keepers is a book about BOOKS! and being obsessed with a writer. It has a bit of a Misery feel to it due to the topic, but it was still enjoyable in it's own right!

Since this is the second book that I've read about obsessed book fans by Stephen King, I'm wondering how many creepy fan letters he's getting in the mail. hahaha!!

Finders Keepers starts off with Morris Bellamy being obsessed with iconic author John Rothstein.
In fact, he's so obsessed with Rothstein that he decides to break into his house one night and find any written material that Rothstein has not published. Rothstein writes about Jimmy Gold, an iconic figure that Bellamy feels sold out on what the character should have been.

Uh, crazy fandom alert! We've got someone who's not happy with an author or how they think the character should have been. Yeah, we've all been there but Morris took this too a whole "new level".

Shit don't mean shit and it all went down that night at Rothstein's house. Morris leaves with money, new Jimmy Gold material and hides his stash.
Morris is a raging drunk though and blacks out when he's drinking. He does something horrible one night and gets thrown into the pokey.

Fast forward 30+ years and teenager Pete Saubers finds treasure one night and his life is forever changed.

The ending of this book was fast paced and thrilling. I've noticed that this whole series has had really great endings! The plot builds and builds until it just goes off at the end.

Definitely recommend this series if you're a Stephen King fan or likes thrillers.

It's not in the horror genre but King does what he does best. He writes interesting and lovable characters. He also writes flawed and despicable characters that you love to hate.
Kudos to another great addition to the Bill Hodges trilogy!
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,854 reviews16.4k followers
December 13, 2017
Back in the 90s I was in the Coast Guard and we made a big drug bust out at sea, a TON of cocaine. 2,000 pounds. While the stash was aboard we took pictures of the stack of bails, posed with it, etc. We joked about grabbing some and selling it. What a joke that was. How could a bunch of Coast Guard guys, most of us only a few years removed from suburban schools and boot camp, move any of that product? So what if it was worth millions, there would be no feasible way to even try.

A character in Stephen King’s 2015 novel Finder’s Keepers, the sequel to his 2014 Bill Hodges novel Mr. Mercedes, has a similar problem. He has found notebooks from a famous writer, but these were stolen in a burglary, and so how can he sell them?

What follows is some of King’s best writing.

With elements of caught-in-a-trap-and-can’t-walk-out lifted from Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men (or Elvis’ Suspicious Minds ;), King describes the unusual plight of young Peter Saubers, who has found a stashed treasure: some money and lots of notebooks from fictional writer John Rothstein (an amalgamation of John Updike, Philip Roth, and J. D. Salinger). But the original thief of the goods is also on the prowl and Hodges and his motley crew of investigative experts is zeroing in on how to help Pete and his family before all hell breaks loose.

Using the disaster described in Mr. Mercedes, King sets up the events in this novel and also fashions a crafty, decades old crime story into what is a little closer to his horrific writing home than in the preceding book. King fans, and I am one, may like this one better than the original as we see more of the old King Shining (!) through, whereas in Mr. Mercedes (also a fine book) King seemed to be testing the waters of crime fiction.

Another element that stood out was King’s creation of Rothstein’s work and how his writing effected both Pete and the demented thief Bellamy. Similar to Salinger’s Holden Caulfield, Rothstein’s protagonist Jimmy Gold is a young adult everyman to whom impressionable readers can relate. Creating a comparable theme as in King’s Misery, Bellamy is enraged at how the writer’s portrayal of Gold has come unmoored from what he thought it should be.

Suspenseful and tense, with King’s usual masterful use of dialogue and characterization, this takes off from Mr. Mercedes and does one better.

Profile Image for Blaine.
729 reviews580 followers
April 12, 2022
For readers, one of life’s most electrifying discoveries is that they are readers—not just capable of doing it (which Morris already knew), but in love with it. Hopelessly. Head over heels. The first book that does that is never forgotten, and each page seems to bring a fresh revelation, one that burns and exalts: Yes! That’s how it is! Yes! I saw that, too! And, of course, That’s what I think! That’s what I FEEL!

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 is a secretary, not God.
Count me among those who think that Finders Keepers may have started as a stand alone book, and that Bill Hodges was added somewhere midway through the process (and literally a third of the way through the story) to make the Bill Hodges story a trilogy.

That said, the story in Finders Keepers is pretty strong overall. Morris is a well-developed villain, and believable in his obsession, which is key for enjoying the plot. Pete is also a well-developed lead character. He makes mistakes that drive the plot, but they are also believable (again, key for enjoying the plot). Secondary characters (Rothstein, Andy, Tina) are also given their due. The book moves fast, and held my interest throughout.

I was surprised by the inclusion of Brady Hartsfield, and by the hints of the supernatural. That will be a departure for this trilogy, which outside of those sections, have been straight detective/crime thriller stories. But as always, I will be interested to see where Stephen King wants to go. Recommended, though as this will now be a trilogy, you should certainly start with Mr. Mercedes.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books3,911 followers
October 18, 2017
If anything, the second book in the Bill Hodges Trilogy is better, but not because Bill doesn't show up until much later in the tale. Indeed, I loved it because the characters were extremely vivid and interesting and more than practically any other King novel, I felt the avalanche of events pile up beautifully.

It's like Misery in that we've got obsessions gone really awry, but it goes a bit further, not limiting us to a closed bedroom, but over thirty-five years, several kinds of obsessed fans, and a Salinger-type writer who's killed for the value of his hidden writings.

It's pretty awesome. King has a way of getting deep into the heads and reasons of the baddies and the innocent, alike. Morris isn't as bad as some of King's characters, but he's enough like us book nerds that the sympathy magic works some wonders. Of course, I simply like Pete. He drives the emotion in the tale, and Bill and crew come to save the day, somehow. :)

It's a great tale and it moves really well. :) There's very little of the cliche stuff here. Instead, just a great story.

Oh, and now there's just a tiny, tiny hint of supernatural. I laughed.
Profile Image for Edgarr Alien Pooh.
272 reviews176 followers
January 14, 2021
The second of the trilogy begins the usual Stephen King trick of intertwining books. The son of a man injured in Mr Mercedes is now central to the plot. A crime committed long ago and he has nothing to do with it. Yet in the eyes of others all evidence points to him. Yet again King turns to his own art as he uses an author as the central story.
Profile Image for Carol.
1,370 reviews2,121 followers
October 27, 2015
FINDERS KEEPERS is the second book in the Stephen King MR. MERCEDES trilogy that begins with a trip back to 1978 and a terrifying home invasion by whacko killer Morris Bellamy, then fast forwards to 2010 with a story of buried treasure and a family in need, eventually leading back to retired Police Detective Hodges (and cohorts) and a connection to MM.

But, where is Brady Hartsfield, the perpetrator of the City Center massacre that started this whole nightmare??? Remember what happened to him at the conclusion of Book #1?

While I enjoyed this suspenseful crime-murder mystery more than MM, there are some rather slow parts about mid-way, but the "Oh No!" moments are there too with, of course, a few tie-ins to other King books as is the norm. As for Book #3, for me, it has already taken a big spine-chilling step toward the dark and creepy side. Can't Wait!

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