Vane J.'s Reviews > Mr. Mercedes

Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
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's review
Dec 05, 2014

did not like it
bookshelves: mystery-thriller, stephen-king, 2015, disappointing, insta-love, boring, terrible-writing, tstl-characters

There are few authors I trust completely when buying books. Stephen King is one of them. That's one of the reasons why I wanted to read this book. The other one is simpler: A mystery/crime/thriller novel? Give it to me! Yes, please! I wanna! And written by SK? Oops, there goes my money! Bad thing is, when you have high expectations for something, you either get blown away, or you end up really disappointed. My case is the latter one.

The books starts with two people talking at a job fair. Suddenly, a car comes and crashes against them, killing eight people and injuring others. The man inside the car is the famous Mercedes Killer – a psychotic guy with murdering tendencies whom no one has been able to capture.

Sooner after, this said man sends a tempting letter to Bill Hodges, a retired detective. Hodges then is determined to find out who this Mercedes Killer is and to bring an end to him.

The basic premise of the book sounded really interesting to me. As I have said, I love mysteries/thrillers, and this one is supposed to be one of those, so what went wrong?


First, there's no freaking mystery.

A mystery should be intriguing. It should keep you invested while reading the pages. It should keep you hooked to the book so you can figure out what the answer is.

This book did not accomplish neither of those things.

It's just a man-hunt. But don't get me wrong – that wasn't my problem. My problem was that this man-hunt felt totally pointless. At the beginning, when Hodges was given the letter, I was compelled and interested. I lost my interest when it started to feel like two kids fighting over a toy. It was like (the conversation to follow is made up by me):

kermitfrog19 (aka Hodges):

merckill: Lulz

kermitfrog19: You stupid brat.

merckill: What didcha say? I WILL KILL YOU AND YOU WILL NOT SEE ME COMING.

*fails attempt*


And so on. Seriously, it felt ridiculous after some point.

Second point, insta-freaking-love.

There's a woman in here called Jayne. Hodges met her and literally two minutes after he's making cheesy observations about the way her lips move or about the look in her eyes. And then, when their relationship “develops” into something more serious, the romance takes over the plot (for some 50 pages or so). Worse even, I hated the love interest. She was a hypocrite.

Third point, characterization.

All the characters sounded the same to me. The book alternates between Hodges and Brady's (Brady is the Mercedes Killer, just so you know – and no, this is not a spoiler, his identity is revealed 20 pages in) POVs. One is a retired cop; the other is a psycho. Their voices should sound different, don't they?

Well, they didn't.

All the characters felt like carbon copies of the rest. Jerome (a kid who assists Hodges) sounded just like Hodges. The same happened to everyone else, and this ruined my liking Brady as a character – I mean, he's a psycho, for god's sake! There's nothing more intriguing than having the opportunity of being inside a mind like that in a book. It's a good chance to read a bout a complex character.

Bad thing he was just Hodges #53621.

And don't even get me started on Hodges with his hero complex. Really, get over yourself! Also, King constantly tries to convince us he's the good guy with the honorable intentions. Almost on every page, some pointless character told Hodges that “he was doing the correct thing,” “he was a good person,” etc. Ugh.

Fourth point, writing.

One word to describe it? Insipid. Too many passages of telling and zero showing. I'm really surprised at that. If you look at my reviews for other of King's books, you will see that the things I praise the most is the writing. In this one, on the contrary, it's my biggest complaint.

The book is narrated in 3rd person, present tense. It ANNOYED me. I don't usually have a problem with the tense a book is written, but in this case, I did. And plus, it gave itself for so much telling and no showing. Hodges would say he was happy, but he did not show us the proof; Hodges would tell us he was sad, but there would e no sign showing it was true, etc.

Plus, there were some repetitions in passages. They were short, unnoticeable things, but at the moment they happened, I was already hating it and seeing all the mistakes.

Fifth point, BORING.

Aside there being no mystery, it was boring. NOTHING HAPPENED. And no, the pages that could have been used for plot development were not used for character development. They were just there... to fill space... because they were boring and pointless and nothing. Happened. The only scene I enjoyed was whe Brady was recalling his younger brother's death, but there dies my interest.

Finally, even when this is probably the biggest disappointment of the year, I will still read Finders Keepers. Surprised, are you? Yeah, well, I've read some reviews that have got me intrigued about this one. I'm just doubting because of Hodges (whom I thoroughly LOATHED), but ehh, guess I can survive it.

P.S.: Stahp it with the freaking Blue Umbrella.
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Reading Progress

December 5, 2014 – Shelved
May 26, 2015 – Started Reading
May 26, 2015 –
page 1
0.23% "Forget about An Ember in the Ashes. It's Stephen King time again!"
May 28, 2015 –
page 27
6.19% "This man - the one who wrote the letter to Hodges - is insane. And he reminds me to certain someone:\n \n \n \n (Though I like the way he thinks. Don't kill me! I'm not as crazy!)"
May 29, 2015 –
page 50
11.47% "Umm, for the first time in a SK book, I'm not feeling the characters a lot. They all feel... dull. There. I've said it. I can't connect with them and the writing is annoying me. *hides in corner*"
June 2, 2015 –
page 70
16.06% "Umm, okay, something in this book is not working for me, especially the writing (that present tense is annoying me).\n \n I'll go watch one or two episodes of CSI because suddenly it's a thousand times better than this.\n \n P.S.: I love CSI, jsyk."
June 4, 2015 –
page 80
18.35% "I HATE HODGES!!"
June 6, 2015 –
page 106
24.31% "Oh dear...\n \n Instalove.\n \n "
June 7, 2015 –
page 130
29.82% "“I don’t know, Mr. H. It’s like a Sherlock Holmes story, isn’t it? A real three-pipe problem.”\n \n Yeah, it's like a Sherlock Holmes story... except there's no character equivalent to Holmes, no Watson, it's boring, there's no mystery... Sure, it's almost like Sherlock Holmes written by Stephen King. -_-\n \n "
June 10, 2015 –
page 150
34.4% "From this point, I will start skimming because seriously, this book is so boring."
June 10, 2015 –
page 160
36.7% "Brady might be a much more interesting character if he wasn't written so... shallow. That said, he's the only character I find to be intriguing."
June 10, 2015 –
page 180
41.28% "Brady is such an psycho, but I love him... as a character! Don't worry, I'm as sane as I can be.\n \n P.S.: This man hunt reminds me to two pair of (fictional) people. Make guesses!"
June 14, 2015 –
page 207
47.48% "Wut? I can't tell the differences of the voices in which this book is narrated. I just figured out it was Brady's (the psycho) POV and not Hodges' (the ex-cop) one. I should not have that problem... and less even caused by Stephen King."
June 14, 2015 –
page 307
70.41% "I'm at that point where I wish Brady would kill Bill (haha, "kill Bill"). I'm going to skim (because I'm honestly bored and I don't care) so I can finish it today and write the review."
June 14, 2015 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-13 of 13) (13 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Silvia (new) - added it

Silvia Turcios :(

Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘ Oh bummer. Great honest review Vane! I'm sorry that it wasn't good :(

message 3: by Halle (new)

Halle Watson Oh no! I guess when someone rights as many books as SK, a few are bound to be misses. Really enjoyed your review :)

message 4: by Vane (new) - rated it 1 star

Vane J. Alienor ๑ is waiting for July ๑ wrote: "Oh bummer. Great honest review Vane! I'm sorry that it wasn't good :("


message 5: by Vane (new) - rated it 1 star

Vane J. Halle wrote: "Oh no! I guess when someone rights as many books as SK, a few are bound to be misses. Really enjoyed your review :)"

Thank you. This is the first time SK has disappointed me. I know there will be more, but I hope they are not as bad as this one.

message 6: by ♛Tash (new) - added it

♛Tash Good thing I switched to The Shining. I read 5 chapters of Mr. Mercedes and was just not feeling it,I also did not like Hodges, so I switched. Great review as usual.

message 7: by Emily May (new) - added it

Emily May I completely agree. We started reading this at the same time but I quickly put it on hold. I don't even want to finish it :(

message 8: by Vane (new) - rated it 1 star

Vane J. Tash wrote: "Good thing I switched to The Shining. I read 5 chapters of Mr. Mercedes and was just not feeling it,I also did not like Hodges, so I switched. Great review as usual."

The Shining is really good, so I hope you like it. And yeah, I understand - it's difficult to like Hodges, especially with what I said about him being forced to be the good guy. Thanks! :)

message 9: by Vane (new) - rated it 1 star

Vane J. Emily May wrote: "I completely agree. We started reading this at the same time but I quickly put it on hold. I don't even want to finish it :("

How far did you make it? You know, I want to believe I did not like it as much as other SK novels because his ability is not really writing crime thrillers but horror... still, there were points in characterization and writing style that I always love and in this book I hated. :/ If you ever try it again, I'd love to know your opinion.

message 10: by Emily May (new) - added it

Emily May About 25%. I just found it so boring and I agree with everything you said about the writing. I thought all the telling made it very dense and tedious.

message 11: by Vane (new) - rated it 1 star

Vane J. Yeah, dense and tedious. And also it felt as if King was trying too hard to make it sound thrilling, but it wasn't, which is sad, because he does this really good in his other books. :/

message 12: by Eric (new)

Eric That's unfortunate, I was really looking forward to picking up his new book. Great job on the review btw, looks like you spent a lot of time on it!

Courtney I'm glad I'm not alone. Very boring in many places. I was not impressed. It wasn't the page turner I was hoping for.

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