"I'm taking the pressure away" post went online, I literally finished this audiobook that took me OVER A MONTH (or it felt like that), which Midas PR kindly allowed me to review for Audible.co.uk. So, thank you Audible and Midas!
In this, Stephen King's first "crime/thriller" novel (really?), retired cop Bill Hodges receives a letter from a man claiming to be the Mercedes Killer. A man who stole a Mercedes-Benz and, early one morning, ploughed into a gathering line that waited for a job fair (thanks to the joy of the recent recession), killing eight, including a young mother and her baby. The Mercedes Killer (aka Mr Mercedes) taunts Hodges, saying he won't be catch because he has no intention of doing it again.
Which Hodges knows is a complete lie. Hell-bent to catch the guy, Hodges has to go back over this case and begins to question if he investigated the case as non-biased as he was meant to...
On the other side of town, Brady Hartsfield lives with his alcoholic mother, works two jobs, once had a younger brother and is a whizz on computers. He is also Mr Mercedes, and he's plotting his next act. One that could destroy the lives of hundreds, maybe thousands of lives.
Ok, why did I want to listen to this story? Well, it's Stephen King and I have never read a Stephen King novel. And as some of you guys class him as (pun alert!) the King of Modern Horror, I have always been curious to read him (and yet a complete scaredy-cat - horror freaks me out!). Plus, this is hat some of you guys have called his first "crime/thriller" novel and I am a sucker for crime novels so this one was perfect for me.
Or so I thought.
Before I go into a full-blown rant, let me talk about the positives. This is a pretty solid read. There is a lot of character building and King takes his time with his characters. He wants you to feel for them, to grow to like them. That way, when sometime shocking begins to be plotted or happens to them, you are thrown for six. And the last two hours of the audiobook were gripping. Edge of your seat stuff there.
HOWEVER, there are problems with this audiobook! HUGE PROBLEMS!!! Which I think I can sum up into four points.
First, the narrator. Will Patton - I have SERIOUS issues with this guy. It took me a VERY long time to warm to his voice and for most of the audiobook, the reason for this was that he sounded BORED reading the book to us. Sorry, but if the narrator sounds bored then the listener of the audiobook is going to be just as bored, if not more so. If not bored, then angry. I had times (more than once over the 14 hours and 21 minutes) where I would think/rant "I'm sorry, Mr Will Patton, are we keeping you? I mean, you must have been paid to read this and you sound like you don't give a rat's **** over pretending to enjoy this story!"
The second is length. I get why the book was so long, I do, but there were sentences, paragraphs, even whole chapters that weren't needed. So why are they there? For example, the very first chapter where we are first introduced to Hodges. We met him and he discover that, because he is retired, he watches (and moans about) a lot of Midday TV and considers commiting suicide with his father's old gun. And that's it. That is basically it. The paragraphs where Hodges moans about midday TV shows and then crime shows (Bones, CSI, NCIS, etc) are important to the story how exactly? And with Hodges considering killing himself with his father's gun - it is mentioned so many times through the story (as Mr Mercedes mentions this in his letter to Hodges the following chapter) that it didn't feel like this chapter was needed. Important information from this chapter could have been inserted within chapter 3 or 4 and it wouldn't have upset the story.
The fourth (and final point) is more a me thing. As I said earlier on, I read crime and thriller books. Not other, but I do binge on the genre when I can. And with this, most of the time, I felt like I have read it before. It's a crime book yet I could sense I knew what was going to happen next. Most of the time, I was right. It didn't grab me as a crime novel and there were times, because I sensed what was going to happen next, I stopped the audiobook and left it for several days, feeling no need to come back to it...
So, yeah, I wasn't exactly thrilled with this book. I'm sorry. I know most of you guys really enjoy this book, but it didn't grab me in the same way. I do want to try another Stephen King novel but... yeah...