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Mr. Mercedes (2014)
Fiction Review by The Mortician

Mr. Mercedes (2014) They say there's nothing new under the sun, and that's especially true in the world of literature and film. Seems that just about everything under the sun has been done in terms of concepts, ideas, and to some degree, execution. But, as they say, it's not necessarily the tale, it's he (or she) who tells it. Stephen King takes a very familiar concept- crazed psycho vs. retired cop who failed to nail said psycho during his tour of duty and ramps things up in his novel MR. MERCEDES. Said psycho decides to taunt bored, suicidal retired cop and tries to get him to kill himself (for kicks and grins, mind you)...But this proves to be a big mistake. It gives the cop a reason for being, and this way past his prime Dirty Harry (I could see Eastwood in the movie version of this novel!) gets a new lease on life when he decides to nail the bastard that got away, teaming up with the sister and niece of one of Mr. Psycho's previous victims and his friend Jerome, a high school braniac who does his lawnwork and other odd chores. King amps things up Richard Bachman style in this grizzly, modern, cutting edge novel that transcends the clichs and becomes a most enjoyable read. Being a big fan of COLUMBO, I enjoyed the way Hodges the cop slowly lures Brady the psycho out in private social media and turns the tables on him (in the beginning, anyway). Brady is a modern day Norman Bates freak, complete with a sexing up mommy backstory that's pretty creepy and still works today. Brady is also a 21st Century killer, utilizing a stolen Mercedes (hence, the title of the book) for his first mass slaughter where he runs down a crowd of people waiting in line for a job fair to open. (Wearing a Pennywise The Clown mask to boot---there's many great homages to King's other works in this book---catch them as you can!) As Brady the whacko continues to get loonier, King mines the explosive, sick mindset of killers today, all competing for media attention that today's crazed terrorists get---and Brady has an explosive plan of his own in mind for an endcap. Will past his prime Hodges and his ragtag team of cohorts figure things out before it's too late? There's a boy band concert headed into town that thousands of people will be attending, and ol' Brady wants to go out with a bang... MR. MERCEDES is a fine page-turner, full of unexpected twists and turns along with colorful, interesting characters that are full of surprises. It's also wicked, violent and full of modern day observations, like Richard Bachman has made it into the 21st Century. If you like King and his early Bachman pen-name books like ROADWORK, RAGE, and THE RUNNING MAN...you're gonna groove on MR. MERCEDES for sure.

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