Hodder and Stoughton
Retired US cop, Bill Hodges sits and ponders over the killer that got away. Mr Mercedes was that one perpetrator whose violent crime shocked a small community and which has threatened Bill’s peace of mind in more ways than one. When a typed letter loaded with innuendo lands on Bill’s doorstep, he is sure that the Mercedes killer is behind the taunts and insinuations, and he becomes obsessed in bringing this violent perpetrator to justice.
When then follows is a tight and taut psychological thriller, which stirs the imagination and coolly takes you on a journey into the violent mind of a sadistic and brutal psychopath. It is a journey which keeps you guessing, and as it continues to dig deeper and deeper into the minds of both seeker and prey, you are never quite sure which story is the more challenging. Bill Hodges is not your ordinary retired cop, sure, he eats too much of the wrong food and enjoys nothing more than sitting in front of the TV, but once his interest in the case has been reignited, he is determined, as a point of pride, to bring this killer to justice before he strikes again.
I was absorbed in this story from the beginning, not because it’s the best crime novel ever written, but rather because I appreciated the way the story was allowed to probe into the psyche of both men. Bill’s almost pedantic realism was beautifully counterbalanced against the Mercedes killer’s utter disregard for what is right and proper. It’s not a fast action, all guns blazing type of story, but for me that worked better, as amongst the still, small, moments of calm are some interesting character studies which help to propel the story. For me, when all is put together, Mr Mercedes, is a classic example of good overpowering pure evil and as such well is worth a read.
If you want Stephen King horror then this is not the story for you, but if you like intelligent and absorbing crime novels from a master storyteller, then do give it a try.