Book review: End of Watch by Stephen King

Thursday, June 9, 2016 Permalink

I missed the first in this Stephen King trilogy. Mr Mercedes received great reviews which tempted me (after a long break from King’s fiction) to read the second in the series, Finders Keepers.

I mostly enjoyed Finders Keepers and you can check out my review here, but… without the Mr Mercedes backstory I failed to really engage with Bill Hodges and his cohorts – who entered the Finders Keepers plot when I was already well and truly settled in with its main protagonist, young Peter Saubers and his family.

End of Watch seems to return to where Mr Mercedes left off, but interestingly, provides a really good recap of the key points of the original. So I enjoyed it a lot.

Book review: End of Watch by Stephen KingEnd of Watch
by Stephen King
Series: Bill Hodges Trilogy #3
Published by Hodder & Stoughton
on June 7th, 2016
Source: Hachette Australia
Genres: Thriller / Suspense
ISBN: 1473634016, 9781473634015
Pages: 368

Brady Hartsfield, perpetrator of the Mercedes Massacre, where eight people were killed and many more were badly injured, has been in the Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic for five years, in a vegetative state.

According to his doctors, anything approaching a complete recovery is unlikely. But behind the drool and stare, Brady is awake, and in possession of deadly new powers that allow him to wreak unimaginable havoc without ever leaving his hospital room.

Retired police detective Bill Hodges, the unlikely hero of Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers, now runs an investigation agency with his partner, Holly Gibney, who delivered the blow to Hartsfield's head that put him on the brain injury ward.

Brady also remembers that.

When Bill and Holly are called to a murder-suicide with ties to the Mercedes Massacre, they find themselves pulled into their most dangerous case yet, one that will put not only their lives at risk, but those of Hodges’s friend Jerome Robinson and his teenage sister, Barbara. Because Brady Hartsfield is back, and planning revenge not just on Bill Hodges and his friends, but on an entire city.

This novel is very much centred around Bill, his Finders Keepers’ partner Holly and the comatose-but-still-dangerous Brady.

But things are changing. Bill’s unwell and it’s worse than an ulcer or a bit of indigestion. A spate of suicides has his attention however; particularly given the victims’ links to Bill’s comatose nemesis.

In the meantime we meet Brady and his – ummm – team. King is in his element here and my usual avoidance of the fantastic had to be held at bay. I once loved King’s quirky sense of the magical and macabre so had to remind myself that – in his world – ANYTHING is possible.

What we (and Bill, Holly and Jerome) are presented with then, is a race against time as the former IT guru (now comatose resident in a brain injury clinic) and his – ummm – vessels, manipulate the minds of many through a hand-held game that convinces them that suicide is their only option.

I engaged a lot more with Bill and Holly this time around… and the inclusion of a prologue featuring the Mercedes massacre added some additional context. (And yes, I really just need to read Mr Mercedes – even though I now know what happens!)

The plot around the mind manipulation and Brady’s ability to possess the bodies of others was a little of a struggle as I tried to logically work out how it could be feasible. But… it’s something King does magnificently and this is no different.

End of Watch by Stephen King was published in Australia by Hachette and is now available.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. 

Are you a Stephen King fan?
Have you read this series?

  • Leona
    June 9, 2016

    I have yet to read a Stephen King story but I’ve heard great things about them. I guess I’m still angry by how freaked out I became from It and I haven’t forgiven him for even creating a story like that. Great review.

    • Debbish
      June 9, 2016

      Ah yes, I did skip some of his early stuff for that very reason Leona though some of the scenes from their movies are stuck in my head!

  • Stormi D Johnson
    June 9, 2016

    I need to try this series, I haven’t read a SK book in forever. 🙂

    • Debbish
      June 9, 2016

      I hadn’t before Finders Keepers either Stormi. It’s a reminder what a great storyteller he is.

  • kimbacaffeinate
    June 9, 2016

    I just got this on audio for review and cannot wait to devour it. I l have been loving this trilogy and will be sad it’s over.

    • Debbish
      June 10, 2016

      I really enjoyed this latest Kimberly. It is a little sad as well though.

  • Michelle Weaver (@pinkypoinker)
    June 12, 2016

    I love SK but sometimes his books are too out there for me. 11:22:63 was the last one I read and I loved it but hated the television series. His books must be hard to translate into film because the movies are often terrible IMO. Some, like The Shining and Carrie worked though.

    • Debbish
      June 12, 2016

      And The Green Mile – was good as well. I used to be really into his books – but more of the supernatural than horror – though don’t read as much of that any more.

I'd love to hear your thoughts