The great and mighty Stephen King obviously doesn't need any of my help selling any books - his author book-jacket blurb flatly states "the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers" but I recently got the opportunity to knock two more of my all-time-King list: Revival (published in November 2014) and Mr. Mercedes (published in June 2014). (How does he do that? Publish two complete novels in the same year?) I'm not going to count either of these as my favorites but I almost always enjoy a new King read.
Revival follows the life of Jamie Morton, and his connection with the at first charismatic, and later sinister, Reverent Charles Jacobs. Reverend Jacobs is at first an electricity hobbyist but after a horrific family tragedy, becomes more and more obsessed with the power coursing through the earth and its sky. Jamie's path keeps crossing with Jacobs; they are inexplicably intertwined, right up to the sharp swerve into The Dark Tower/Lovecraftian ending of the book.
Mr. Mercedes has no supernatural elements and is a straight-up cop thriller. In an unnamed Midwestern city, a terrible mass murder case has gone unsolved after a masked man driving a tank of a Mercedes plows into a crowd of applicants at a jobs fair. Retired detective Bill Hodges can't let the case go and, when he receives a letter purporting to be from the driver of that Mercedes, Bill is compelled to solve the case. Told from twin points of view - Bill's and the killer's - the point of this novel is not to figure out whodunnit (you know who by page 42), but to see whether the good guys will be able to catch the very clever but all too human bad guy.
I liked Mr. Mercedes well enough (certainly moreso than Revival) and was interested to learn that King's latest, Finders Keepers, is a related book, revisiting with some of the characters but following a different plot line entirely. I prefer my Stephen King on the spooky side but I'm always up to see what he's got for us next.
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