Finders Keepers is the second book in Stephen King’s Bill Hodges trilogy, though he, Jerome and the wonderful Holly Gibney don’t show up until about halfway through the tale. That doesn’t mean King doesn’t dole out another captivating tale, rather the reverse.
We’re introduced to Morris in the late 70s. He’s arrogant, and while not academically inclined, a bit of a clever fellow when it comes to the literary world. His favourite author, John Rothstein has retired from the public light after writing a trilogy of books that changed Morris’ life. At least the first two did. The third one feels like a sell-out, but there are rumours that Rothstein kept writing after stepping away from the public light. So he and a pair of friends decide to pay Rothstein a rather violent visit and discover the truth.
Unfortunately for Morris, after these events, he’s caught up and sent up for rape, and spends the next thirty-five years in prison thinking about the money he’s hidden, and the notebooks he’s stolen from Rothstein.
But in the early 2000s, just after the Mercedes Massacre takes place (as featured in Mr. Mercedes), young Paul discovers the hidden cash and notebooks. He’s a bit of a book nut as well, and is enchanted with the discovery. But life, and evil, has a way of catching up, and Morris has come looking for his buried treasures.
Everything touches back on the Mercedes Massacre, Paul’s father was injured in the attack, and Hodges still goes to see the man responsible, Brady Hartsfield, keeping his thread alive for the final book in the trilogy, End of Watch.
Now, Hodges, Jerome and Holly get called on to help Paul, but will he trust the founds and operators of Finders Keepers, or will Morris be able to exact his revenge on the boy for the theft of his stolen property?
With a wonderful ear for dialogue, and a knack for immersing the reader in the story he creates, King remains at the top of his game, and as I’ve mentioned before, whenever I have doubts about the subject matter, or if it will capture my attention, I really should trust good old Uncle Steve.
He taps into that love readers have to lose themselves in the story, to recognize parts of themselves in the narrative, to see characters feeling and reacting the way they themselves would. He also knows how to tell a thrilling tale that hits you where you live, and in this case, despite some coincidences that even the characters call out, doesn’t feel too far outside of the realm of possibility.
I love crawling inside a King novel, no matter the genre (at least so far), there’s something about the way he tells his story, the way he creates his characters. It feels like he’s writing specifically for you, the dear reader, and he can bring you to the edge of your seat, and make you fear and lament for characters and revel in their joys.
This novel, being the second in a series, ends on a bit of, not quite a cliffhanger, but the revelation that something big is coming for the third and final novel.