Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

Title: Mr. Mercedes.
Writer(s): Stephen King.
Narrator(s): Will Patton.
Genre(s): Horror, Thriller.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio.
Format: Audiobook.
Release Date: March 3rd 2014.
Length: 14 Hours and 22 Minutes.
My Overall Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.


There are crimes that humanity is capable of achieving that send chills down your spine at the mere thought of them. For these individuals, the act can carry far more significance than others could ever understand, giving them some form of satisfaction, a pleasure that is beyond any rationale. With the right circumstances and the perfect opportunities, committing these crimes can bring the worse out of these people and that thought alone is frightening in a world where the unexpected, the things for which we are not prepared to face, are the most tragic because we are can’t prepare to face them. Narrated by Will Patton, this Edgar award-winning novel by Stephen King showcases the author’s ability to write thrillers where horror does not always and only lie in the supernatural but within the recesses of the minds of a few, troubled individuals.

What is Mr. Mercedes about? Following a devastating and disturbing mass killing at a job fair where eight desperate job seekers are killed and fifteen wounded by a lone driver in a stolen Mercedes, retired cop Bill Hodges discovers months later a peculiar letter from the so-called killer confirming his intention of perpetrating another deadly attack. Depressed and disenchanted by life, this latest clue brings forth new energy within him to quickly stop the killer before tragedy strikes in the distressed Midwestern city. Finding allies in unusual people, Bill Hodges has to take advantage of his experience and gut feeling to identify the killer, while coming to terms with his own little devils, obscuring his vision of the world and the purpose of his life.

“Life is a crap carnival with shit prizes.”

— Stephen King

Exposed in a dual narrative, offering both Bill Hodges and the killer’s viewpoints, the story evolves at a captivating and nerve-wracking pace. Through each of their perspectives, the reader gets an intrinsic and intimate view of each of these characters’ personalities and motives, quickly establishing many of the biases and stereotypes that run rampage within their minds, while also grasping their unique understanding of good and evil, through their actions and thoughts. The detailed insights into each of their minds, especially that of the killer, give the reader a disturbing knowledge of their obsessions, their flaws, and the driving force of their actions, which is in fact mutually amplified by their cat and mouse game. The facility with which writer Stephen King portrays these characters makes for a fascinating yet chilling display of chaos and order, as the mystery develops wonderfully until the action-packed finale.

The story is also composed of a colourful cast with unique voices that make for an interesting world where no one is ever perfect or flawless. These side characters and their interaction with Bill Hodges or the killer also add depth to this thriller, further complementing its psychological elements, as they challenge the protagonist and the antagonist in their behaviour. While there are no supernatural elements within this story, writer Stephen King fully accentuates the horrors capable by humanity and does so without exceedance. The touch of dark humour, on top of the underlying racism acknowledged by some characters, also supplies this depressive and sinister world with a very much appropriate amount of darkness to embellish the disturbed killer’s obsessive madness. Will Patton’s narration also masterfully captures the tone of these characters, giving them a wonderful edge of authenticity.

Mr. Mercedes is a suspenseful thriller sending a depressed retired cop after a deranged mass murderer through a riveting game of cat and mouse.




36 thoughts on “Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

  1. Great review: I’m glad you enjoyed it, because even though it was an “unusual” King offering, it was also an intriguing (and often horrifying) exploration of the human mind, where one can find more monsters than there are in imagined realms…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This was the book that made me finally decide to give up on King. I’d been paring down my reading of him years before and was pretty much only reading him in october for Halloween. But with the depths of darkness that are exposed in the killer I decided I’d had enough.

    While this is technically a trilogy, I felt just fine with this as a standalone. Do you think you’ll read the rest and if so, will it be soon or someday out there?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can only imagine how vicious it all seemed to you while you were reading the killer’s viewpoint, especially when you get deep into the taboo stuff.

      So far, I too confirm that this one is best as a stand-alone… I’m going through the second book as we speak and the intrigue isn’t the same for me. I plan on completing this trilogy quickly rather than spacing it out.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think if King had replaced some of the sexual taboo stuff with supernatural horror I could have handled it better.

        Good to hear you’re not taking your time with the trilogy. Like ripping off a band-aid 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful review, Lashaan. I read this one years ago, with the intention of reading the rest of the trilogy, but never got to it. Do you think you will read the rest? I would be interested in your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I really enjoyed this trilogy. I read it a few years ago and I felt it was a departure from what Stephen King is known to write. There’s also a TV adaptation about this book series that I haven’t watched yet.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Will Patton seems like a perfect narrator for this type of story. I may need to add this one to my audiobook list. I’ve not read much recently by King, though I loved many of his older works and still have some unread books I’d like to get to, Lisey’s Story being one of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great review Lashaan! I love books with dual narratives, and I’m sure having the point of view of the killer makes it even more interesting! I feel like I could really like this read!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Stephen King’s writings are quite analytical of our world today so rampant with psycho-sociopaths. I say, Mr. Mercedes is a model-case point.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have no idea if the show does a good job in translating this book but I’m convinced that if the show covers the book sequels too, especially the 3rd one, I’d have a rough time even caring about the show hahah Mr. Mercedes was by far the best one of the trilogy! 😀


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