End of Watch by Stephen King

Title: End of Watch.
Series: Bill Hodges Trilogy #3.
Writer(s): Stephen King.
Narrator(s): Will Patton.
Genre(s): Horror, Thriller.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio.
Format: Audiobook.
Release Date: June 7th, 2016.
Length: 12 hours and 53 minutes.
My Overall Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Previously in the Bill Hodges Trilogy:
Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King.
Finders Keepers by Stephen King.


Dark thoughts, the bane of a suggestible and vulnerable mind, are powerful enough to destroy lives. Effortlessly dismissed by some as reason and logic take over their resolve, for others, it settles into the gloomy corners of the mind, takes root, and blooms under the right conditions. Albeit difficult to control, these twisted ideas crawling into one’s mind are not always nascent out of a miserable past or traumatic events. They come and go spontaneously, sometimes purely from recent mentions or latent thoughts. But what happens if they’re amplified by a voice? A voice that might not necessarily be yours? Concluding his detective mystery thriller trilogy, writer Stephen King brings back his diabolical Mercedes Killer in a final showdown with retired detective Bill Hodges.

What is End of Watch about? Back in Room 217 of the Lakes Region Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic lies Brady Hartsfield, the deranged perpetrator behind the infamous Mercedes Massacre, in a vegetative state for over five years. While retired police detective Bill Hodges was convinced that it was always all a farce, continuously visiting him in case he ever started talking, mysterious things have been happening behind closed doors. Brady now has unimaginable destructive powers that might be at the heart of a series of suicides occurring around Bill Hodges and his Finders Keepers investigation agency partner Holly Gibney. The question remains: Can they stop Brady before he enacts his ultimate revenge or become victims of his evil schemes?

“Payback is a bitch, and the bitch is back.”

— Stephen King

I guess the third and final book of any trilogy is not an easy exercise even for a master storyteller like Stephen King. Not to mention that Finders Keepers was a very odd sequel to Mr. Mercedes where the whole core cast of the first book makes an appearance only to feel shoe-horned into a story that barely has anything to do with Mr. Mercedes. This time around, writer Stephen King doesn’t content himself with remaining within the mystery thriller genre as he returns to his own roots and administers a wickedly awkward dose of supernatural into his beloved antagonist to make him relevant once more to this trilogy. While it might be a welcome twist to well-versed Stephen King readers, it makes for a lazy, although a bit entertaining, escape from building a thoroughly thought out psychological and plausible narrative to conclude the adventures of Bill Hodges.

Overlooking the difficulty to suspend disbelief regarding this supernatural revelation, the narrative is still an engaging thriller, wonderfully narrated once more by Will Patton, slowly building up the return of the antagonist without delving too deeply into the hows of things. The story also gives a bit more breathing room to build on Bill Hodges’s health issues, his relationship with others, and his vulnerabilities but, even after two books, isn’t enough to make his character particularly complex or developed. The central theme of suicides is also dominant within the plot, referring to Brady Hartsfield as the Suicide Prince, after all. Unfortunately, the narrative doesn’t focus on the complexity of the issue as much as it makes it the main source of chaos to push the characters to act faster and more recklessly. Although there’s still plenty to enjoy with this finale, the first novel, Mr. Mercedes, was the best of the run and should be left as a stand-alone reading experience.

End of Watch is a flat yet sufficiently diverting finale to the Bill Hodges trilogy that brings back an infamous psychopath with a supernatural twist in a tale of revenge and suicides.



18 thoughts on “End of Watch by Stephen King

  1. Mr Mercedes was the book that did King in for me so while I always wondered about his later books, I really didn’t want to find out for myself.
    Yours isn’t the only review that showed disappointment as the trilogy progressed and it has made me thankful 🙂

    Do you have a big stack of King’s books to go through, or is it more of a “hmmm, what does the library have today?” kind of thing?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yep, I don’t think you’d have had much fun completing this trilogy. Not necessarily because of the “horror” stuff. The ideas are just not as interesting or structured to make the journey worthwhile.

      More of a what’s available type of deal with King. I sort of just want to see why his stuff is usually such a big hit with a lot of fans. I’m purposely not getting to his older and more beloved material for now though. I’ll keep those for later.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. How do you think books like this come to be? Such a highly esteemed writer with a team of people helping him. And, the prior installments were a hit. I have to say that it perplexes me a bit. I mean – he’s only human, but… I feel like if you’re a fan of someone’s work, even if the sequel is slightly worse than the first book, you wouldn’t completely write this writer off (not that you did, but many have).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If I was one of those fans who has been reading King’s stuff since the beginning, on top of reading everything as he publishes them (which is pretty much at least once a year if not more), I can see myself getting disappointed in him dishing out stories and abiding by a “quantity over quality” thing. I haven’t read enough of his stuff to realize it but I know, with this trilogy, that the sequels made no sense to me. The 2nd book really didn’t seem like it was originally meant to be part of this trilogy…

      Liked by 1 person

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