“In the gloomy pre-dawn hours of a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of unemployed hopefuls are lined up for a job fair. Without warning, a merciless driver plows through the crowd in a roaring Mercedes. Eight people are killed; 15 are wounded. The killer escapes into the early-spring fog never to be seen from again. Until now…
Detective Bill Hodges is a battle-hardened and streetwise crime fighter originally assigned to the Mercedes killings. Now retired, Hodges has lost his way in boredom and depression craving the thrills of taking down the region’s most notorious criminals. When a disturbing letter from the Mercedes Killer arrives at his door, Hodges soon finds himself uncontrollably drawn into a cat-n-mouse pursuit with stakes beyond comprehension.”
I found this on Ibooks on a list of books for 99p and got a sample of it to see if it was the type of book I would enjoy. Having read the sample I immediately purchased the rest of the book as I was already ensnared by this gripping tale.
I haven’t read many mysteries; preferring adventure, fantasy, and other genres, however I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘Mr. Mercedes’ and found that I couldn’t put it down. The story begins with Hodges at home, depressed and retired after 40 years in the police service, when he receives a letter in the post from someone claiming to be the ‘Mercedes Killer’. There were several cases that Hodges never wrapped up by the time he retired, and the Mercedes case in particular haunted him. The letter spurred him into action and he started to snoop around a little to see if he could unearth anything he might have previously missed on the case.
The element of this book which I found particularly interesting was that the book followed the progression not only of Hodges, but of the Mercedes Killer too. This was a very clever example of dramatic irony and also lead to much suspense as whilst I was aware of what the killer was planning, Hodges was not. I became very attached to the detective throughout the book and found that I read with more fervor as the book progressed, introducing new characters and nurturing new relationships as it went. It was an incredibly stressful book with many close calls for the inspector and his friends and the ending was spectacular!
There was in my opinion a superfluous amount of bad language in the novel, and whilst I understand that sometimes certain colourful embellishments can bolster a story line because of the plosive nature of the words, I found most of the expletives unnecessary as the story was so compelling it didn’t require them to make it seem more dramatic as it already was very good.
However, I think I certainly picked the right murder mystery to read first as I am now hungry for more. Certainly not a book for children or the fainthearted, but still a very good read.