First Lines: Mr. Mercedes

Stephen King is a jerk. First, he gets you to care about a bunch of people waiting in line for a job fair, and then he goes and kills ’em all by having a big gray Mercedes plow through them. The story resumes with the now-retired lead-police detective of the case receiving a letter from the Mercedes’ driver. This letter intended to nudge the Ret. Det. over the edge of his suicidal thoughts backfires: it pulls him from the black hole of retirement blues, and gives him purpose once again. From there on, we have a fast-paced page turner in our hands, with all the twists and turns you can expect from King.

Mr. Mercedes isn’t King’s best novel. Not by a long shot. But it’s fun. There are allusions to It ( You ever see that TV movie about the clown in the sewer?), Christine (By the time Hodges and Huntley arrived, five police cars were parked in the yard, two drawn up nose-to-nose behind the car’s back bumper, as if the cops expected the big gray sedan to start up by itself, like that old Plymouth in the horror movie, and make a run for it.) and Joe Hill’s Heart-Shaped Box (a roadie wearing a Judas Coyne shirt), and occasional awesome lines like Jerome is good with computers, but Holly plays the keyboard like a Steinway. There’s enough to like, so I can easily overlook his sometimes clunky use of internet technology. I’ll just assume the story’s set in an alternate universe where people who use a quarter of their Mac’s powers install and use Firefox.

Book read
Stephen King — Mr. Mercedes
First line
Augie Odenkirk had a 1997 Datsun that still ran well in spite of high mileage, but gas was expensive, especially for a man with no job, and City Center was on the far side of town, so he decided to take the last bus of the night.