Author: Stephen King
If you have paid attention to American literature over the past 40 plus years, you might know a piece of work or two authored by Stephen King. Not only has he consistently produced novels that tingle the spine, King also gives us heartfelt stories such as The Green Mile, Stand by Me, and Shawshank Redemption. Starting with the 2014 Mr. Mercedes, Uncle Stevie brought us his first hard-boiled detective series.
The story brought to readers the tale of retired detective Kermit William Hodges (everyone calls him Bill) and his nemesis Brady Hartsfield, who uses his mediocre inventing skills to hijack a Mercedes Benz to wreck havoc on a crowd of people waiting to enter a job fair during the nations most recent recession. 8 dead and many other injured was tragic, but Brady had larger casualty numbers on his mind, attempting to blow up the local arena during a boy band concert. Before he can enact his plan, he is thwarted by Hodges and his friends Holly and Jerome. Brady is rendered to a vegetative state from his injuries and should be the end of his tale.
End of Watch is as conclusive as its title. Brady Hartfield is still a prisoner of his own body in his hotel room, Hodges and Holly are still partners in their own PI business that they created after the events of the previous novels, and Jerome is off doing his part for the planet, building Habitat for Humanity homes in Arizona. Pete, Hodges old detective partner, consults the PI’s on an apparent murder/suicide case because of the creepy correlation of the victims and the Mercedes massacre. Martine Stover was left a paraplegic after getting run down by Brady that fateful morning, but thanks to lofty insurance policies, Martine and her mother live in relative comfort. It doesn’t make sense that Martine would be killed by her mother, who then took her own life. Pete, who is investigating his final case before retirement, is spooked by the association to Mercedes, but his current partner, Izzy, feels it’s an open and shut case. Hodges and Holly examine the evidence thoroughly and discover that there could be a far more sinister plot afoot. Complicating matters is a terminal health diagnosis for Hodges that puts a time clock on the case. There are whispers inside the hospital that is Brady’s current residence of experimental drugs used on the catatonic Hartsfield that have essentially cured him, but have also granted him metaphysical powers of telekinesis and mind control that he can conduct via an archaic gaming system. The survivors of Brady Hartsfield’s crimes are being hunted down and only Hodges and his friends stand in his way.
If you know me, then you know that I am a Stephen King junkie. He is a wizard of wordcraft, giving you just enough to grab your attention and then pulling you in so that you can’t stop reading until the last page is done. End of Watch is no different. The story begins with the point of view of the first responders rescuing Martine at the job fair those many years ago, establishing context, and concludes the plot foundation in the present with her marcabe death in order to introduce our primary characters. While the novel is classic King in prose and pace, the only gripe I have is that the closing chapter of this saga turns to the prototypical King otherworldly vibe rather than stay true to the crime drama format, however, it is a small one. Rarely does Stephen King let his readers down, and he doesn’t here.
4.5 pink fish out of 5