Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
A Novel

69%

63 Critic Reviews

King may be exploring the nature of violence in contemporary America, but the narrative’s pacing is too slow for it to catch. King plots every action of his main characters, who spend a distracting amount of time thinking things through. Nothing is held back, which means the suspense never gains momentum.
-Star Tribune

Synopsis

Now an AT&T Audience Original Series

WINNER OF THE EDGAR AWARD FOR BEST NOVEL
#1 New York Times bestseller! In a high-suspense race against time, three of the most unlikely heroes Stephen King has ever created try to stop a lone killer from blowing up thousands. “Mr. Mercedes is a rich, resonant, exceptionally readable accomplishment by a man who can write in whatever genre he chooses” (The Washington Post).

The stolen Mercedes emerges from the pre-dawn fog and plows through a crowd of men and women on line for a job fair in a distressed American city. Then the lone driver backs up, charges again, and speeds off, leaving eight dead and more wounded. The case goes unsolved and ex-cop Bill Hodges is out of hope when he gets a letter from a man who loved the feel of death under the Mercedes’s wheels…

Brady Hartsfield wants that rush again, but this time he’s going big, with an attack that would take down thousands—unless Hodges and two new unusual allies he picks up along the way can throw a wrench in Hartsfield’s diabolical plans. Stephen King takes off on a “nerve-shredding, pulse-pounding race against time” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram) with this acclaimed #1 bestselling thriller.
 

About Stephen King

See more books from this Author
Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller as well as the Best Hardcover Book Award from the International Thriller Writers Association. He is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King. Joe Hill is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Heart-Shaped Box and Horns and writes an ongoing comic book series, Locke & Key. He makes lots of noise on Twitter under the handle @joe_hill.
 
Published June 3, 2014 by Scribner. 449 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Horror, Literature & Fiction, Crime, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
icon1
Peak Rank on Jun 22 2014
icon8
Weeks as Bestseller
Bookmark Counts:
1
Want to Read
1
Have Read
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Critic reviews for Mr. Mercedes
All: 63 | Positive: 43 | Negative: 20

Kirkus

Good
on May 07 2014

The scariest thing of all is to imagine King writing a happy children’s book. This isn’t it: It’s nicely dark, never predictable and altogether entertaining.

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Publishers Weekly

Good
on Apr 07 2014

Coincidence and luck figure significantly in the final outcome, but King excels in his disturbing portrait of Brady, a genuine monster in ordinary human form who gives new meaning to the phrase “the banality of evil.”

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Megan Abbott on Jun 05 2014

You can practically hear King rubbing his hands together as Holly jostles herself into the center of the action, playing a critical role in the investigation but also, more substantially, providing the nerve, drive and jittery heart of the novel.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Stephanie Merritt on Jun 07 2014

This psychological examination comes somewhat at the expense of tension and narrative pace, which only picks up towards the end. Mr Mercedes is rooted firmly in the small-town realism for which King is frequently celebrated and which is often overlooked in the thriller genre...

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Michael Marshall Smith on Jun 04 2014

Good book? Hell, yes. Good Stephen King book? Absolutely. When judging it purely as a thriller, that will depend on taste. The truth is that King transcends genre...

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Star Tribune

Below average
Reviewed by Carole E Barrowman on Jun 07 2014

King may be exploring the nature of violence in contemporary America, but the narrative’s pacing is too slow for it to catch. King plots every action of his main characters, who spend a distracting amount of time thinking things through. Nothing is held back, which means the suspense never gains momentum.

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Examiner

Above average
Reviewed by David Finniss on Jun 17 2014

Overall, the book is perfectly fine. If anything frustrated me it's that I feel like the book could have delivered more than that, but I'd hardly call it a dud.

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LA Times

Good
Reviewed by Paula L. Woods on May 29 2014

...without spoiling the fun of reading this excellent addition to King's growing list of mystery-thriller titles, there's even a small hint that the Mr. Mercedes show may go on — a scary thought indeed.

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Globe and Mail

Good
Reviewed by Robert Wiersema on Jun 06 2014

It’s a pleasure to read. Mr. Mercedes is a crisp, compulsive thrill ride, the sort of book tailor-made for a summer weekend.

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AV Club

Above average
Reviewed by Tasha Robinson on Jun 02 2014

...it’s a major step up from his previous book, Doctor Sleep, and it’s unusual in its dedication to surprising readers who by this time may think they know King like the back of their hands.

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The Independent

Below average
Reviewed by James Kidd on Jun 08 2014

Mr Mercedes is a curious kind of failure. A knowing homage that manages to be weirdly boring to read, it doesn’t refresh genre conventions so much as wind up enslaved to them.

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The Maine Edge

Good
Reviewed by Allen Adams on Jun 04 2014

“Mr. Mercedes” unfolds with a fast-moving economy that makes it nigh-impossible to put aside - anticipate late nights and sluggish mornings until you see this story through to its thrilling conclusion. No one sweeps you up into a tale like Stephen King does, and this book is yet another master class in compelling and irresistible storytelling.

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The Boston Globe

Below average
Reviewed by Colin Fleming on Jun 05 2014

There’s a story here, but because it is King you want there to be more. And it’s not as if there is no suspense; you are curious about how it will all work out. That’s something that can’t be said for every book, or even most. “Mr. Mercedes” may have looked great as it was outlined, but it just can’t seem to make the leap off the page.

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BookPage

Above average
Reviewed by Trisha Ping on Jun 03 2014

While there are no big questions being asked or answered here, Mr. Mercedes is a thrilling example of King’s boundless imagination.

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Above average
Reviewed by Wendeline O. Wright on Jun 02 2014

The shadow of real world bogeymen looms large over every scene with the killer and ensures that after the last page is finished, the reader will remain touched by that shadow as well.

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USA Today

Above average
Reviewed by Brian Truitt on Jun 02 2014

"Philip Marlowe you ain't," Hodges thinks to himself as he's being persuaded to take his first case. Maybe not, though King has created a newcomer to that long legacy of PIs where there's no trench coat needed but the fedora still fits quite nicely.

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Tor

Below average
Reviewed by Grady Hendrix on Jun 23 2014

Let’s say this: it keeps you turning the pages, even if all you’re doing is holding out hope that something interesting is going to happen on the next one. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t.

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Tor

Above average
Reviewed by Niall Alexander on Jun 03 2014

Stephen King’s new novel may be on the slow side, and absent his usual supernatural notions it runs the risk of being regarded as unremarkable, but don’t let either of these drawbacks dissuade you from reading Mr Mercedes: a daring work of fiction determinedly driven by a man and a monster.

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Bestsellersworld

Good
Reviewed by Allen Hott on Sep 25 2014

He writes from the viewpoints of both Mr. Mercedes and Hodges and brings in more characters and interesting sidelights that truly hold the reader’s attention. The ending may not be a complete surprise but all of the steps building up to that ending are really suspenseful and page turners.

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Express

Excellent
Reviewed by Matt Thorne on Jun 01 2014

This is not the first time King has written a straight thriller but it is by far his best and it is recommended to crime buffs and King fans alike.

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Tampa Bay Times

Good
Reviewed by Colette Bancroft on May 29 2014

King may have left out the supernatural in Mr. Mercedes, but his gifts for creating thoroughly believable characters and thrumming suspense are in full play. He keeps raising the stakes and ratcheting up the violence, and just when you think everything is settled there's one spine-icing little turn on the very last page.

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PopMatters

Above average
Reviewed by Dan Barrett on Jun 25 2014

So, although I’ve had a few harsh things to say about King’s writing and his public persona, I’ll reiterate here that Mr. Mercedes held my interest throughout 400-plus pages. I liked it, but alas, I’ve already forgotten large swaths of it.

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We Love This Book

Good
Reviewed by Cara Fielder on Jun 03 2014

Stephen King is back with a bang in this explosive thriller, it's fast paced and action packed and you can instantly imagine it on the big screen.

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SFFWorld.com

Good
Reviewed by Mark Chitty on Jul 01 2014

...it’s a quick and thrilling read, delivering all that could be asked for, and doing so in style, while continuing King’s recent run of great novels. I eagerly anticipate his next offering, whichever genre it is!

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Scotsman.com

Above average
Reviewed by Stephen McGinty on Jun 01 2014

...Mr Mercedes, is an entertaining, engaging ride to the midway point. You enjoy the journey and the view but you can’t help feeling disappointed that you are not going all the way to the top.

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Journal Sentinel

Below average
Reviewed by Mike Fischer on May 30 2014

Not every car can take flight like "Buick 8." But in all my years as an unabashed King fan, I've never taken such a boring and joyless ride. "Mr. Mercedes" travels by interstate: fast but empty, from entrance to exit.

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Irish Times

Good
Reviewed by Declan Burke on Jun 28 2014

It’s a downbeat and occasionally unsettling tale. As with all great thrillers, it’s also compulsively readable and hugely entertaining.

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DNA

Above average
Reviewed by Daniel Pinto on Aug 03 2014

Mr Mercedes is competently put together but somewhat predictably structured. The plot brings to mind the 1979 supernatural thriller The Dead Zone, which too featured a serial killer. While King's knack for vividly sketching characters and spinning a tight narrative shine through, in some instances, the novel seems to be a little formulaic...

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The Coast

Good
Reviewed by Stephanie Jones on Jun 06 2014

King acknowledges the horror people can wreak while also mining the humour to be found in the unpleasant: a scene in which poisoned hamburger meat consumed by an unintended victim blends mirth and despair, and holds the promise that in this story, wrongdoers will get their just deserts. Mr Mercedes is another gem in the bibliography of a master.

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Starburst Magazine

Excellent
Reviewed by ROBIN PIERCE on Jun 30 2014

King’s talents as a storyteller for the ages haven’t shown themselves to be this sharply honed for a few years, as he concentrates more on plot and exposition at the welcome expense of the overly drawn-out character building which slows down so many of his books.

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Shots

Excellent
Reviewed by Ali Karim on Jun 06 2014

To be held firmly by the hand, through this tough crime thriller by the assured narrative skill of Stephen King, makes the act of reading an event. There should have been a sticker on the cover ‘no book mark required’, because Mr Mercedes is a one sitting read...

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Lit Reactor

Above average
Reviewed by Richard Thomas on Oct 13 2014

If you like Stephen King, then you'll like this book. If you think he's hit and miss, then this one certainly won't rock your world. It's not the book I'd give you to start with his bibliography (that would probably be The Stand, or It, or The Shining) but it's an enjoyable read...

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Good E-Reader

Below average
Reviewed by Mercy Pilkington on Jun 22 2014

Overall, the only thing about the book that left me questioning what I thought I knew and understood about human nature turned out to have nothing to do with the plot. Here’s hoping King returns to his glorious roots and gives us something worthy of his name.

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Star-Telegram

Good
Reviewed by PRESTON JONES on Jun 03 2014

It’s disappointing King doesn’t quite penetrate the heart of domestic darkness, but that doesn’t totally diminish Mr. Mercedes’ high-octane thrills.

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Slant Magazine

Below average
Reviewed by CHUCK BOWEN on May 27 2014

The dialogue is appallingly tone deaf, particularly between Hodges and Jerome, a black aspiring Harvard enrollee who occasionally kids the retired cop with ebonic phrasing that he utters under the persona of "Tyrone Feelgood Delight."

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Arts Sarasota

Good
Reviewed by Susan Rife on May 23 2014

The book is much more a cat and mouse game played out primarily through the Internet, until Hodges figures out what Brady's ultimate move will be. Then it's a full-throttle sprint to the finish; the last 80 pages cannot be doled out over multiple reading sessions. You'll have to swallow them all in a single gulp.

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This is Horror

Excellent
Reviewed by DAN HOWARTH on Jun 19 2014

Mr Mercedes is a master class in how to write characters. A small cast of richly drawn and compelling individuals pulls an ordinary plot to heights that it could not have reached in the hands of any other. The last hundred pages pulse and flow towards a gripping finale...

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Daily California

Above average
Reviewed by MEG ELISON on Jun 23 2014

Certainly the man has earned the right to explore any genre he wants; at this level of celebrity, King could write a series of recipes for baked beans, and it would sell like bacon-wrapped crack at every bookstore in the world. But “Mr. Mercedes” is a dim bulb on a string of bright lights...

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Fantasy Book Review

Above average
Reviewed by Lee Sibbald on Jun 19 2014

So my summary would be that a cracking first half is followed by a weak second. But every review is subjective and others may experience the book differently.

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That's What She Read

Good
Reviewed by Michelle on Aug 08 2014

With Mr. King’s signature style and careful attention to detail, Mr. Mercedes moves beyond a typical crime novel and becomes a study of the human mind. It is a story that will please both fans and first-time King readers.

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http://caffeinatedbookreviewer.com

Good
Reviewed by kimbacaffeinate on Oct 16 2014

The story was perfectly paced with moments of intense suspense, and eye-opening horror. King then weaves in humor, friendship and teamwork giving you the entire package.

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Jenn's Bookshelves

Above average
Reviewed by Jenn on Oct 07 2014

if you are looking for a Stephen King fix until Revival is released next month, Mr. Mercedes is a must read/listen for you! Highly, highly recommended.

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Literary Exploration

Above average
Reviewed by MICHAEL KITTO on Aug 21 2014

I did in fact enjoy the ride this took me on, it was predictable and typical of the genre but sometimes it is fun to go on that journey again. In fact (with the exception of On Writing) I think this is the first Stephen King novel that I have actually enjoyed.

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Book Chatter

Above average
Reviewed by Ti on Jun 25 2014

This would be a good book for someone brand new to King. There’s no “woo woo” supernatural stuff going on. No clowns in sewers. Just good storytelling. I encourage you to pick up a copy and I cannot wait for book two, Finders Keepers to hit shelves early next year.

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Under My Apple Tree

Above average
Reviewed by Leslie on Sep 04 2014

This is a departure from Stephen King’s traditional style of ghosts, vampires, and other supernatural elements. Instead, he has written a creepy crime thriller. There were a few plot points that were a little unbelievable (the computer hacking and the unrealistic romance), but the story was fast-paced and suspenseful, and the writing was enjoyable.

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Bermuda Onion's Weblog

Above average
on Oct 30 2014

...King’s newest novel is crime fiction and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The book wasn’t perfect – there was a small romantic element that seemed out of place – but it sure was compelling. Stephen King certainly knows how to tell a story!

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Women 24

Above average
Reviewed by Women24 on Dec 04 2014

...it’s not to say he completely failed his fans with this one, but, and it’s a big BUT, King treats the reader to great characterisation and you’re bound to be left hungrily gobbling the story up.

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Take Me Away

Good
on Jun 24 2014

Would definitely recommend this, and a good starter for those who have not read King before and maybe are afraid of some of his scarier stuff.

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The Book Lover's Boudoir

Below average
on Dec 05 2014

King should take a leaf from Camilla Lackberg who knows how to be original and take the reader by surprise every time. I also didn’t care about any character in Mr Mercedes. What a let-down.

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The Speculative Scotsman

Excellent
Reviewed by Niall Alexander on Jun 09 2014

Mr Mercedes might be far from the finest fiction King has written, but a combination of canny characterisation and the eternal conflict at its core ensures that the story will stay with you in a way truly few do.

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Reader Dad

Good
Reviewed by Matt Craig on Jun 25 2014

All of the ingredients that long-time fans of King’s work have come to expect are here, with the exception of the supernatural (which is not as unusual as non-readers might believe). The strength, as always, lies in King’s power to build characters with whom we can empathise...

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M Live

Above average
Reviewed by Yvonne Zipp on Jun 24 2014

King, who references James M. Cain, Philip Marlowe, George Pelecanos and Joseph Wambaugh, clearly is a fan of a good detective thriller. "Mr. Mercedes" works as both a mystery and a King novel.

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Life Is Story

Above average
on Jun 07 2014

I have to admit, this doesn’t make the top ten list of my favorite King novels. But that doesn’t stop it from being a solid thriller. While the action sequences could have been written by anyone, the characters come to life in a way that only King can make them.

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Lowcountry Book Lover

Above average
on Jul 24 2014

...for the most part, it works. It’s an enjoyable read with an engaging story...Usually I find little fault with King’s writing. It doesn’t work for everyone but it clicks for me. This time, I found some of the phrasing cliché and overused in current novels.

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Tony's Book World

Below average
Reviewed by Anokatony on Jun 22 2014

‘Mr. Mercedes’ is not any kind of literary work. The characters are all clichés, and the thrills are all stereotypical. There is no depth here, nothing really involving or challenging. It is a thrill ride, nothing else.

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Buzzy Mag

Below average
Reviewed by Adam Armstrong on Aug 26 2014

Mr. Mercedes isn’t a bad book but falls around the level of Rose Madder as far as Stephen King quality goes. Fans will still read it and if they don’t like it they will probably rabidly defend it.

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Insatiable Book Sluts

Good
Reviewed by Heather on Jun 17 2014

One of my blogging friends didn’t like Mr. Mercedes all that much because he thought the characters weren’t developed enough. But I would argue that this book–because it’s crimefic–is meant to be plot-driven and not character-driven, necessarily.

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Dark Readers

Good
Reviewed by Stephen Haskins on Jun 16 2014

I've found in the past that it can take me a while to get into some of King's books, but for me this ticked all the right boxes and I flew through it. Definitely give it a spin, and be ready for what's to come!

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Nyx Book Reviews

Good
Reviewed by Celine on Jun 16 2014

I wonder if there is anything Mr. King can’t write. Maybe we should challenge him to do a historical romance. But knowing him, he’ll probably even make that work out.

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Weirdmage's Reviews

Good
on Jun 26 2014

...I found this to be an excellent King novel. Apart from the small flaw...there is nothing wrong here in my opinion. This should be excellent reading for any Crime fan, and I will also recommend this highly to King's SFF fans.

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Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine

Below average
Reviewed by Bill Crider on Jun 21 2014

I know that I'm being a curmudgeon. There are many people who loved It. There are many more who will love this book, but for me the magic is gone. Except now and then. Maybe there'll be another one like Joyland.

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Pop Culture Landscape

Above average
Reviewed by Naomi Szeben on Jul 10 2014

With a rousing ending in store, the overall book is a solid poolside read. It’s not as detailed as The Stand nor as nuanced as The Shining, but I give it a worthwhile grade nonetheless.

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Terror-Tree

Above average
on Jun 06 2014

My only gripe is that a couple of instinctual connections Hodges makes to the case are a little weak; he just seems to jump to the right conclusion. Despite this minor issue, the book is truly great; great characters, a high level of tension, a dark thread throughout it and a doozy of an ending. Well done Mr King

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