Audio Book Review: Mr Mercedes by Stephen King

March 18, 2015 Audio Review, Book review 19 ★★★★

Mr Mercedes is a rollercoaster of a read from start to finish.  Open with caution as once you begin, you will be sucked into the chase and unable to take your leg from the pedal!  It’s also a lesson in how to do foreshadowing well and leave your reader dreading what’s coming.

Audio Book Review: Mr Mercedes by Stephen KingMr. Mercedes by Stephen King
Series: Bill Hodges Trilogy, #1
Published by Simon and Schuster on June 3rd 2014
Genres: Suspense, Thrillers
Pages: 448
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Will Patton

In a mega-stakes, high-suspense race against time, three of the most unlikely and winning heroes Stephen King has ever created try to stop a lone killer from blowing up thousands.  In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair.   Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes.

In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the “perk” and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy.

Brady Hartsfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born. He loved the feel of death under the wheels of the Mercedes, and he wants that rush again. Only Bill Hodges, with a couple of highly unlikely allies, can apprehend the killer before he strikes again. And they have no time to lose, because Brady’s next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim thousands. Mr. Mercedes is a war between good and evil, from the master of suspense whose insight into the mind of this obsessed, insane killer is chilling and unforgettable.

My Thoughts on the narration of Mr Mercedes by Stephen King:

This was my first experience of listening to Will Patton and I was very impressed.  He has that old fashioned detective series tone to his voice and it worked so well in this book.  So it comes as no surprise to me that he is a recipient of a Best Male Narrator Audie Award.

My Thoughts on Mr Mercedes by Stephen King:

Mr Mercedes is basically a thrilling chase from start to finish.  Good guy versus bad guy style which might sound like a run of the mill plotline but when you add in the fantastic characters and a storyline where no one is safe; it all adds up to an exciting read.

On one hand we have Hodges; an overweight, retired detective who now finds his life without purpose.  And then we have Mr Mercedes; a confident creep with a fuck you attitude to the world.  Hodges has hung up his police badge but his unsolved cases continue to haunt him.  In particular Mr Mercedes who drove into a downtrodden crowd at a jobs fair, killing and injuring without care or second thought.

Actually I take that back; Mr Mercedes did have second thoughts about it but only to reflect in the glory of how well his plan went.  He contacts Hodges by letter; bullying, gloating and goading him into action.  Now it’s personal for Hodges and he is determined to get his man; retirement or no retirement.

I absolutely loved the characters in this book.  Hodges seems unlikeable at the start, a bit self-pitying and distant but before long; he is a hero in my eyes.  It makes you think about how older people can be trivialised and undermined but when he takes charge, he is full of zest and energy.  Mr Mercedes is evil personified.  Obviously I didn’t adore him!  But I did admire how creepy and revolting of a character that King created.  As for his mother, she all but made me throw up in my mouth.

And then you have the side characters and they all add their own colour and life to the book.  You have three unlikely heroes by the end of the book and I loved how they all came together and bonded.  Hodge’s sidekicks really made the book for me especially as they are such an odd, quirky trio.  What I will say is that you need to expect the unexpected.  At one point in the book, a certain event jolted me like a sharp slap across the face.  It was painful and I wasn’t ready.

The whole book is eerily dark and from page one, we are on a collision course.  I had no clue what way it would end and I couldn’t listen fast enough.  I’m sure this will be a movie someday but I’d say read the book before that happens.  A movie will never catch all the nuances and keen observations about life that the book does.

This isn’t one of King’s horror books but Mr Mercedes is a character to horrify you and I’ll never look at an ice cream van again without a little shiver.  My only criticism of the book is that when the action scene finally happened, it got too detailed and I got lost a little.  That’s more than likely just me though I don’t really like action scenes and I just them float over my head.  I got enough to know what happened!

Overall though it was an exciting read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.


Rating Report
Did I feel it?
Overall: four-stars


Who should read Mr Mercedes by Stephen King?

I’d recommend this to fans of detective style books, quirky characters, unlikely heroes and a tension filled pace.  If you enjoyed The Cuckoo Calling by J K Rowling then I think you’d also enjoy this one.  And I highly recommend the audio book experience.




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19 Responses to “Audio Book Review: Mr Mercedes by Stephen King”

  1. Celine

    I really enjoyed the character of Hodges. And I was so nervous to see how it would all end! The prologue of the book completely broke my heart though. Mr. Mercedes is part one of a trilogy, so it’ll be interesting to see where the story goes after this
    Celine recently posted…Things I Can’t Relate to in Romance

    • trish

      I was so nervous too especially after the very unexpected death (for me anyway) that happened during the book. I don’t trust King! I’m looking forward to future books too, bring them on!

    • trish

      I do think this would be a good one to start with and I much prefer this style to his horror books. But that’s just a personal preference of mine. I’m too chicken for some horrors!

  2. Stephanie @ Inspiring Insomnia

    I loved this book. Yes, it might not have been typical Stephen King, but he really does everything well, doesn’t he? Well, maybe I shouldn’t say that. I’d like to see him tackle a light romance. 🙂

    That “slap in the face” scene you mentioned… That was pretty heart-stopping. I had to pause and think, “Did that actually just happen?” I was convinced I’d misread it. A very bold decision, but I love the unexpected.
    Stephanie @ Inspiring Insomnia recently posted…That Time When the Paper Towns Movie Was Filming In My Backyard *

    • trish

      I got such a shock when it happened! I had to rewind and listen again hoping I was wrong! LOL at a Stephen King romance, I’m imaging The Shining meets 50 Shades! Just so wrong 🙂

  3. R_Hunt @ View From My Home

    Good review! I don’t “do” audio books, but I might pick up a print or e-book of this title. I’ve been procrastinating because I’m trying not to read books with horrific themes lately. Detective stories are one thing, I can handle those for some reason, but wasn’t sure about the horror-gore factor in this. Apparently more of a psychological thriller type, so maybe then. Thanks for letting me understand what I would be in store for 🙂
    R_Hunt @ View From My Home recently posted…Going on Vacation!

    • trish

      Yes, it is the psychological thriller but the main character is so evil that he gave me shudders. It’s very much good guy versus bad guy and I loved it!

    • trish

      I’d vote for you to listen to it, the audio was great! And it’s nice to indulge in a King now and again, he knows what he is doing 🙂

    • trish

      I do think the audio is a great way to go as the narrator is fab. I don’t like the King horror books but I’d highly recommend this one.

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