A retired detective is brought back into the criminal fold when he receives a disturbing letter from someone claiming to be responsible for the hit and run murder of 8 people whilst driving a stolen mercedes. Billy Hodges is the stock standard ex cop who drinks too much, lives an uneventful life and on occasion thinks about eating his gun. Using the tried and true formula, King gives his protagonist meaning through his antagonist. Not only does the letter confess to the crime, it goads Hodges into action, re kindling a long extinguished flame for life.
I enjoyed King's venture into mainstream crime fiction yet felt it would've been better had the story been condensed and the identity of the killer hidden rather than given to the reader early on, essentially eradicating any element of mystery.
A staple in King novels is the emotionally complex and disturbing characters that bleed over the pages and here it's no different. Hodges has blood on hands, his sidekick a target on his back, and his partner's cousin madness on the mind. As for the serial killer his motives are without reason and his relationships unhealthy. If nothing else MR MERCEDES is worth reading for these diverse and intrinsically linked characters.
Hardboiled MR MERCEDES isn't but reading it did conjure subtle images of Bosch for some reason. Not necessarily in the description but more in Hodge's voice and dedication to justice, even if it meant turning 'uncle'.
Overall I thought this was an ok venture into mainstream crime fiction that, with a couple tweaks could've been great.