Running Through “Mr. Mercedes”

My motivation for finishing “Mr. Mercedes,” by Stephen King, was my library due-date, and I had already used my renewal.  My original plan was to read his new book, “Finders Keepers,” but thought it would be better to read the introductions to the characters in “Mr. Mercedes” first.  However, when I returned the book today at the library, I didn’t pick up the sequel.  Why?  Because I think I’ve had enough Stephen King for a while.

Let me point out, this was my first Stephen King novel ever.  I’ve watched the movie adaptations for “Secret Window,” and “1408,” both times thinking “that was interesting… I kind of want to read the book now.”  When voicing this, however, my roommate (who owned these movies) said, “No, you don’t want to read Stephen King.” – “I’m fine with reading mysteries.  I grew up on R.L. Stine.” – “He’s not just gruesome mystery.  He’s vulgar and swears a lot.” – ah, he’d pop my moral bubble.  Got it.

So I put him off… until my moral bubble was tainted, dented, and stretched with “Brain Web,” “Black Prism,” and “A Dirty Job.” Compared to those, “A Dirty Job” definitely takes the cake… the mud cake… it’s a ‘dirty’ cake.  I’d rate “Mr. Mercedes” along the same lines of “Brain Web,” in that it has multiple droppings of the F-bomb, multiple innuendos, and a few sexual scenes.

Stepping outside of my moral bubble for a moment, the characterization was intriguing.  It’s a mystery, so each character is psycho-analyzed from their backgrounds to their family relationships.  Mr. King also does well to give each of his characters quirks, or little unique habits.  I appreciate the intelligence of the characters, especially since it’s a mystery.  They’re incredibly smart in their areas of study, but still struggle for answers, like any human.

As for the plot, I actually skipped a few paragraphs, knowing they had nothing to do with the real story or even side stories.  It wasn’t the I-must-know-what-comes-next kind of skipping ahead though… it was I’m-bored-of-this-scene-because-it’s-unimportant kind of skipping.  It’s not the kind of mystery where you’re trying to solve the mystery before the book does, and there’s no crazy twist at the end (which is slightly expected, since we read from the killer’s perspective too).  It is a Stephen King horror mystery.  People die with some gruesome details.  Somehow, I sense a lot of his stories read the same way: creepy mysteries.

Maybe it’s because I’ve watched too many creepy mystery shows (like Sherlock, Monk, Pushing Daisies, Castle, The Mentalist, and even some NCIS, Bones, Criminal Minds, and Law and Order), but even if I set aside my moral bubble, I wouldn’t be calling out to people to go out and read it.  It’s a **2 star** to me (it would be closer to 3 if I wasn’t considering my moral bubble).

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