Last year I read the first in this series, Mr. Mercedes, and as you may recall, I wasn’t a huge fan. This kind of crime thriller where there’s a race to beat the clock is not really my thing. I was actually disappointed when I found out that this was going to be a trilogy. “Oh, no,” I groaned. “I’m going to have to read two more of these!” If I didn’t love King so much, I would not have fought construction traffic from hell on publication day to find a copy. But I do love King, so I did.
And I really, really liked it.
What was it that made this book so much better than Mr. Mercedes, in my opinion? First, I liked the content so much more. This was like a thriller about literature and I love literature so I was hooked right away. I liked how the first 150ish pages of the book were the alternating chapters between Morris and Pete. Morris is the man who murdered famous and reclusive author John Rothstein, taking the money and notebooks from his safe and stashing them elsewhere before getting arrested for another crime. Years later Pete not only lives in Morris’s boyhood home but also stumbles across his hidden treasure. Pete’s family is going through a hard time and he uses the money to help them while hiding the notebooks away. As Pete grows, he grows to love Rothstein’s work but particularly the notebooks hidden in his attic. Then, Morris gets out and goes in search of the loot that has given him a reason to live this whole time.
Then there’s this period of the book that I found really slow. We get reacquainted with Bill, Holly, and Jerome and that just really bogged me down. I thought for a little bit about giving up but then the action started to pick up again as the different characters come back together in that typical “small world” way. Morris stumbles upon Pete through an old friend and while Pete is trying to outsmart one person he’s being blindsided by someone even more dangerous. I had a hard time putting the book down. I wanted to know what was next and what was next and what was next.
A thrilling tale of literary obsession, that would be my blurb.